Fans of Star Wars: The Force Awakens were justly outraged by the distinct lack of Rey's presence in the film's memorabilia. So much so, a social media campaign, #WheresRey, sparked an explanation from toy manufacturer Hasbro.
It's no surprise people were making noise about Rey's omission, especially when you consider Daisy Ridley portrays arguably the most important character in the film.
Despite This, She Isn't Included In The Millennium Falcon Set
Even though she flies the Falcon... twice.
She's Also Missing From A Star Wars Lego Set
Hasbro Said Rey Was Left Out Due To Plot Reasons
For those who haven't yet seen the film, and don't want to read a juicy spoiler, look away now.
“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”
Let's face it, it's the kind of response that makes you cringe a little, while feeling that it's a lame excuse, leaving the option to vaguely accept the rationality through gritted teeth.
Or, as John Marcotte, founder of Heroic Girls put it:
“Absolute rubbish. Hasbro is merely trying to save face. Monopoly is a game about buying and selling properties. There is no plot to be given away by including the Rey character.”
Which is fair comment. It doesn't take a genius to think of ways around this; for example, maybe include her but without a lightsaber? There, case closed.
Anyway, Contrary To Hasbro's Statement, An Industry 'Insider' Has Claimed Excluding Rey Was Based On Her Gender
The anonymous source spoke directly to Sweatpants & Coffee (presumably the first port of call for film marketing executives to leak stories). The article in question says that "the decision to exclude Rey was based on marketing assumptions and not for plot reasons".
It is then explained the source attending marketing meetings where the discussion of Star Wars merchandise took place. Allegedly, they were told:
“We know what sells. No boy wants to be given a product with a female character on it.”
Now, with no name to put to the source, it is important to take the views with a pinch of salt; we don't want to simply take the comment as gospel. But the industry is known for its gender disparity.
The Insider Claims The Exclusion Of Female Action Figures Is An Ongoing Problem In The Industry
The news certainly points at a wider issue in the toy industry. A report by Huffington Post discovered that Rey was included in 27 items. Out of 146.
It isn't exclusive to Star Wars, either. The source added that they had also had a similar experiences for separate franchises. They said:
“Diminishing of girl characters is common in the industry. Power Rangers asked us to do it. Paw Patrol, too.”
Another another shocking exclusion came in the form of Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow being conspicuously missing from a toy which was based on a key scene her character was involved in.
The Rey Of Light At The End Of The Tunnel?
Plot lines or deliberate exclusion aside, one good piece of news has been confirmed by Hasbro; Rey will feature in a batch of new toys being released soon. In a statement, the manufacturer confirmed:
"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”
Following on from #WheresRey, it'll be interesting to see the difference in representation with the release of toys for Episode VIII. We can only wait.
Source: Sweatpants & Coffee