A Star Wars-themed Monopoly game released back in September is drawing ire for excluding the Star Wars: The Force Awakens lead, Rey.
The boardgame, the latest installment of the Star Wars Monopoly franchise, features a radical shift in the way the game is played. In the past, it was essentially just a standard Monopoly board with Star Wars-themed playing pieces and property names. Here, there are customizations and changes made to the board, the currency and basically every part of the game.
Oh, and there are four game pieces, rather than the six or eight most fans would expect with Monopoly, in spite of the fact that the game is intended to span the full franchise. This version was released on September 4, 2015, and features only Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Finn and Kylo Ren as playing pieces.
As with most of The Force Awakens, filmmakers tried to keep the nature of Rey's role in the film as secretive as they could in the lead-up to the movie's theatrical release. Hasbro says her exclusion from Monopoly, like the decision not to release toys (which ended up being leaked anyway) featuring the character wielding a lightsaber, was done to prevent spoilers from getting out.
"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. Rey is featured in the following Star Wars games: Hands Down, Guess Who and Chess as well as our 6” Black Series figures, 3 3/4” Figures and Vehicles, Black Series Titanium and Micromachines. Additionally, fans will see more Rey product hitting store shelves this month, including 6" and 12" 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."
Most of those games feature many more than four characters, which will no doubt leave some critics nonplussed since including her in a chess set where a couple of dozen characters appear isn't quite as impressive as making her one of the top four most important people in the franchise. That said, she does appear as a bishop in the Chess game (Luke and Leia are the Light Side king and queen).
The exclusion of Rey's character fits a running narrative that the character has been absent in merchandise for the film. The first Rey action figures were released back in September as well -- but recent, leaked images indicate that the "Starkiller Base Rey" figure -- currently sold out in many locations and fetching as much as $50 on eBay -- will be replaced by one holding Luke Skywalker's lightsaber.
It isn't sold out everywhere, though; the Target website indicates that there are copies of the figure in stock at two stores within a half an hour's drive from where I live in Syracuse, NY, although you can't order the toy online.
The #WhereIsRey hashtag on social media, meanwhile, is filled with anecdotes about absent or insufficient merchandise, limited selection for female clothes and non-toy merchandise and reminders that Black Widow toys were suspiciously scarce during last year's promotion for Avengers: Age of Ultron as well.