Here’s some good news for fans hungry for more ladies in the toy aisle – There’ll be a Princess Leia figure based on her Rebels appearance from Hasbro. The 3¾ figure will be in stores this fall.
In less happy toy news, there’s a new report that lays the cause of the lack of Rey toys at the feet of Lucasfilm themselves. A purported insider described a January 2015 vendor meeting with the company to the blog Sweatpants and Coffee:
The insider, who was at those meetings, described how initial versions of many of the products presented to Lucasfilm featured Rey prominently. At first, discussions were positive, but as the meetings wore on, one or more individuals raised concerns about the presence of female characters in the Star Wars products. Eventually, the product vendors were specifically directed to exclude the Rey character from all Star Wars-related merchandise, said the insider.
“We know what sells,” the industry insider was told. “No boy wants to be given a product with a female character on it.”
Hasbro is releasing more toys with Rey and other female characters, like Leia, aren’t being left out entirely. (And note that while there are certainly far less Rey items, she wasn’t totally excluded from the first wave of products.) But the report does show there’s a lot of work to be done at every level.
Target is sponsoring a free event in Los Angeles this weekend, December 12 & 13. Dubbed the Star Wars Galactic Experience, it will include activities where you can use the Force, an exhibition from Rancho Obi-Wan, LEGO TIE Fighter building and origami making. It also has something called Galaxy Show: “Discover a galaxy of hidden Star Wars constellations.” Sounds intriguing. You’ll find it from 10 am to 10 pm at L.A. Live next to the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
The Rancho Obi-Wan exhibit will include a complete collection of carded vintage Star Wars action figures from 1977 to 1985. The Star Wars Galactic Experience will also have exclusive Star Wars merchandise.
With the collaboration of Lucasfilm and Disney, Brooklyn’ Ample Hills Creamery has created two limited edition Star Wars ice cream (frozen custard?) flavors. Per Entertainment Weekly, the flavors are:
The Dark Side (ultra-dark chocolate ice cream with espresso fudge brownies, cocoa crispies, and white chocolate pearls) and The Light Side (bright marshmallow ice cream with homemade crispie clusters, as well as a smattering of handmade cocoa crispies).
They can be ordered online and come in four-packs with collectible containers.
Her Universe and Hot Topic launched a new Star Wars collection today! Several of the designs are available now, with more coming next month. And, Ashley Eckstein tells The Daily Dot, there’s another in development.
The items are avaliable in extended sizes, and Hot Topic’s sister shop Torrid will carry some items as well, including a lightsaber dress based on the skirt introduced earlier this year.
Ashley is also encouraging fans to share with the hashtag #MyStarWarsStory:
Yowie and I go over the latest in the Star Wars galaxy in this week’s Unboxing Star Wars video. We bring out a B-wing as we talk about Hera in this week’s Rebels episode, ‘Wings of the Master’, and try some Star Wars packaged Honey Nut Cheerios. We also show off some Star Wars stamps from the UK and talk about the upcoming Vader Down comic crossover event. I even talk about a scene from Rescuers Down Under.
Making Star Wars reports of rumblings that Lucasfilm is “retiring” the Slave Leia bikini. However, do note that piece’s only quoted source is J. Scott Campbell, an artist whose work mostly seems to consist of pinups – not exactly the most neutral of parties regarding this subject.
That said, I do feel it’s a very smart move for Lucasfilm to be more selective in how and when they use the bikini. It’s all-too-often used as the character’s default look – see Tsundo Sanda’s recent Newsweek cover, where any iconic Leia would do the trick just as well. The problem isn’t so much that slave Leia is a thing that exists in merchandising, it’s that the bikini dominates – and that’s not a fair representation of the character.
I do think a blanket ban on it is rather unlikely – I don’t have a huge problem with the Return of the Jedi poster that MSW uses an an example, for instance – but less of the bikini? Yes, please.
Fast Company has a profile of Hasbro Star Wars design director Steve Evans, focusing on The Force Awakens rollout. Of special interest to us, some words on the changing market:
“I’m actually very, very fond of the three-and-three-quarter inch Rey figure,” Evans says. It’s an appropriate choice, and not just for the fact that Rey is one of the main characters in the next Star Wars chapter. That figure symbolizes a radical shift in the action figure market—and the Star Wars toys market in particular.
“It’s because of what it stands for,” says Evans. “Just because of the way it’s embracing girls into the brand more. I have a son and two twin daughters and my girls are infatuated with Rey. They think she’s brilliant.”
Back in the ’70s and ’80s Star Wars action figures were thought of as something to be made just for boys. But Evans says that’s all changed now. And not only are the artificial gender action figure barriers are coming down, now they’re designed to appeal to people of all ages.
As for The Force Awakens, “as we lead up to December 18, there’s a certain amount that gets released,” says Evans. “There are certain surprises from our product line that no one knows about, that we’ll release leading up to the movie, at the movie, and beyond the movie.”