It's taken a while, but between the additions to The Force Awakens' cast and the excellent Sabine and Hera on Star Wars: Rebels, the Star Wars universe is starting to improve its roster of female characters - alas, the same can't be said for the toys, and judging by Hasbro's latest PR gaffe, that might not change soon.
Over the weekend at New York Toy Fair, Star Wars collector fansite Jedi Temple Archives interviewed a Hasbro representative at the show, and the topic of discussion turned to the lack of figures for Hera and Sabine in the Rebels toy line:
Q: Where are the action figures for the female characters from Rebels, like Hera, Sabine, or Maketh Tua? Male characters like Ezra and Kanan have been released multiple times already in many formats and scales, yet the best we've seen on shelves so far is a single Sabine with a non-removable helmet and a yet-to-be-released Hera, both of whom are packed with re-released Stormtroopers. Female characters have always played an integral role in the Star Wars saga, from Leia in the original trilogy to Padme in the prequels to Ahsoka and Asaaj in The Clone Wars and have always been among the first characters released in figure form, yet for this new chapter in the Saga, they've barely been a blip on the radar.
A: Hasbro feels they have released plenty of female characters in the line.
Well, that's a load of bantha poodoo right there.
It's great that Hasbro thinks there's an adequate amount of female characters with toys out there right now, but it's not really the case, even just for the women of Rebels - compared to multiple figures of Kanan, Ezra and Zeb in various scales, Sabine has a single figure (even then, she's wearing her Mandalorian helmet) that came out recently, and Hera will have a lone figure soon, when it eventually comes out. It doesn't get that much better for female characters across the wider Star Wars universe either - there are a few female figures of Expanded Universe characters like Mara Jade and Luminara Unduli available in the 'Legends' line, but nowhere near as many as there could be.
The movies may only have two female protagonists, but Padmé has hardly any recent figures to her name, and it gets even worse for Princess Leia - in the Star Wars: Black Series line of 6" figures, the only Leia available, the only female character in it at all so far, has been the scantily clad Slavegirl version from Return of the Jedi. That will eventually change with the arrival of Leia disguised as Boushh in the near future, which was only unveiled at New York Comic Con last year. Let's bear that in mind when the Black Series line is now almost two years old, and there's a single figure of a female hero, wearing basically nothing but her undergarments.
Following an outcry from fans about the statement, Hasbro decided to dig the grave a little further by going back to Jedi Temple Archives and asking them to edit the interview with a new answer. Here it is below:
Hasbro actually has some great new characters from Rebels hitting shelves now such as Sabine and Hera and have recently been releasing more females within our Black Series and Saga Legends line such as Mara Jade, Toryn Farr, Bastila Shan, Luminara Unduli, Padma [sic] Amidala (Geonosis), and a number of great Leia's such as Ep IV, Endor, and the awesome Boushh disguise that was revealed at NYCC. (Editor's Note: Hasbro has asked to have this answer revised.)
You can't even get Padmé's name right in your bullshit do-over answer, Hasbro? Boo. The fact that instead of owning the mistake of the dismissive original answer and publicly stating what you have done for female representation in the toys, you decided to go back to the original interview and have it edited with a better sounding response? Double boo. I'm even going to toss out a triple boo because the revised answer doesn't even solve Jedi Temple Archive's original concerns: it's not that there aren't female figures out there, it's that there's nowhere near enough, especially for prominent female protagonists like Padmé, Leia, Sabine and Hera. If we can get multiple Hans, Lukes, Kanans, Ezras, why should fans have to put up with single versions of the female characters?
Let's not forget that this isn't the first time toymakers have come under fire for under representing Star Wars' female heroes poorly - Disney came quickly under fire for excluding Princess Leia from Disney store merchandise, before angry fans forced them to backtrack.
Hopefully, with the arrival of Daisy Ridley, Lupita Nyong'o and Gwendoline Christie in the Galaxy far, far away later this year, (don't you dare deny me my Black Series Gwendoline Christie to put next to my Brienne of Tarth, Hasbro!), we'll be seeing a few more toys based on badass female Star Wars characters. We can but hope, but for now, this stuff shouldn't have to keep happening.
[via The Mary Sue]
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