When Annie Rose heard that Hasbro’s new Star Wars edition of Monopoly featured characters Luke Skywalker, Finn, Darth Vader and Kylo Ren — but not the film’s heroine, Rey — the 8-year-old was incensed.
She wrote a complaint letter to the company, and her mom, Carrie Goldman, author of Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear, posted the letter on social media on Sunday. It went viral with the hashtag #WheresRey (started by blogger Jenna Busch on Legion of Leia), garnering more than 2,000 retweets and starting over 26,000 conversations on Facebook. Within 24 hours, Hasbro had decided to produce a Monopoly edition with Rey included.
“Annie Rose is a letter writer,” Goldman of Chicago tells Yahoo Parenting, adding that she had no influence on the letter except to advise her daughter not to use yellow marker since it’s hard to see. “She has a real passion for the issue of equality, so that last line is classic Annie Rose.”
Photo: @CarrieMGoldman via Twitter
This isn’t the first Star Wars merchandise to inexplicably exclude Rey — she was left out of a Target set of character figurines, and fans have been complaining about the lack of Rey toys since the movie’s release.
Hasbro’s initial response to Annie Rose’s letter, via Twitter on Monday, stated that “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.” The note goes on to list other games that Rey is featured in, and adds that “fans will see more Rey product hitting store shelves this month.”
Photo: Hasbro Images
The spoiler explanation doesn’t quite work, though, since Rey has been a highly visible character since well before the movie’s release. One Twitter user replied, “Umm… I purchased a Rey costume for my 6yo at the Disney store - in Sept!”
Goldman thinks the choice to exclude Rey was not only disappointing, but also a bad business decision. “A lot of the merchandisers and retailers buy the line that boys don’t want to play with toys that feature girls,” she says. “Since boys make up a huge component of the buyers of these toys, they say, ‘It’s about market demand.’ But if you ask boys, they want Rey too — she’s the heroine.”
Within 24 hours of seeing Annie Rose’s letter, Hasbro issued a second response, saying that the company is “happy to share that we will be including [Rey] in the Monopoly: Star Wars game, available later this year.” When contacted for further comment, Julie Duffy, vice president of global communications at Hasbro, told Yahoo Parenting, “We love the passion fans have for Rey, and are happy to announce that we will be making a running change to include her,” meaning there’s a shift in production to add Rey to future sets of the game.
Goldman is pleased, but hopes that Hasbro creates à la carte Rey figures for people who’ve already bought the game without her. On her blog post about the subject, Goldman writes, “We ask these questions about why Rey is missing from Star Wars Monopoly, because we recognize that Star Wars has created a kickass heroine who embodies everything that we admire and aspire to be, and we want to celebrate her with our children as we play and imagine and create new stories.”
As for Annie Rose? “She was very excited about the change,” says Goldman. “This morning she said to me, ‘Mommy, this shows that one little kid who nobody knows can make a difference.’”
(Top photo: Walt Disney Pictures)