Where’s Rey? Despite Monopoly maker’s promise, still missing

In this January 2016 photo provided by Carrie Goldman, her daughter, Annie Rose, holds a letter in Evanston, Ill., that she wrote to Hasbro asking why the female character Rey was omitted from a Monopoly set based on "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," when she is a main character and crucial to the story. Hasbro responded that they would add Rey to a Star Wars version of Monopoly by the end of the year. Eighteen months later, Annie Rose and others are still waiting. (Carrie Goldman via AP)

PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) — Where is the character Rey in the “Star Wars” version of Monopoly? In a land far, far away, apparently.

Eighteen months after game-maker Hasbro promised to add the female character to the game by the fall of 2016, the Illinois girl who wrote to them to say “girls matter” is still waiting.

Others are, too.

After inquiries from The Associated Press this week, Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based Hasbro said it made the piece but didn’t release the new version in the United States “due to insufficient interest.” People who bought the all-male game can request a Rey from customer service, spokeswoman Julie Duffy said Wednesday.

“In early 2016, Hasbro updated the 2015 Star Wars: Monopoly game to add a Rey token. This product was sold to retailers in several markets around the world, but is not available for sale in the U.S. due to insufficient interest,” Duffy wrote in an email.

She said the game was made available in five markets, including in the United Kingdom and France, although the AP found one family who recently bought the game in the United Kingdom and no Rey was included. Duffy said they have fulfilled 99 requests for the Rey token in the U.S. and 10 in Canada.

Hasbro’s comments this week differ from what the company said it would do in January 2016, amid an online outcry that carried the hashtag #WheresRey.

“We love the passion fans have for Rey, and are happy to announce that we will be making a running change to include her in the Monopoly: Star Wars game available later this year,” Duffy told the AP in an emailed statement at the time. She added that fans who had already purchased the game “can obtain the Rey token by contacting Hasbro Consumer Care when the updated game becomes available later this year.”

Carrie Goldman, of Evanston, Illinois, whose daughter, Annie Rose, wrote the letter that sparked the outcry, said on Wednesday that while she is happy her daughter will be able to get a Rey figure, it’s not exactly how they understood Hasbro’s promise.

“I don’t know if I would call this a running change,” Goldman said. “I would still like to see it where any girl or boy or person who goes to buy the game, Rey is in there. I think that is what we had all understood how it was going to work.”

Goldman posted Annie Rose’s letter on Twitter in January 2016. In it, the then-8-year-old girl asks why Hasbro left out Rey from the set based on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” when she is a main character and crucial to the story. All four game pieces were modeled on male characters: Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Finn and Kylo Ren.

“Without her THERE IS NO FORCE AWAKENS! It awakens in her! And without her, the bad guys would have won! Besides, boys and girls need to see that women can be as strong as men!” wrote Annie Rose, who is now 10. “Girls matter!”

One British dad who bought the set in April said he got the version with all male characters, which surprised and disappointed him.

“Rey is the star of the film. You’d expect to have a female character at least,” Ian Henry, of Maidenhead, United Kingdom, told the AP.

He purchased the game for his 4-year-old son from Amazon in April and sent Twitter message to Hasbro complaining about the omission.

“Star Wars Monopoly just arrived. But what can I tell my kids about their missing hero Ray? #WheresRey #WhyVader?” he tweeted.

Hasbro never responded.

When his 6-year-old daughter plays “Star Wars” on XBox, she usually chooses a female character such as Rey or Princess Leia, Henry said. She doesn’t have that choice with Monopoly: Star Wars.

“She’s like, ‘Oh, OK, I have to choose from those ones,'” he said. “‘Star Wars’ may be more of a male kind of film. Monopoly is not a boy’s game. It’s anyone’s game.”

Hasbro says it introduced a new version of Star Wars: Monopoly in 2016 that features Star Wars vehicles as tokens, and this year is offering a 40th anniversary edition that focuses on the original “Star Wars” with tokens featuring droids, helmets and ships.

___

This story has been corrected to show that the company did say in which markets the updated game was made available.

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