Can you really issue a licensed boardgame featuring a hyper-popular pop culture franchise, and not include said franchise’s most recent main character?
Turns out if the character’s a woman, you can, even if you’re talking about Star Wars Monopoly.
Last year, 8-year-old Chicagoan Annie Rose Goldman wrote to multinational boardgame conglomerate Hasbro to protest the lack of Daisy Ridley’s Rey character in the most recent Star Wars-branded edition of everyone’s favourite real estate-based boredom generator, Monopoly. The omission was particularly strange, as pretty much every single other Force Awakens character, even second-stringers like Kylo Ren. A picture of the letter went viral on Twitter, generating the #WheresRey hashtag and thousands of social media demands to add a Rey character token to the game:
— Carrie Goldman (@CarrieMGoldman) January 4, 2016
Whether or not that letter started off with some parental prompting (no 8-year-old ever has played Monopoly willingly), it convinced Hasbro to realize that crushing 8-year-olds’ dreams isn’t the best PR policy, and they subsequently promised to include Rey in the game as of 18 months ago:
— Hasbro (@HasbroNews) January 6, 2016
Well, that was the plan, anyway. According to Hasbro spokesperson Julie Duffy, the Rey version was offered to U.S. retailers but they “had ample inventory so they did not choose to sell the new version,” and that the character token would not be made available in North America, despite being available in other markets.
The point here is that Rey’s omission from the game is profoundly strange, even with that “insufficient interest”: who’s sufficiently interested in playing a thimble, or a top hat? Yeah, the reasoning behind leaving Rey on the factory floor is probably tied up in manufacturing costs and the fact that the Rey-less version is already in stores, but it’s still weird: this isn’t like, a Watto-level character that wasn’t included. Then again, we are talking about Monopoly, the most boring boardgame on Earth, so maybe the less Rey fans playing , the sooner Monopoly can go the way of HeroQuest.