For more than a year, we waited anxiously for the new Star Wars movie to be released. We pondered plot lines; we dreamed up scenarios; we fretted over whether it would be any good at all. We were delighted that the original stars– Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Leia, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca– were returning. A trio of new cast members also looked promising, especially the inclusion of Daisy Ridley as Rey. What seemed really cool was that she was featured pretty prominently in all trailers for the new movie.
(See? There she is, all over this trailer. Like she’s a major character in the movie, BECAUSE SHE IS.)
So what in the ever-loving hell was Hasbro thinking when it left Rey out of the first edition of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Monopoly? That we’d just forget she was there? That we’d not notice her absence? That only boys and men would want to play the game? That girls don’t like Star Wars and therefore there didn’t need to be a female character to use? Good grief.
Hasbro was taken to task this week when the new game was introduced, featuring Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Finn and Kylo Ren, the latter two being new characters in the new film as well, played by John Boyega and Adam Driver respectively. Rey’s been missing from other products launched to promote the film, too, probably a huge mistake in the lead-up to the holiday gift-giving season.
A young fan, eight-year-old Annie Rose of Evanston, Illinois, wrote a letter to the company, which was later posted on social media earlier this week:
“How could you leave out Rey!?,” Annie asks. “Without her, THERE IS NO FORCE AWAKENS!” Furthermore, Annie says, “Boys and girls need to see women can be as strong as men. Girls Matter! Boy or girl, who cares? We are equal, all of us!”
In response to Annie’s fantastic, colorful letter, the toy company issued a statement explaining that, y’know, the game was produced well before the movie’s launch and hit store shelves in September, and, um, including Rey—who, again was featured in pretty much ever single trailer for the movie over the past year—might be considered a spoiler. (I’m not going to say why here; there’s a chance you’ve been busy over the past few weeks and haven’t seen the movie yet.) Hasbro also added that the company is “thrilled with the popularity of this compelling character and will continue to look for ways to showcase Rey across all of our product lines.”
On Wednesday, after getting their butts handed to them by an eight-year-old girl and legions of Star Wars fans of all persuasions, Hasbro relented a little and announced it would be included a Rey figure in future editions of Star Wars Monopoly.
Will it be too little too late? As much as some fans say yes, definitely, that Hasbro screwed up and ignored the interests, buying power and fandom of female Star Wars enthusiasts and will suffer economically for their ignorance, the truth is that they’ve created a collector’s item by excluding Rey, and people are buying anything and everything Star Wars related by the shipping crate. That being said, good on Annie for speaking her mind and creating a little storm for Hasbro and putting them in this situation. The force is strong with her indeed.