*FORCE AWAKENS SPOILERS AHEAD*
Big movie franchises already have a depressing ratio of male to female characters, and unfortunately toy companies don’t improve the situation by consistently failing to produce toys featuring the few women characters we get to see on screen to begin with. It’s been a much talked-about issue in relation to the absence of Black Widow from Avengers products, and now the problem has extended to Star Wars toys.
Many fans are disappointed with the lack of Force Awakens character Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) among the movie’s merchandise, venting about the exclusion in the Twitter hashtag #WhereIsRey. Leaving Rey out of toys and other products is a big problem not only because she’s a female character in a franchise largely inhabited by men, but because she’s the main character. The. Main. Character.
First Rey was excluded from a set of six action figures sold at Target that included, in addition to main characters like Finn (John Boyega) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), a random stormtrooper and a random TIE pilot. Because who wants to play with the main character of the whole damn movie when you can have an anonymous background character, am I right?
The most recent #WhereIsRey example is Hasbro’s new Star Wars Monopoly game, which contains four character tokens, two from the original trilogy, and two from the new one. The original characters are young Luke and Darth Vader, while the new ones are Finn and Kylo Ren. In response to the controversy, Hasbro has released a bullshit explanation for why Rey wasn’t included:
“The Star Wars: Monopoly game was released in September, months before the movie’s release, and Rey was not included to avoid revealing a key plot line that she takes on Kylo Ren and joins the Rebel Alliance.”
I’m sorry, but how the hell does including a little game piece that looks like Rey spoil anything about the movie? Rey was featured prominently and shown to be a hero in various trailers and promotional materials, and even before the movie I assumed she was just as big a character, if not more so, than Finn.
(ACTUAL SPOILER ALERT)
Sure, it wasn’t made explicitly known in the movie’s promotion that Rey is Force-sensitive and fights Kylo Ren with Luke’s lightsaber, but Finn doesn’t even have a lightsaber in his token. They could have easily given Rey a blaster or her staff and kept that climactic moment a secret.
And really, if they were so worried that people would figure out that (heaven forbid) a girl is the new Luke Skywalker, why didn’t they just include more tokens? Four seems like too few to begin with. Then they could have added other characters (hopefully including Leia, so the female token isn’t a token female, if you know what I mean) and no one would know who was the equivalent of whom, villains notwithstanding.
Anyway, I’d bet a million dollars that the outcry over excluding Rey is bigger than any outcry over supposed spoilers would have been had they included her. Get with the program, Hasbro.
UPDATE: In response to fans’ complaints, Hasbro has announced they’re adding Rey to the game. Here’s their tweet about it:
— Hasbro (@HasbroNews) January 6, 2016