Star Wars Monopoly was released last September, before the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie was released in December 2015. But when the game came out, there was no representation of the character Rey. Hollywood Reporter reports that fans of the movie were not pleased by the absence of Rey in Star Wars Monopoly.
Fans expressed their concern over the absence of Rey. Eight-year-old Annie Rose wrote to Hasbro and her mother, Carrie Goldman, tweeted the letter to Hasbro. Annie Rose had the best arguments of all for including Rey in Star Wars Monopoly.
— Carrie Goldman (@CarrieMGoldman) January 4, 2016
CNN reports that Goldman is friends with Jenna Busch, who founded the fan group “Legion of Leia” and who started the #Wheresrey campaign.
Women associated with Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon, including Chase Masterson, an actress from Star Trek, and Catherine Hardwicke, director of Twilight.
— Chase Masterson (@ChaseMasterson) January 7, 2016
— Catherine Hardwicke (@C_Hardwicke) January 5, 2016
Goldman said they were surprised that Hasbro responded to Busch.
“We were surprised and happy that Hasbro was engaging in the dialogue with us.”
— Hasbro (@HasbroNews) January 5, 2016
The same sort of thing happened with The Avengers when Black Widows was under-represented in the merchandising. Goldman said her 12-year-old daughter had a very difficult time finding Black Widow merchandise.
“My older daughter, now 12, has had a very hard time finding Black Widow merchandise. She is a huge Avengers fan, and we have been very frustrated over the underrepresentation of Black Widow in Avengers toys and clothing.”
Last summer, a Twitter campaign similar the #Wheresrey was launched for Black Widow, #wheresblackwidow. It appears leaving the female characters out of merchandising is an ongoing problem.
The Guardian reports that Hasbro has responded to the criticism by saying that they left Rey out because they didn’t want to give away any spoilers from the movie. Since then, Rey has been included in game releases other than Star Wars Monopoly, including the Star Wars editions of Hands Down and Guess Who, and she has been represented in a number of action figures. The also assured fans they will be seeing more of Rey.
“The Star Wars: Monopoly game was released in September, months before the movie’s release, and Rey was not included to avoid revealing a key plot line that she takes on Kylo Ren and joins the Rebel Alliance. Fans will see more Rey product hitting store shelves this month, including 6-inch and 12-inch Rey action figures. We are thrilled with the popularity of this compelling character and will continue to look for ways to showcase Rey across all of our product lines.”
However, as AV Club points out, fans haven’t been convinced by the argument Hasbro was trying to avoid plot spoilers, considering the same argument could have been applied to the characters Kylo Ren and Finn, who were both included in Star Wars Monopoly.
All of the Star Wars Monopoly controversy comes just after the popular game celebrated its 80th anniversary. BT reports that Monopoly was originally created by Charles B. Darrow and patented for production in 1935. The game has since been licensed in over 100 countries and produced in over 40 languages. But Darrow originally based Monopoly on a game that had been invented by a woman. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Magie patented a game called The Landlord’s Game, which she intended to use as a teaching tool to showcase the negatives of private monopolies owning too much land.
Ultimately, fans have spoken out, and Hasbro will oblige because if fans want it, then it will sell and they will still be able to pad their bottom line. In the end, it is a win-win for everyone.
[Image via chrisdorney/Shutterstock]