When reports about the lack of The Force Awakens’ Rey toys and figures started pouring in from around the country, none of us were fooled. Between Hasbro’s extremely foolish exclusion of a Rey token from the Star Wars Monopoly set to the ridiculous claims about not releasing some action figures because of “spoilers,” we simply weren’t buying the what the publicity machine was attempting to sell.
Speaking anonymously with Michael Boehm at Sweatpants and Coffee (sounds like my kind of place), an “industry insider” present at the merchandising meetings with Disney and Lucasfilm opens up the boardroom doors to give us a peek at the ugliness behind the decision to exclude Rey. When vendors made their first presentations at Lucasfilm’s Letterman Center in San Francisco, Rey was “prominently” featured among the merchandise prototypes. The inside source says that though initial discussions were positive, the inclusion of female characters became an issue among some of the executives present. The vendors were finally directed to specifically exclude Rey from all Star Wars merchandise.
They put a huge investment into marketing and merchandizing the Kylo Ren character. They presumed he would be the big breakout role from the film.