Update: I’ve written to Hasbro reps several times about these issues and never gotten an answer, however when Entertainment Weekly writes, they DO respond and here’s what they said:
Reached for comment, a Hasbro spokesperson said in a statement to EW, “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.” The spokesperson added that Rey is featured in several Hasbro games, including Hands Down, Guess Who, and chess, and that “fans will see more Rey product hitting store shelves this month, including 6-inch and 12-inch Rey action figures. We are thrilled with the popularity of this compelling character and will continue to look for ways to showcase Rey across all of our product lines.”
Take it or leave it.
When I first saw the beginning of the social media explosion about this, I thought it might be joke but no it’s true: Hasbro put out an updated version of Star Wars Monopoly for The Force Awakens and the characters included are Luke and Darth Vader from the OG and Finn and Kylo Ren from TFA. No Rey. Who is the main character of the movie. Kind of like when Marvel and Hasbro removed the Black Widow from the toy based on the scene in Avengers Age of Ultron where she does things and replaced her with Captain America.
(Also, as Wade von Grawbadger pointed out on my FB page, since when are there only four players in Monopoly? If you want to have one of those endless 4+ hour games you need the full 8!)
Now, there ARE Rey toys. But you can ‘t find any because they didn’t make enough, either because they are so popular or as part of a long standing tradition for action figure makers to short the female figures in any line because boys don’t want to play with them.
And plenty of people have been complaining that Rey toys haven’t been available on shelves. However, whether that’s because they were produced in smaller quantities or just in higher demand is up for debate. (Rey’s Black Series on Amazon has long been sold out, while Finn, Kylo Ren and others are readily available.) It’s 2016. There’s no reason for a character like Rey, the star of Star Wars, not to be part of every single piece of merchandise possible. Everyone—not just girls—wants toys featuring this amazing character.
A commenter on this io9 piece says the Rey Black line figures are jacked up on Amazon, and indeed they are sold out at Amazon, and going for nearly $40 from other retailers. (List price is $21.99.) To be fair, Kylo Ren is sold out as well, and many of the other figures are in low supply. I guess people like these Star Wars characters.
Wherever this story has appeared people have suggested that the secrecy over the movie spilled over to toymakers, and perhaps it wasn’t conveyed to Hasbro that Rey was the main character of the movie, and they wanted to keep her Jediness a secret. (The Monopoly set came out in September for Force Friday and no one noticed until now.) I think there’s some validity to that idea, but given the long, long tradition of not making Black Widow or Gamora figures, this would have been a nice time to say, “Wow the highest grossing movie ever has a female protagonist! Let’s make sure she has lots of toys!”
I’ve mentioned this so many times that I need to give it a name. So let’s call it the Gamora Doctrine: all aspects of entertainment seem to have accepted the fact that women and girls like nerdy/SF things, and the audience for these has only grown with no problem for overall profitability, but one segment of the vast military industrial entertainment complex hasn’t gotten the message: toymakers. Now this could be because boys and girls are really so different that just playing with each other’s toys will immediately give them whooping cough
Or it could be socialization.
As we all know, little girls have no problem whatsoever playing with boys toys. They comprehend them and manipulate them just fine. The same can not be said for boys playing with girls toys. So if you want an all around capable gender, girls win this one hands down. I admit, the idea of making the main character of a new Star Wars movie a young woman was a little risky, and would have been impossible before Hunger Games and Divergent. But let’s face it, you would have gone to see this movie if it starred Abe Vigoda. JJ Abrams’ plan to make a movie that reflected the world at large, with brown and female faces, was low risk and high reward, reflecting the highly engaged personal identification that the saga has always created in audiences.
A LOT more Star Wars toys are coming our way, so this is far from the final word. Now hat everyone know what the story is about, I hope we can get some more inclusive toys, including, one hopes, Magic Hair™ Kylo Ren.
On a more positive note, and although they are not aimed at children, I noticed the latest Sideshow newsletter had Finn, Rey, Kylo and Phasma, a nice first wave assortment. And the Rey figure is quite kick ass — as it should be since it sells for $289.
Also here’s a six figure PVC assortment with Rey, Finn, Kylo, Phasma, BB-8 and a stormtrooper. As the listing notes, it only comes in one size and one color, and that color is “Star Wars.”
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.