Despite Hasbro’s promise to consumers that they would update the latest edition of Star Wars Monopoly to include a Rey token (after receiving complaints from fans), the games currently sold in U.S. stores do not have the new piece due to “insufficient interest.” Fans may recall that in early 2016 – as The Force Awakens was shattering box office records – there was an outcry over the lack of Rey merchandise available in stores. After all, the young scavenger is the protagonist of the sequel trilogy, meaning she should be front-and-center on tie-in products. Her conspicuous absence confused Episode VII director J.J. Abrams, who personally made some phone calls to licensing partners.
At the center of the controversy was Hasbro’s Star Wars Monopoly board game, which included an all-male roster of playable characters: Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, and Finn. This led to fans creating the hashtag #WheresRey to voice their displeasure. Hasbro responded by saying they would add a Rey piece to the game, and images of the figure made their way online about a month afterwards. Now, 18 months after the story made headlines, it’s come out that Rey is still not a part of Star Wars Monopoly sold at American retailers.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Hasbro spokeswoman Jane Duffy said that the company did indeed produce a Rey figure for Monopoly, but did not release a new version of the full game in the U.S. because of what she called “insufficient interest.” The updated Monopoly with Rey was sold in various overseas markets, just never in America. Responding to an inquiry from The Verge, Duffy elaborated on her original statement:
“The original version of the 2015 game was selling well [in the US] and retailers had adequate inventory so they opted not to list the new version.”
It is worth mentioning that people who want a Rey piece for their Star Wars Monopoly can get one by making a request to customer service. So, from a certain point of view, Hasbro did make good on their promise. Technically, Rey is in the game, though there’s an extra step one must take. It’s understandable why this might not sit well with fans. Following the success of Force Awakens, Rey became one of the most popular characters in Star Wars lore – particularly among young girls who found a heroine to look up to. Getting excited about playing as Rey in Monopoly, only to find out you have to call Hasbro to get the piece, is anticlimactic and disappointing. Hasbro should have been more transparent about this process so it didn’t come as a great shock to customers.
Hopefully, the company learned their lesson from previous mishaps, and fans will have no problem finding Rey on shelves this fall when the next Force Friday happens. For what it’s worth, Hasbro has increased Rey’s presence in their collection of Star Wars family games – including Trouble, Operation, and Trivial Pursuit. In all likelihood, there will probably be a new Monopoly down the road, and the safe money would be on Rey being among the tokens included in the box.
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