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.
On Unboxing Star Wars his week, Yowie, Baby Jawa, and I hit the road to pick up a Toys R Us Epic Battles medal and award it to a deserving Rebel. Then I review this week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels: ‘Blood Sisters’, and we get a glimpse at the new exhibition of Howard Chaykin’s original comic art for the 1977 Marvel Star Wars comic adaptation. Plus we do a little bit on the #DrawWars2015 art project.
The next Toys R Us Epic Battles medal will be distributed on December 4th and 5th and will be for Yavin, and will feature Darth Vader. You can earn the certificate by playing a little Where’s Waldo type game.
Earlier today, From Bricks to Bothans posted a few leaked images of two upcoming LEGO sets from the film. One is an (officially) unrevealed X-wing that we saw at a certain filming location, and the second is the Millennium Falcon. Both include multiple mini-figures – and the Falcon one gives us a few new names. (Though it’s noteworthy that both Finn and Rey remain just ‘Finn’ and ‘Rey.’)
FBTB has since deleted the images, but since they’ve been widely distributed across the internet, I’m putting them up below the cut. Check them out, or not…
To the surprise of, well, everyone, there weren’t a whole mass of The Force Awakens toy reveals at the Hasbro panel at SDCC. But what they did show was pretty cool – and rather large: A 6″ scale TIE fighter, with “elite” pilot. (There’s a pretty neat display case recreating a scene from the trailer on the show floor now.)
As expected, Knights of the Old Republic‘s Revan won the 2015 Fan’s Choice poll by a landslide, but the results for Rebels Sabine Wren were so good that she’s going to be made as a 6″ Black Series figure, too! They also revealed that a Kanan Jarrus figure is coming to the Black Series as well. Other new 6″ figures include Rebels Ahsoka, a Tatooine Luke Skywalker, a Jango Fett, and one of the new Inquisitors (the dude) from S2 of Rebels. Check the StarWars.com liveblog for pics (very small, with bigger ones coming) and other details.
We’re now six months out from The Force Awakens, Jason Ward at Making Star Wars points out. Six months! Crazy. And will we really see a full-sized Falcon at SDCC? (They did have a Hasbro-themed one at the China Toy Expo in 2013, but that rumor does feel awfully familiar… Still, now that we’re in the real run-up to the movie, it’s hard to predict exactly how high they’re willing to go.)
→ Speaking of highs, The Force Awakens’ second trailer was one for the record books – literally. Guinness World Records today said that the trailer set a new world record: With 30.65 million views in it’s first day, it’s the most viewed movie trailer on YouTube in 24 hours.
→ Emerging yesterday on Jedi Temple Archives was a TFA toy list with not a single recognizable name – No Kylo Ren, no Rey, no Finn, no Poe, no Millennium Falcon. Bizarre, no? I wondered if it was a prank at the time, but it appears they may be in code. Phew.
Entertainment Weekly has our first official look at The Force Awakens toys, but they’re all stormtrooper-themed, so it feels a little underwhelming. (One of them, Hasbro’s Black Series 6″ stormtrooper above, has already shown up on eBay – and as it’s the SDCC exclusive, expect it to show up again.) Wake me up when we get the details on that remote-controlled BB-8.
→ The New York Times had a great feature on BB-8 over Celebration weekend, revealing two things. First, that the version during filming was “a prop built on rollers” – not the fully functional one we saw on stage last week. As mentioned by Kathleen Kennedy onstage, Disney CEO Bob Iger connected the dots, bringing in Sphero to help produce a practical model. And secondly, that a mini toy version – about the size of an apple and controlled via smartphone – will be in stores this holiday season. Bigger versions will (naturally) show up at Disney Parks. Of course, if you can’t wait that long, you can always get a Sphero and make your own….
→ Also in the NYT, a nice look at the folks behind Celebration and Star Wars, including Mary Franklin and Matt Martin.
So hot on the heels of the last dustup over the lack of female figures, Jedi Temple Archive reports that Hasbro has pulled the Ceremonial Princess Leia figures from Wave 7 and Wave 8 of the Black Series, replacing her with… A stormtrooper and a clone trooper.
Yakface, one of the first to bring this to the attention of the wider fandom, started the #whereisleia and #wewantleia hashtags.
Devin Faraci at Badass Digest wrote about looking for action figures for his niece, the latest in a familiar refrain:
The fact that Hasbro is canceling one of its few Leia figures means that they’re only keeping the status quo. Would more girl toys sell now, as the demographics of fandom shifts dramatically? No one can know when the toys don’t exist. I wanted to go and spend my money on female characters for my goddaughter, but I was not offered the opportunity. Young female fans should be able to walk into Toys ‘R Us and find a toy based on the largest and most popular stories in our pop culture that speaks to them. It’s as simple as that, and when the only option is a sexualized and subservient variant – why would they want to buy that? Why would their parents want to buy that for them?
Sure, there’s that Ahsoka figure coming and it seems like Boushh disguise Leia is still on, but canceling any of the few Leia figures they were hyping just over a month ago isn’t exactly fostering good faith in their intentions.
“Hasbro feels they have released plenty of female characters in the line.” That’s the money quote, from a Toy Fair Q&A with collector site Jedi Temple Archives. Granted, it doesn’t seem to be an exact quote, but the sentiment is pretty clear in any case. UPDATE: The answer has since been revised, at Hasbro’s request, to namedrop figures released over the past several years – that Mara Jade figure came out in 2013 – but the problem still remains. The Mary Sue has a great response to this:
It’s not that there aren’t any female characters in their line, because of course that would be untrue—it’s that they clearly take a backseat to the male ones which Hasbro thinks will sell better to boys.
Hasbro also said have no more Leia figures planned at the moment. (Though I doubt that includes The Force Awakens, which they are very much not talking about yet. But then again, who knows?) Asajj Ventress is also in the “no current plans” category.
Does our only hope for more than a paltry handful of women figures rest solely in the hands of the new film? We know there are multiple women in the cast, but such is the case with Rebels, and that rollout certainly hasn’t been without issues. (Though the recent issues finding figures – all figures – is likely due to an ongoing labor dispute at west coast seaports.)