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.
Today we’re one month away from The Force Awakens. Well, those of us who have tickets for the December 17th showings do as I post this. (Check your local theater – they likely still have tickets.)
→ Star Wars is forever and ever (and ever) Wired reminds us, in another article from their Star Wars issue. (Remember the J.J. interview?) There’s not any real news here if you’ve been paying attention, but it is a good look at the new mega movie franchise blueprint. Elsewhere, a look at the Disney empire and their gatefold Millennium Falcon cover.
→ Fashion designers are reinterpreting looks from the Force Awakens that will be auctioned for charity. The Force 4 Fashion looks will be revealed on December 2.
→ Greg Grunberg on shooting The Force Awakens. J.J. Abrams is mean.
→ Hasbro says demand for The Force Awakens toys was higher than they expected. “No shit,” say collectors everywhere, rolling their eyes.
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.”
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.
Well, the votes are in, and Rebels’ Sabine Wren was the only woman to make the finals in the Hasbro Fan’s Choice poll, up for vote now on StarWars.com. The other finalists are Ben Kenobi (A New Hope,) Lando Calrissian, Darth Revan from the Knights of the Old Republic games, General Grievous, a Gamorrean guard and a snowtrooper. When I voted, Revan had a strong lead, with Obi-Wan second and Sabine in third.
The winning character, to be announced at SDCC, will be made into a 6″ Black Series figure.
Several other women made the finals at individual sites: Mara Jade was #1 at Topless Robot , #2 at Making Star Wars and #3 at Yakface, among others. Asajj Ventress and Ahsoka Tano (The Clone Wars version) also made a strong showing – here’s an informal countup of all the sites that posted their results publicly.