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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.”

8 COMMENTS

  1. As somebody with ties in the toy market and Disney, this is a combination of two things:
    1. Toys have to be designed, approved and manufactured so far in advance. Disney was super restrictive on what manufacturers could make. Look at the LEGO sets. A couple random ships that barely show up in the movie. Now that the movie is out, you will start to see more items focusing on movie plots.
    2. Hasbro actually made more Rey figures and variants that any other character. Just a cursory glance of Amazon will show you this info: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=hasbro+force+awakens+rey. I can confirm they aren’t short-packed, they are just the most popular figure, as it normally is when a female is released in an action-figure set.

    It’s weird to pick on Hasbro as they are in the best in the field when it comes to female representation in action figures. Their flagship Marvel line has at least one female in every set – most times two: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_Legends#Red_Onslaught_Series_.282016.29

    Complaining on social media by people that haven’t bought any of the Rey figures Hasbro HAS manufactured is not going to change anything. There’s so many tariffs and trade laws that go into manufacturing toys that you need to speak with your dollars to make a difference.

    TL;DR DISNEY didn’t communicate plot to licensors. HASBRO made lots of Rey toys. Rey toys are the most popular. Manufacturing toys is incredibly complicated and spans multiple countries and laws. Nobody cares about the opinion of people who complain about the one dirty speck on the floor and ignore 99.9% of the floor that’s clean.

  2. Not that I care a fig about the ‘The Force Awakens’ edition of Monopoly, but this is a puzzler. It isn’t as though the simple inclusion of a Rey game piece was going to drop major spoilers for the movie. And is there anyone who would refuse to purchase this game solely on the basis that one of the pieces depicts a girl?

  3. If spoilers were really their reason, all they had to do was make a piece with her holding her staff instead of a lightsaber. Done. The new movie’s main character gets included, and there’s no hint of a Jedi connection to risk spoiling anything.

  4. They easily could have included a version of her with the staff, as seen in early marketing and other toys, and avoided spoilers. Their explanation sounds like reasoning after the fact. Hopefully they will course correct for episode 8.

  5. “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.”

    Really?? Or it’s math. When you produce equal numbers of female characters in a figure line, they sit on the shelf. It happens all the time. You make them more limited? They sell out. It’s not a conspiracy against females, it’s a historical reality. I certainly hope it changes. I was recently at the Disney store in NYC, and they had shelves full of everyone except Rey.

    “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.”

    Or the Terminator, Fringe, Dark Angel, Futurama, Babylon 5, Orphan Black, Aliens, Battlestar Galactica, X-Files, Farscape, The Matrix, Star Trek, a thousand Anime series/movies….

    Star Wars has long had a very strong female fan demographic. It wasn’t as risky a move as you think.

  6. JCT we can have a battle of selective thinking, but let’s look at the list os properties you named:

    Terminator — Movie is about Arnold, John Conner and Sarah Conner. Also, directed by James Cameron.

    Fringe — multiple cast, no real main character.

    Dark Angel — It’s a TV show, TV has always had many female lead characters.

    Futurama – – uh the show is about Frye

    Babylon 5 – ensemble cast no main character, also a TV show

    Orphan Black — very recent also a TV show

    Aliens – James Cameron

    Battlestar Galactica — See Above

    X-Files — TV show

    Farscape – TV show

    The Matrix — the main character is Neo, it’s his journey from the hero’s call to heroic sacrifie

    Star Trek — Ensemble, TV show

    A thousand Anime series/movies: these are not American.

    Of course, Star Wars had a HUGE female demographic. And Han, Leia and Luke all had journeys and character arcs, but it was the story of Luke SKywalker, from farmboy to hero of the rebellion and father killer.

    On your above media list you literally have TWO movies, both directed by James Cameron. (Ripley was created in the original of course, and originally written as a man.,)

    I stand by my original statement. The huge popularity of YA lit like Hunger Games, Divergent and even Twilight made movie makers less averse to making films where there is an inarguable main character who is female. Movies cost a LOT to make and have to hit in many countries, hence the timidity where this is concerned.

  7. LucasFilm / Disney mentioned in a few articles that the toys would come in waves and that the first wave would avoid all spoilers. Which is why there is no figure of old Luke Skywalker, Snoke or Maz Kanata (although she did end up on the poster). It’s also why Rey doesn’t come with a blue lightsaber in the initial wave. They could have put her in there with her staff, but some might have wondered why they didn’t use Finn. As LucasFilm were making it look like Finn was the new Luke Skywalker with their marketing campaign.

    Rey should be in Star Wars Monopoly and hopefully she will in later additions or updates (there has been a lot of different Star Wars Monopoly sets over the years).

    As for not including her in toy packs, that is just really strange. I had noticed the Rey figure almost sold out at the Disney store before Christmas and had hoped that it had been her popularity rather than anything like them not making enough.

    Whatever the reason for Rey not being included, hopefully this will get toy companies not just Hasbro to take notice so that this doesn’t happen again in the future.

  8. Star Wars toys in general are impossible to find. They blew it out with the Force Awakens Day, and then, nothing. Nothing has replaced the shelves since then, and that was when? October? Earlier? (I can’t remember.) Nothing available for Christmas. Just try finding a nice selection of 3.75″ figures in your stores. Nada. Usually Hasbro has us drowning in Stormtroopers and the like. I have yet to find one in the 3.75″ line. Target, Walmart, with the odd exception of remote controlled toys, or lightsabers, a ship here and there, the SW shelves are still bare months later. Blows my mind…

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