The release of brand new toys goes hand in hand with popular movies in theaters and that’s exactly what happened with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but this time it wasn’t taken lightly when a character was missing from the toy line.
The seventh installment to the galactic action movie came with much anticipation and the movie’s release was quite successful. Putting to rest the not so fan loved prequel movies, “The Force Awakens” ignited nostalgic flames and brought in thousands of new fans, who all ran to stores to pick up the new star wars gear filling up shelves. Unfortunately fans were met with a beloved character missing from all the toys present; Rey was nowhere to be found.
Rey, played by actress Daisy Ridley, is the main character of the movie and enthralled fans with her courage, strength, and emotion but was forgotten once toys were made. Many are used to seeing female leads not having their own action figures, e.g: the Black Widow and Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy. But this time fans would not stay quiet about the main character of the movie being removed, and took to popular social media, Twitter, to express their frustration. In no time the hashtag #WheresRey, began to trend worldwide as users ripped into Disney and toy makers for being sexist. Many parents took to twitter as well to voice their disappointment after seeing dejected children notice their hero not made into an action figure. Even director J.J. Abrams voiced his opinion upon hearing that the female character was not present in stores, “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 merchandising” he stated to TheWrap. The outrage was re-fueled when Hasbro came out with their new Monopoly: Star Wars edition game, which featured almost every character from the new movie, except for the main character Rey. The retail giant has gone on to state that the reason for the omission was to prevent spoilers, but fans quickly dismissed that stating that Rey’s role in the movie was made clear just from trailers released way before the movie. As retailers struggle to explain themselves, things are starting to be right now.
With the second wave of Star Wars toys being released after the movie earned over $800 million just in domestic box offices, Rey is to be made the center of attention in the new wave. Although Hasbro stated they intended to make Rey prominent in the new wave all along, after facing intense backlash the retailers are making it more known that Rey is here. Even Disney went onto state that it was intended to stagger the release of Rey toys, but are now introducing an entire line dedicated to the female hero. The new merchandise will include her lightsaber, lego sets, costumes, home décor, and of course she’s in the monopoly game now. Even though retailers are trying to justify the absence of the toys until now, it’s been made clear that it the popularity of the Rey toys, and demand for the character came as a shock to many manufacturers. That whole attitude can only be described in the words of Abrams reaction to the lack of Rey, “preposterous and wrong”, but now they will properly learn. Finally the Where’s Rey movement have the answer to their question and honestly, Rey is here to stay.