One of the only PR fumbles in the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” marketing and promotional campaign was a problem of Disney and Hasbro’s own making – the exclusion of Daisy Ridley’s Rey character from the first wave of tie-in toys for the film.
Sources at the time suggested toymakers were specifically directed to exclude Rey from their products because ‘Star Wars” toys are geared at boys and boys allegedly don’t like playing with female action-figures. It wasn’t the first time such a claim was lobbed at the companies who had pushed Black Widow to the side of Avengers-related toys which led to an outcry and backlash.
The lack of Rey caused hashtag protests, blog editorials and fan petitions galore and Disney came through even if it took them time. Now Hasbro has made it clear they have no plans for a repeat incident with this December’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and have made it clear that Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso leading character will be featured prominently in all the new products that are coming.
Toy industry consultant Chris Byrne tells AdAge: “Young boys will embrace the female hero in a way they wouldn’t have 30 or 40 years ago. Today’s boys will actually look at a female hero and say, ‘Yeah, she can be powerful.’ Their masculinity is not threatened.”
“Rogue One” toys go one sale starting on September 30th ahead of the film’s release on December 16th.