For several weeks, shoppers have complained about the lack of female representation in Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise. Both Captain Phasma and Rey were missing from boxed sets of the movie’s action figures, which instead included a nameless pilot and stormtrooper. A grassroots campaign began on social media with the #WheresRey hashtag, prodding Disney for a response. Now they finally have their answer.
“Rey and Phasma feature prominently across hundreds of products, and are selling exceptionally well,” said Paul Southern, Disney’s senior vice president and head of licensing for LucasFilm. “In many stores and e-commerce destinations, products featuring Rey are selling as quickly as retailers can restock shelves. Fans will also be seeing a lot more of Rey with a new wave of product coming in January.”
Disney’s response doesn’t address the lack of Rey toys directly, but one theory is that some Rey figures and accessories wouldn’t be available before the movie opened because it would give away plot points. Still, Rey was seen in the trailers along with Finn, but Finn was well represented in the toy section. That was part of the problem, according to #WheresRey proponents. He was included as the pilot of the Millennium Falcon set, while Rey was not included.
Disney and LucasFilm did a worthy job of broadening merchandise for female interests with this movie, but perhaps they didn’t realize that girls want action figures too, not just Star Wars-themed jewelry, makeup and home accessories.
Thanks to social media, they received the message that Rey is an important part of The Force Awakens and should have been included in the initial merchandise roll-out. Rey and Captain Phasma figures will arrive too late for Christmas, but the toy aisles will feel jolly for many little–and big–girls come January.