The feminist force is strong with the latest “Star Wars” movie, which introduced the 38-year-old franchise’s first female protagonist in orphaned scavenger Rey, played by dynamo newcomer Daisy Ridley.
Unfortunately, “The Force Awakens'” merchandising isn’t keeping up with the film’s progressivism. [SPOILER] Despite being set up as the heir to both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, Rey is missing from Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens Battle Action Millennium Falcon — which includes Chewbacca, Finn (Jakku) and BB-8 — even though she steals, fixes and pilots the ship in some of the film’s most important scenes. Rey’s also MIA from Hasbro’s Monopoly tie-in to the film, in which you can play as Finn, Luke Skywalker, Kylo Ren, or Darth Vader — never mind that Skywalker Jr. is in the movie for barely a minute and Skywalker Sr. isn’t in it at all. Rey’s presence, never mind her centrality, is erased, too, from this action-figure six-pack sold by Target, featuring Chewbacca, Poe Dameron, Finn (Jakku), Kylo Ren, First Order Stormtrooper Officer and the First Order TIE Fighter Pilot.
You might forgive each one of these as oversights if it weren’t for the fact that, just a month ago, Carrie Fisher, i.e., General Leia herself, joined the #WheresRey movement by speaking out about the need for more Leia action figures. And “Star Wars” is far from the only offender in this regard. We’ve been here before with Black Widow and “The Avengers” toys — prompting co-star Mark Ruffalo to tweet at Marvel on behalf of his “daughters and nieces” — and Gamora and “Guardians of the Galaxy” merch.
Hasbro and other movie merchandisers need to realize that sci-fi/fantasy fandom isn’t (and hasn’t ever been) a boys-only club and that male fans are able to identify and root for female characters.
The world is changing, and the future is changing along with it. If toy companies not going to keep up with the times, the least they can do is keep up with the movies they’re supposed to be celebrating.