During the Television Critics Association conference a few days ago, J.J. Abrams (director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens) took a moment to call bullshit on the toy companies for ridiculous lack of Rey related merchandise, calling it “preposterous and wrong.”
The issue first started gaining traction on Twitter, with users posting images of play sets and figurines accompanied by the hashtag #WheresRey and #WhereIsRey. The shift into the mainstream news came when it was noted that Rey- the main protagonist of the film- wasn’t included in the Monopoly adaptation of the film, instead losing a spot to Darth Vader and an O.G trilogy Luke.
— Melissa Drake (@MelissaDrake84) January 3, 2016
“I wish I had more details about merchandising and the schedule,” Abrams said. “I’m learning things as you are. I will say that it seems preposterous and wrong that the main character of the movie is not well represented in what is clearly a huge piece of the Star Wars world in terms of merchandizing.”
“I read that she wasn’t in the Monopoly game and was quickly making phone calls about this because if it were true — and it is true, and now Hasbro, of course, has said they’re going to put Rey in — it doesn’t quite make sense why she wouldn’t be there. She’s somewhat important in the story.”
Hasbro has since rectified their decision in a prepared statement issued to Entertainment Weekly– most likely shitting their pants over the negative PR inspired by a young girls hand written letter- and assured fans that Rey will be included in an updated version of the board game.
Hasbro offered a weak excuse for Rey’s lack of representation, alleging that the reason Rey wasn’t included in many products was to avoid spoilers, as the products came out months before the film.
As a unapologetic Star Wars fan and toy lover, I got to experience this bullshit first hand. Whilst out grabbing a First Order Tie Pilot and Asty- of which there were a shit tonne- I saw a young girl who was rampantly searching for anything with Rey in it. ANYTHING! Rey isn’t in the character pack featuring the protagonists (and a Tie Pilot, for some reason). Rey isn’t in the Millennium Falcon pack (although she’s the ships fucking pilot). And she doesn’t have a figure on par with the size of the girl in question. She, to my knowledge, comes as a 3.75 inch single and as part of a set with a Speeder (where you cant see her face). Seeing the girl’s slow defeat and the inevitable dissipation of any excitement she had was the first time I had seen what I cynically knew in practice, and it sucked.
Hopefully Episode 8 will rectify this, and by the time it releases that girl will still be as excited about The Wars as she was then.