Rey Toy 'Star Wars': Saga Of The Missing Merchandise & Her Intentional Exclusion From Marketing
At first it seemed like an embarrassing oversight: there was so much Star Wars merchandise everywhere, a few things were bound to be overlooked. But as fans enjoyed the wealth of buying options, from makeup to toys, they couldn't help but notice one glaring omission: the beloved character of Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, was conspicuously absent.
— The Geek Mind (@TheGeekMind) January 12, 2016
Hey, mistakes happen, right? Fans upset by the odd erasure of Rey took to social media with the hashtag #WheresRey to express their displeasure. The shocking lack of toy options featuring the main female lead of the movie was so blatant, it had to be some sort of wacky oversight... right?
Fans launch #WheresRey campaign over lack of female Star Wars character toys https://t.co/di0i3zkdqd pic.twitter.com/vZF6G9Ufma — WDRB News (@WDRBNews) January 12, 2016
But it looks like this wasn't a simple error or faux pas; according to new reports, Rey's omission was intentional. Apparently, LucasFilm Vendors worried that children wouldn't want to play with toys that featured female characters. Their logic implied that Rey could help lead the movie to film history and blockbuster numbers, but she couldn't appear in an action figure set. I know, I don't get it either.
The thing is, in the abstract, these stories sound absurd. Forget sexist; nobody is this STUPID. Yet: here we are, and the Rey toys are not. — Tim Carmody (@tcarmody) January 20, 2016
Unfortunately, this isn't a new trend. Female characters have a long history of being marginalized and even completely omitted from marketing campaigns. But the fact that Rey is one of the main leads in the movie (and still barely even included in much of the packaging, let alone warranting her own action figures) would suggest that at least a few changes would be made. So imagine the confusion when people rushed to the stores and found a popular (and important) character almost entirely missing from the glut of merchandise.
So not shocked to read that toy makers were told to specifically exclude Rey from #StarWarsForceAwakens toys. NOT SHOCKED AT ALL. — Lyndsay Kirkham (@Lyndsay_Kirkham) January 21, 2016
Needless to say, fans aren't too pleased by this revelation.
Its so upsetting how all these new Star Wars toys keep forgetting to add Rey. Shes one of the main characters & important to the story line. — Victoria Rosales (@ToriaChan6) January 11, 2016
.@stavvers Employee: "The customers... want Rey toys, sir." *Exec starts smashing Kylo Ren toys with lightsaber* Exec: .... anything else? — Artist of Keys (@cateatsu) January 20, 2016
Rey is arguably the central character of @starwars VII, yet the other characters are marketed and turned into toys and she's not. #WTF — Jake (@2manybothans) January 12, 2016
Experts believe that Star Wars has pulled in over $700 million in toy sales so far. Imagine how much more they could have made if they'd featured all the main characters of the movie.
Hopefully by the time the next installment of the Star Wars franchise comes out, vendors and marketing experts will realize that excluding a main character based on gender should have no place in this day and age. Efforts to rush out toys and ads featuring Rey in an attempt to soothe fans may prove to be too little too late. And the excuses being offered up about Rey's absence aren't helping ease the anger.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) January 17, 2016
Little girls are just as eager to go adventuring in a galaxy far, far away (and purchase countless toys) as their siblings. Omitting Rey from the franchise she helped recharge isn't just bad ethics; it's bad business.