As news of the upcoming second wave of Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise was passed around earlier this week, one thing became abundantly clear: Rey is front and center. That’s in sharp contrast to the first round of toys that hit shelves last fall, which seemed to forget the movie’s lead character, Rey, played on-screen by newcomer Daisy Ridley.
The resulting outcry culminated in the creation of the hashtag #WheresRey, used by fans none-too-happy with their lack of options when it came to the force-sensitive scavenger from Jakku. It fed into a recurring issue concerning how female characters’ merchandise (or lack thereof) is marketed to the public. But has there really been a shortage of Rey in molded plastic form, or is/was there just an expectedly high demand around the relaunch of the most successful film franchise of all time? And if so, why? We went looking for answers, both from collectors and in stores.
Up until this second wave was announced, Rey had been omitted from a couple of key Star Wars playsets, first the Millennium Falcon, which instead came with Finn and Chewbacca, and most noticeably from the Star Wars Monopoly game, which included Kylo Ren and Finn, along with a Darth Vader and a Return of the Jedi-era Luke. The backlash against this particular omission first led Hasbro to cite spoiler alerts in response to their criticism, though they later announced that they’ll be adding her to the game, right around the same time director J.J. Abrams publicly stated that her absence “doesn’t quite make sense.”