The problems of female characters being under-represented in geek merchandise is real. But when it’s a secondary character like Gamora or Black Widow, at least toy companies have an excuse. When the girl is not just the star of the movie, but of the whole franchise, that’s another story.
That character, of course, is Rey, the main character of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the latest problem has to do with Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens Monopoly. In the game, the four playable characters are Luke Skywalker, Finn, Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. No Rey. —Rey Is Missing From New Star Wars Monopoly, And This Is Becoming a Real Problem
Rest assured, corporate culture is probably far more greedy than sexist. Where there are little girls whose imaginations have escaped the careful programming dictated by the Disney Princess empire, there will be Rey toys to monetize their fantasies of empowerment.
But cynicism aside — think about it.
Because Finn’s race was already an open issue, none of us was really all that surprised when that one storm trooper removed his helmet. If, months before the premiere, the costume and accessories of a board game token gave away *that* particular plot point, geeks would have made an issue about it before the movie was released.
However, *because* Disney put restrictions on what characters could appear in the game, you and I got to experience the full emotional rush of *that* moment — the moment that a new generation of fans will probably think about decades from now, the way you and I think about “No, I *am* your father” (and the way nobody will ever think of “Meesa called Jar-Jar Binks”).
You and I got to be part of a crowd of hundreds of people reacting for the first time to the creation of a new hero.
Having said that, it would have made perfect sense to release the game with a Rey figure in a neutral pose that didn’t give anything away (her staff is still pretty darn cool) and let people who are all upset about it send in a few bucks to buy the more heroic token. The non-heroic first-edition Reys would probably become collectors items, like the early depictions of Luke as a bare-chested hunk.