It started with the hashtag #wheresrey and became a phenomenon.
(TINY SPOILERS FOR “STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS” BELOW.)
On Nov. 13, Jamie Ford noticed something odd about the “Star Wars” play set from Hasbro at Target.
This wasn’t the first time female leads had been left out of Hasbro’s toy lines. Last summer, fans of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” learned they couldn’t buy toys featuring Zoe Saldana’s kickass heroine Gamora. Avengers fans who wanted Black Widow action figures? Same story. Leaving Rey out of the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” games and toys was somehow even more egregious. So people spoke up.
Hasbro finally learned their lesson, this time, but only after lots of public feedback.
Rey is, by all accounts, the star of the movie and the key character the rest of the trilogy will revolve around. Director J.J. Abrams agreed, saying, “it is preposterous and wrong that the main character of the movie is not well represented in what is clearly a huge piece of the Star Wars world.”
Hasbro had pretty weak reasons for not making their first “Force Awakens” toy sets look like the film they’re from. They said that there were spoiler reasons. Rey holding a light saber would have given too much away. (Then don’t include a lightsaber? She also has a giant beating stick. Just sayin.’)
So, in that spirit, we took a few creative liberties to imagine what Hasbro toy sets for famous female-fronted movies might look like if they were as oblivious about other women lead characters as they were with “Star Wars.”
Katniss Everdeen may have stopped the Hunger Games, but she had a lot of help, ya know?
Think Elsa and Anna are the most important part of this story? Let it go, yo.
A “Charlie’s Angels” play set with 200% more Bosley!
A tragic love story becomes a triumph when Jack Dawson finally gets the whole piece of floating wood to himself.
You know what’s less fun to play without Thelma & Louise? The “Thelma & Louise” action play set.
Remember the 87 of 93 minutes Sandra Bullock was on screen trying not to die? Too bad.
Hasbro finally is starting to listen, but there’s still a long way to go.
Since we started on this project (terrible Photoshopping takes a long time, mmmkay?), both Hasbro and Disney have apologized for leaving Rey out of their first-wave play sets. Hasbro is re-releasing their Monopoly set with a Rey figurine, and Disney promises many more Rey toys to come. In this case, calling them out worked.
But what about the other big female-led movies coming out this year? Hasbro is the official toy partner for Marvel, who has two huge movies coming out this year. Will they make sure there are plenty of Black Widow toys for the release of “Captain America: Civil War”? Will there be Mystique, Psylocke, and Jean Grey toys for “X-Men: Apocalypse”?
Assuming that kids wouldn’t want to play with female action figures is like assuming people won’t buy tickets to see female-led films. Neither are true. Last year, three of the highest grossing films were helmed by female actors. Imperator Furiosa from “Mad Max,” Katniss Everdeen from “Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II,” and Melissa McCarthy’s character from “Spy”: They’re all female leads in films that made more than $100 million at the box office last year.
As we wait to find out if they do the right thing, know this: Women make up 51% of the world’s population and buy 50% of all movie tickets. It’s time the toy world reflected more of our real world.
Listen to us, Hasbro-meh-Kenobi. It’s YOUR only hope.