WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
As many people know, film is hardly the only area where Star Wars generates mass revenue. The property is a merchandising giant, offering fans numerous tie-in products so they can bring their favorite characters home. Licensed materials are such a big thing now, Disney and Lucasfilm are making the Force Friday unveiling event an annual shopping day, recently scheduling a date in September 2016 for the debut of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story merchandise.
It’s fun to collect the various Star Wars materials, but during the buildup to Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens there was some controversy. Despite being the lead protagonist of the movie, there was a shortage of Rey products on store shelves, a development that even upset Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams. Things reached a boiling point when an edition of Hasbro’s Star Wars Monopoly did not include the Jakku scavenger, and the manufacturer later promised she’d become a part of the board game. They’ve now shared the Rey Monopoly figure.
The company used the New York City Toy Fair (hat tip The Verge) as the platform to debut the piece, which features Rey wielding Luke Skywalker’s original lightsaber – the weapon she used in her duel with Kylo Ren.
When #WheresRey went viral and fans questioned why she wasn’t part of the Monopoly game, Hasbro claimed that they wanted to avoid spoiling key story details for The Force Awakens in their products. It’s not a coincidence then, that the Rey figure is holding the lightsaber, an element that was saved for the film’s premiere. After several moviegoers have seen the movie, the second wave of Star Wars 7 merchandise is now emphasizing Rey as a Jedi in training, Lucasfilm’s partners becoming comfortable incorporating more events from the film.
At the same time, this could be perceived as a not-so-subtle cover on Hasbro’s part. There’s still no reasonable explanation for why Rey was excluded before. The earliest Force Awakens marketing materials always featured Rey holding on to her staff, so she easily could have been part of Monopoly with that item instead of the lightsaber. The whole “no spoilers” justification doesn’t hold much weight with some fans, especially those who found it odd and frustrating Rey was difficult to find in stores during the height of Force Awakens mania. Regardless, it is nice to see that Hasbro did not turn a blind eye to the situation and worked on a means of rectifying it quickly. The new version of Star Wars Monopoly (which includes Rey) will be released this fall – just in time for holiday shopping.
Hopefully history does not repeat itself as merchandise for the upcoming Star Wars films is revealed. Much like The Force Awakens, Rogue One features a female lead in Felicity Jones who will most likely factor heavily into the plot. As advertising for the spinoff gears up, there will probably be a great deal of interest in her character, so the onus is on the toy companies to make sure they don’t shortchange her like they initially did Rey.
Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, and will be followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode 8 on December 15th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: The Verge