JJ Abrams: it’s ‘preposterous and wrong’ for female Star Wars protagonist not to be included in toy sets

The director was answering questions after #WheresRey trended on Twitter last week

Star Wars: The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams has revealed he personally made phone calls about the omission of main protagonist Rey from Star Wars merchandise.

The hashtag #WheresRey trended on Twitter last week after it emerged that Hasbro’s Star Wars Monopoly set did not contain Daisy Ridley’s character from the sci-fi fantasy film, while it did feature new male characters from the film, Finn and Kylo Ren.

Hasbro defended Rey’s absence by asserting that including her in the set – which contained only four characters, completed by Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader – would have been a film spoiler.

A spokesperson said, “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. 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.”

Abrams said that as soon as he heard that Rey was not in the game, he was “quickly making phone calls,” adding, “It seems preposterous and wrong that the main character of the movie is not well-represented in what is clearly a huge piece of the Star Wars world, in terms of merchandising. It doesn’t quite make sense to me why she wouldn’t be there — she’s somewhat important in the story.”

Another toy product from Hasbro excludes all female characters, despite specifically referring to The Force Awakens. The set of figurines pack includes male pilot Poe Dameron, male ex-Stormtrooper Finn, male Wookiee Chewbacca, male antagonist Kylo Ren, a First Order Stormtrooper and a TIE fighter Pilot. The company has since announced that it will release Rey figurines

The same phenomenon has been addressed by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, after the film’s only female character, Gamora received little in the way of merchandise following the release of the 2014 film.

“It’s frustrating and it bums me out,” he said, adding that he was attempting to make sure there is wider representation of Zoe Saldana’s character in the toy market for the film’s 2017 sequel.

Speaking in a live Facebook Q&A video in December, the director said, “I had a big conversation about this yesterday with one of my producers at Marvel about trying to make sure, especially, that Gamora is represented more in [merchandise] and all the Guardians toys but especially all the clothing and bedsheets and all that stuff.”

He was responding to a question about the paucity of Gamora merchandise following the 2014 film. At that time a #WheresGamora hashtag was created after it was revealed that only six different Gamora toys had been created to tie in with the film, compared to hundreds of merchandise items for the male characters.

“I think its really important [and] that oftentimes it’s something Marvel is concerned with, as I am,” Gunn said. “It’s frustrating and stuff, and it bums me out.”