You can play as an old shoe, but you can’t play as the lead character in a major franchise. At least, that was Hasbro’s logic until fans took to the internet in total outrage after the toy company blatantly excluded Rey as a playable character in their upcoming Star Wars edition of Monopoly.
Despite being the lead character in the newest rendition of the massive franchise, Rey was left out and instead the current iteration of the game features Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Finn, and a young Luke Skywalker. These were advertised as the only playable figures, which is shocking considering the breadth of characters available to choose from. What isn’t shocking is the fact that the company chose four male characters to feature in the game, despite having both Leia and Rey as two viable female options with integral roles in the films they feature in.
“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,” the company initially said on Monday.
It’s perhaps the lamest excuse they could’ve used. Anyone who saw the trailers released in the last 6 months could tell that Rey was a key player in some fashion. Plus, it’s not like her figure had to be wielding a lightsaber or high-fiving Luke Skywalker or anything. They could’ve just had her in her signature pose with her staff and would have not revealed a single key point about her character whatsoever.
It really begs the question — why did they even limit the playable characters to four to begin with? The original Monopoly game featured 8 pieces, with most other franchised versions featuring a minimum of six. They could’ve had their Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, while also including Rey or even Leia to help round out the group a bit more.
Thankfully, fans’ voices were heard:
“We love our fans’ passion for Rey, and are happy to share that we will be including her in the Monopoly: Star Wars game, available later this year,” the company said in a statement released on Facebook and Twitter late Tuesday night. “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.”
It may seem like a happy ending for all, but the true problem with this whole fiasco is that it’s not the first time this has happened, and it sure won’t be the last. Rey was excluded from both a six-pack action figure set and a Millennium Falcon play set earlier in the year as well. It’s become a pattern with major toy companies to conveniently leave out female characters because they don’t believe they’ll appeal to young boys, and then later apologize for their mistake after enough people complain about it. This wasn’t an accident or a silly oversight. Rey was intentionally left out, and “spoilers” definitely isn’t the reason.
What we need to do as fans is continue to call out this behavior so that eventually toy companies and the like stop excluding female characters with poor excuses just because they know they can get away with it if they apologize later on. Fan voices came together to make change in this instance; we just need to continue to stand together in instances of sexism in entertainment so that eventually representation isn’t just an afterthought for businesses.