Star Wars Beats Marvel as Top Franchise, Fandom Study Finds

The company mapped key factors like consistency and cultural relevancy to their proprietary analytics

Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel and Iñaki Godoy as Monkey D. Luffy in "One Piece" (Disney/Marvel Studios/Netflix)

Star Wars beats Marvel for the top franchise, according to Fandom’s Franchise Factor Score study released Wednesday. The data-driven fansite used its new metric, the Franchise Factor Score, to determine the top 25 entertainment and gaming franchises at this moment in popular culture.

“Star Wars” ranks number one in the study. The fictional galaxy most recently welcomed “Ahsoka” to the fold. Marvel clocks in at second place, and One Piece takes the third slot shortly after Netflix released its live-action anime show, which has been renewed for a second season.

Harry Potter takes the fifth slot, with Barbie close behind. Yellowstone takes the seventh slot followed by The Last of Us in eighth place. Disney rounds out the top 10 franchises.

The Franchise Factor uses five criteria — worldbuilding, high ratings, fierce fanbase, cultural relevance and consistency — to determine why and how some IP resonates more than others based on fan reception. The Franchise Factor Score is a new metric Fandom will use to track the rise and fall of franchises across gaming and entertainment.

“Franchises made up 95% of the top blockbusters and games in 2023, yet there has been no single unified view on what’s capturing fan attention and why,” said Fandom CEO Perkins Miller. “The Franchise Factor framework gives creators, producers and marketers actionable insights and tools to strengthen their franchises in an increasingly competitive landscape.”

Worldbuilding refers to filling a fictional universe with layered characters, settings and lore that attracts audiences. High ratings from critics and fans influence the attention a franchise receives. A fierce fanbase means a community that passionately stands behind a franchise and advocates for it. Cultural relevance depends on how well a franchise echoes current culture and sticks with audiences during and after consumption. An example of strong cultural relevance would be a franchise that gains a broader, public audience in addition to a core, niche fanbase. Consistency requires top-tier, fresh and enhanced content to keep it in the minds of fans inundated with many different options when an installment of said franchise ends.

The study also highlighted how spinoffs, sequels and prequels increase the likelihood of the five criteria for a franchise by adding layers to already existing material. New installments of existing IPs can lead to a higher fanbase retention rate as well as deeper connections to the material for existing fans. According to the study, 64% of gamers and 69% of entertainment fans would rather play or watch franchised content than something new. This statistic was further broken down into percentages of fans interested in prequels and sequels, spin-offs, remakes and remasters and cross-media adaptations.

Read the full study, which was revealed during a webinar hosted by “Bachelorette” alumna Rachel Lindsay, which you can watch here.