Beginning to Make Toys Right with #WheresRey

(Image Credit: LucasFilm)

(Image Credit: LucasFilm)

When Star Wars fans headed to stores for memorabilia, many of us couldn’t find the character we were looking for. Like Marvel’s Gamora and Black Widow before her, new heroine Rey had been left out of too many toy sets. Most egregious were a set of action figures that featured male leads Finn, Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren, along with Chewbacca and a generic pilot and Stormtrooper and the Millennium Falcon playset that featured Finn, Chewbacca and BB-8, even though Rey is the one to fly the ship in The Force Awakens.

But in spite of the growing hashtag campaign #WheresRey, the lack of Rey went largely unnoticed by the general public until recently when a tweet, featuring a letter from an 8-year-old who wanted toy manufacturer Hasbro to know “girls matter,” went viral. The letter was in response to Rey’s absence from the company’s Star Wars Monopoly game, where you can play as Finn, Kylo Ren, Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker (the latter two of whom either don’t or barely appear in the new movie).

Finally, Hasbro was forced to address the issue, but their official statement raised more questions than it answered. They told Entertainment Weekly: “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.”

Admittedly, spoilers for The Force Awakens were a BIG DEAL in the days leading up to and directly following the film’s December release, and Disney even claims they planned this lack of Rey toys to avoid spoilers. In an interview, Paul Southern, head of licensing for Lucasfilm, said, “The fact that she was the ultimate heroine of the film was one of the significant plot points we did want to protect.” This makes a kind of sense, except apparently, the fact that Finn is also a hero of the movie wasn’t considered too spoiler-y.

As many fans have pointed out, including Rey in her scavenger outfit (which she wears almost all of the movie) shouldn’t have been considered a spoiler. Rey was a key figure in The Force Awakens’s trailer, and it only made sense that she was an important part of the movie. If this was solely related to the fact that Rey ends up with Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber and it awakens the force within her, the lightsaber didn’t have to be included in early-release toys.

Southern admits that the passion for Rey toys – which are selling “exceptionally well” at Target – caught Disney by surprise, saying, “The excitement around her is a lot more than we were expecting it to be.” Admitting there’s a problem is a good first step, and with Disney now releasing more Star Wars toys that feature Rey because The Force Awakens spoilers are less of a problem, it may seem like our worries over the missing Rey were unfounded.

But #WheresRey proved a point that fans have been making for years: we want female characters in our merchandise. If Disney – and by extension, Marvel – can finally see that in profit, the language they speak best, maybe we won’t need any more hashtag campaigns. Although I’ve got a bad feeling about leaving it up to the companies, we have made our voices heard. Disney and Hasbro have commented on this issue, so they have no more excuses.

While we wait to see if anything has been learned, rejoice in the Rey merch (new and old)! I picked out a few things that I need to run out to the store and get ASAP, so take a look at my list or check out Entertainment Weekly’s full rundown to figure out what you want.

Rey’s Speeder – Lego

Released prior to The Force Awakens, this Lego set helps you recreate Rey’s speeder from her time on Jakku. It comes with extra studs for you to shoot – although it’s probably not recommend you do what I would do and shoot them at people – and an adorable Rey Lego figure. Plus, the price isn’t half-bad for a Lego kit.

Bladebuilders: Rey’s Lightsaber – Hasbro

When I was kid (and honestly, also now), the number one thing I wanted was a lightsaber, and this one lights up and makes noises! This toy may just be a dream come true, as long as the price is right.

Itty Bittys: Rey – Hallmark

I already have several of these itty bitty stuffed animals, so I may be a little biased on this one. But take one look at Rey’s super cute face and tell me you don’t want one. Just go ahead and try.

Rey 3.75-inch Action Figure – Hasbro

The new Rey action figure features her in her “Resistance outfit” that she wears at the end of the movie, and it comes with a lightsaber for her to hold. Whether you end up getting this one or the scavenger version released in September, it’s a win for you either way.

Rey and BB-8 Elite Series Die Cast Action Figure – Disney

The latest version of Disney’s Rey action figure has her lightsaber, but it’s extra cool that you get her staff too. Besides, BB-8 comes along too, and how can you not want a tiny, adorable droid?

