Star Wars: The Force Awakens is currently smashing box office records all around the globe. With millions of fans overjoyed at such a nostalgia driven return to the franchise, many have praised the new film in its direction, plot and casting choices.
These deliberate casting choices make it even more bizarre to comprehend as to why toy companies and licensed merchandisers are choosing to omit female lead Rey from their products...
* Possible Spoilers Ahead for 'Force Awakens'*
Star Wars fans have been left baffled and angered at the omission of such a pivotal character from nearly every piece of merchandise connected to the film. Most recently Rey has been left out of the Star Wars themed version of the popular board game Monopoly. What is even more alarming, are the characters that have been chosen to replace her.
Both Luke Skywalker, who is in the film for literally one scene, and Darth Vader, who makes a cameo of sorts through his melted helmet, feature as tokens alongside male characters Finn and Kylo Ren. What's even more troubling is the game has even fewer token pieces than the classic Monopoly format, adding to further confusion for fans.
This latest omission has served as a catalyst for fans who are now fed up with the constant exclusion of the new heroine. This has prompted many to take to twitter and voice their anger through the online campaign #WheresRey.
This is a problem not just confined to 'Star Wars'...
Sadly, Star Wars is not the only Hollywood franchise to disregard their female heroines when it comes to merchandise. As Jamie Ford points out on twitter, the problem has also crept into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with both The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy leaving Gamora and Black Widow out in the cold.
Of course, Hasbro has responded to the criticism.
The toy maker cites the reason for her omission as wanting to give fans spoiler free products. The company has assured fans that more Rey products will be hitting the shelves in the coming months, and although this may be a direct response to the #WheresRey campaign, it's still a welcomed announcement.
Tweeting the founder of legionofleia.com, the company had this to say in its official statement. Professionally done through iPhone notes it seems.
Star Wars merchandise has came under heavy fire for placing a bigger emphasis over male characters who have a lesser role in the film, and even the droid BB-8, than the outright hero, Rey. Even when Rey takes on the handles of one of the most iconic space ships to ever hit cinema, it appears she's still not included in the merchandise. Instead, John Boyega's Finn is present alongside Chewie and BB-8.
It appears even when the franchise is solely aiming at the female populace of their fandom, Rey still can't get a break, again being omitted from the promo material of the Star Wars inspired cosmetic range.
Thankfully, these omissions haven't stopped Rey inspiring the next generation of children, and even with all the focus on male characters, young girls are still looking up to Rey as the rightful hero.
Just check out this sassy open letter to Hasbro from 8-year-old Annie Rose.
UPDATE: Amid all the Controversy, it appears Hasbro has finally listened to the fans!
Take a bow Star Wars fans! The main character of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, Rey, is finally being given the recognition and credit she deserves. After heavy criticism online that spawned the #WheresRey twitter campaign, toy company Hasbro has finally came to its senses and announced that Rey WILL be in the upcoming Monopoly board game.
Although it is still unclear as to whether Rey will be an addition to the game, or instead will be taking the place of one of the previous four male character tokens, the announcement is a welcome sight for all Star Wars fans.
Hopefully this will be a catalyst for future Star Wars merchandise and a lesson to all Hollywood blockbusters (looking at you Guardians/Avengers) to not leave out their kickass female heroines. Especially when they happen to be the main star of the film...
[Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) recently crossed the $1.5bn mark on its campaign to overtake Avatar as the highest grossing film of all time.
Thankfully we'll all be seeing Daisy Ridley reprise her role as the Force Awakens hero Rey in the eighth episode of the franchise. Directed by Rian Johnson, the film is expected to hit theaters May 26, 2017.