“No boy wants to be given a product with a female character on it.”
With the promise of anonymity, an insider involved in the merchandising of Star Wars: The Force Awakens says that Rey, the central protagonist of the film, was intentionally excluded from games, toys, and other tie-in products.
Hasbro created the Star Wars Monopoly set in which players can embody four different characters, all male. And, Hasbro’s “Battle Action Millennium Falcon” playset features Finn, Chewbacca, and BB-8 characters, but not Rey.
After a huge outcry from consumers, Hasbro, one of the primary creators of games related to Star Wars, released a statement that her exclusion was to preserve plot secrets. But the insider, who spoke to the blog Sweatpants & Coffee, said the decision to exclude Rey was based on marketing directive.
Back in January 2015, toy and merchandise vendors gathered at Lucasfilm’s Letterman Center in San Francisco to present their product tie in ideas for the new Star Wars film. The insider, who was at those meetings, described how many of the products presented to Lucasfilm featured Rey. But individuals in the meetings raised concerns and, according to the source, the vendors were specifically directed to exclude the Rey character from all Star Wars-related merchandise.
“We know what sells,” the industry insider was told, according to Sweatpants and Coffee, “No boy wants to be given a product with a female character on it.”