In all the controversy surrounding #WheresRey, perhaps TIME contributor Darlena Cunha said it best when she wrote:

“Little girls need to see themselves as heroes. Little girls need to see that they can grow up to be powerful and good. Little girls deserve a chance to imagine strength and perseverance in their own gender. They deserve someone to look up to.

Just as important, so do little boys. Little boys need to see that women are strong and fierce, and that women characters are just as magnetic as men characters. And they need confirmation of their inner monologue when they see a movie that shows just that. The merchandise should match that experience.”

Welcome to the world, Rey. Sadly, because of the current lack of diversity in toys, you may be our only hope at changing things around. But with any luck, in the future, you won’t be alone. May the Force be with us all.

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‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is a “Rey” of Hope for Girls

(Image Credit: Lucasfilm)

(Image Credit: Lucasfilm)

I waited a while to write this article to make sure at least a majority of our readers watched Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens… If not, you still have time but major props to you for going this long without seeing the movie. Whether or not you’ve seen all of Star Wars or absolutely avoided getting into the Star Wars world, the time is now to get into it. And here’s why. One word: Rey.

Yeah, there’s no last name. It’s just Rey. We’ll get more into that in a bit but let’s just start from the beginning. When we got a sneak peek of the very next chapter of this franchise, we just saw the face of this mysterious girl. I don’t know about you but I knew NOTHING about this movie. Well then again, I don’t think anyone knew about it. Anyways, just about ten to twenty minutes into the film, I fell in love with this fictional character.

Rey is the absolute role model I wish I had when I was a little girl. Looking back to my childhood, what “superhero” or woman role model did I have in my life (besides my mom)? No one. I had Melanie’s Mall — a doll who loved shopping — and I didn’t get into Supergirl or Wonder Woman until my early 20s. I had no real badass person to look up to! I’m jealous yet so incredibly happy for younger girls all over the world to have this type of person to look up to.

If you haven’t seen the movie at all, you’re probably really confused. Look, here’s the thing. Rey is the lead character that defies all the odds. She isn’t the normal damsel in distress. She’s the one who manages to get herself out of those situations and ends up being the savior for the boys. She’s not the average bystander and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty when needed. Speaking of hands, she definitely never needs to be guided by a boy — ahem, Finn — so don’t even try to lead the way. She’ll figure things out herself.

Rey made a subtle but huge statement that mechanical engineering can be a boy AND girl thing. Did you notice Finn didn’t know what certain tools were? We’ve come a long way when the girls were seen as the “confused sidekick.” She even surprised Han with her knowledge of the makeup of a spacecraft or, in this case, his baby, Millennium Falcon. It was refreshing to see Finn burned to the side while Rey lead the way. Sorry, Finn. I still appreciate you.

We still don’t know Rey’s story. Who is she? Why is the Force so strong with her? There are so many theories that she’s somehow the daughter of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker or even Obi-Wan Kenobi! Her life is a mystery. All we know is that she was torn apart from someone or something very close to her at an early age. Damn it, I can’t wait much longer to know her story!

The woman who portrays Rey, Daisy Ridley, is just as cool as her character. (Side note: I did a quick search about her and noticed she’s the same exact age as me. We can basically be BFFs, right?) You’ve probably seen tons of Buzzfeed posts listing “27 ways Daisy Ridley stole our hearts” or something along those lines. I won’t list every single reason but just know, there are two types of people: the ones who intimidate the living hell out of you and the ones who’d be right next to you acting like a goofball. Daisy is the latter.

If Rey/Daisy existed during my days, I probably would have grown up differently. Back then, little boys had Luke Skywalker or Anakin Skywalker to look up to. Of course, we can’t deny that there’s also the badass Princess Leia who undoubtedly is not a princess but a QUEEN for independent women everywhere… However, Rey is the woman for our generation.

Chewie Wookiee Cookies from Diamonds for Desserts

(Image Credit: Diamonds for Dessert)

(Image Credit: Diamonds for Dessert)

I was a Star Wars kid. I loved the original trilogy and saw every single one of the prequel movies in theaters. If I had to pretend to be a princess – not my favorite game – I was Princess Leia. Now, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens primed to hit theaters soon, it’s once again time to celebrate all things Star Wars, which is where Diamonds for Desserts’s recipe for Chewie Wookiee Cookies comes into play.

These cookies get their name from our favorite Wookiee, Chewbacca, because they’re designed to look like him – or at least a super cute illustration of him by Philip Tseng. But there’s another reason that Diamonds for Desserts dubbed these cookies “chewie.” The cookie dough used is a Diamonds for Desserts classic, and it makes thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies.

After you have your chewy chocolate chip cookies, it’s time to make them look like Chewie! What I really like about the Diamonds for Desserts recipe is that the Chewie decorations aren’t icing: they’re more chocolate, of both the semisweet and white varieties.

The full recipe at Diamonds for Desserts makes the decorating look easy, but I suspect if you’re not used to doing that kind of thing, it might make you as angry as Anakin Skywalker. But don’t turn to the dark side yet! Remember the cookies don’t have to be perfect the first time. You can always make them again, which means more cookies. And that can only be a good thing.

What To See During The Mill Valley Film Festival!

(Image Credit: Mill Valley Film Festival)

(Image Credit: Mill Valley Film Festival)

The Mill Valley Film Festival is gearing up for its 38th year! The event will run Thursday, October 8 to Sunday, October 18, 2015 to recognize the best in independent and world cinema. We’re talking about an outstanding list of movies that feature films that are already stirring some Oscar buzz for next year. Attendees will be making their way to Marin County in California for movie premieres, panel discussions and musical performances. Continue reading

Quirky Item of the Week: ‘Star Wars’ Han and Leia Hand Towels

(Image Credit: Thinkgeek)

(Image Credit: Thinkgeek)

As a self-proclaimed nerd, I feel warranted in stating that when you are a geek, you are obsessed with all things geeky. And I truly mean obsessed. We buy replicas of characters’ wands from Harry Potter. We have plastic lightsabers from Star Wars. We have sonic screwdrivers from Doctor Who. I know it’s not just me. Continue reading

The most anticipated movies of 2015!

IN THE HEART OF THE SEA (Image Credit: Johnathan Prime/Warner Bros.)

IN THE HEART OF THE SEA (Image Credit: Johnathan Prime/Warner Bros.)

2015 is going to be a huge year for movies. Between massive blockbusters and star-studded indie films, there is something for everyone to enjoy this year. I’ve put together a brief month-by-month list of must-see films of 2015. Continue reading

‘Star Wars’ and NCAA team up for geek-rific new college apparel!

(Image Credit: Walt Disney Corp)

(Image Credit: Walt Disney Corp)

There are two things my husband loves: his Clemson Tigers and Star Wars. The only way he could love those two more would be to combine them, but that would be crazy… right? Wrong, because Star Wars and the NCAA have made it happen. On Sept. 11, StarWars.com announced that they would be making an exclusive line of collegiate apparel so that while you’re cheering on your favorite team, you can also show off your inner geek. Continue reading

Her Universe debuts new gifts for fangirls just in time for the holidays!

(Image Credit: Her Universe)

(Image Credit: Her Universe)

For this fangirl, shopping can be a headache. All I want is a T-shirt declaring my love for all of my favorite nerdy series, but my mother yells I should ask for “real” clothing that doesn’t have comic book logos on the front. Continue reading

STAR WARS: EPISODE VII - THE FORCE AWAKENS (Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures)

5 Things we learned from the ‘Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens’ trailer!

STAR WARS: EPISODE VII - THE FORCE AWAKENS (Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures)

STAR WARS: EPISODE VII – THE FORCE AWAKENS (Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures)

In December 2015, Star Wars will be gracing the big screen for the first time in ten years – can you believe it has been that long? When we last left theaters after watching Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, things looked pretty bleak – the Empire was alive, most of the Jedi were dead (along with about 80 percent of the other characters), and twin newborns were still years away from being a new hope for the galaxy. But picking up after the much happier Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (the last of the original trilogy in 1983 – keep up!), Episode VII: The Force Awakens will hopefully be an excellent new addition to the saga. Continue reading

DIVERGENT (Image Credit: Summit Entertainment) / Miles Teller (Image Credit: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for BFI)

Diss Means War: When celebs speak out against their franchise roles

DIVERGENT (Image Credit: Summit Entertainment) / Miles Teller (Image Credit: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for BFI)

DIVERGENT (Image Credit: Summit Entertainment) / Miles Teller (Image Credit: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for BFI)

Miles Teller is the latest addition to the club of celebrities who publicly diss the franchises their associated with. In September he Teller told W Magazine that his Divergent role wasn’t “an interesting part” and that he took the role solely for “business reasons.” He also revealed to the magazine that he told his agent it “sucks.” He said working on the adaptation made him feel “dead inside.” Harsh considering the movie with an international automatic fan-base built in from the movies and his character will be included in the sequel, Insurgent. Continue reading

Ashley Eckstein (Image Credit: Nick Slotten / The Daily Quirk)

VIDEO: An Exclusive Interview with Her Universe Founder and Actress Ashley Eckstein

Ashley Eckstein (Image Credit: Nick Slotten / The Daily Quirk)

Ashley Eckstein (Image Credit: Nick Slotten / The Daily Quirk)

Ashley Eckstein is a busy (and pretty darn awesome) lady in the geek world. As the former voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the owner of the fangirl fashion company Her Universe, she has done quite a bit to contribute to the culture in which she grew up. Eckstein sat down with The Daily Quirk at Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo to talk about her beginnings in the Star Wars fandom, the inspiration behind Her Universe, and what’s next for her expanding fashion line. Watch the exclusive interview below and then check out the super cool teaser for her San Diego Comic Con Fashion Show! Continue reading

Sam Witwer as Aidan Waite in BEING HUMAN (Image Credit: Art Streiber/Syfy)

An Exclusive Interview with ‘Being Human’ Star Sam Witwer

Sam Witwer as Aidan Waite in BEING HUMAN (Image Credit: Art Streiber/Syfy)

Sam Witwer as Aidan Waite in BEING HUMAN (Image Credit: Art Streiber/Syfy)

Sam Witwer, who plays the popular (and fanged!) Aiden on Syfy’s Being Human, definitely marches to the beat of his own drum. He may appear dark and brooding on TV, but off camera Witwer is full of excitement and energy when it comes to discussing his work and music.

The Daily Quirk had the opportunity to catch up with Witwer about his celeb-filled band the Crash Tones, the final season of Being Human, his upcoming role on NBC’s Grimm and a surprising choice for his dream Star Wars role. Read on for the full interview! Continue reading

LEGO® Star Wars™ Darth Vader Minifigure Clock (Image Credit: LEGO)

Quirky Item of the Week: LEGO Star Wars Darth Vader Minifigure Clock

LEGO® Star Wars™ Darth Vader Minifigure Clock (Image Credit: LEGO)

LEGO® Star Wars™ Darth Vader Minifigure Clock (Image Credit: LEGO)

If you love Star Wars and LEGO products, chances are you going to love this Quirky Item of the Week. Standing at a respectable 9 inches tall, Darth Vader comes to life in LEGO form and, better yet, it also doubles as an alarm clock.

This wonderful piece of Star Wars LEGO memorabilia has a large display with LED numbers and a backlight. When the alarm goes off, it gives off the soothing and familiar beep, beep, beep. Admit it, you’re disappointed that it’s not the Imperial March. It’s okay, I was too. Continue reading

Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned From… ‘Star Wars’

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa, and Harrison Ford as Han Solo in STAR WARS (Image Credit: Lucasfilm)

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa, and Harrison Ford as Han Solo in STAR WARS (Image Credit: Lucasfilm)

The impact that the Star Wars franchise has had since the late 1970’s has been monumental. From setting the bar on plot twists to bringing out our inner geekdom, Star Wars has remained an absolute legacy. Not only is the movie franchise jam-packed with symbolism, but with vital information on life as well. So without further adieu, here are 5 of the most important life lessons I have learned from Star Wars. Continue reading