According to an industry insider, the dearth of Rey merchandise for The Force Awakens was no accident — it was an intentional decision.

The inside source shared their story with Michael Boehm at Sweatpants and Coffee, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The portrait painted of Lucasfilm’s decision-making process is disheartening to say the least, and runs distinctly counter to the narrative that Rey toys were postponed to preserve the secrecy of The Force Awakens.

The source alleges that, during toy pitches held last January for executives, “initial versions of many of the products presented to Lucasfilm featured Rey prominently.” But under the direction of the executives, Rey’s presence was deliberately minimized in the planned merchandise.

“One or more individuals raised concerns about the presence of female characters in the Star Wars products,” Boehm reports. “Eventually, the product vendors were specifically directed to exclude the Rey character from all Star Wars-related merchandise.”

Allegedly, the industry insider was told, “No boy wants to be given a product with a female character on it.”

rey star wars toys

While the word of an anonymous source might be easy to dismiss, the allegations certainly seem to dovetail with what consumers have experienced in stores — and not just for Rey. The mysterious absence of female characters in merchandise and toys is now almost a free-standing trope. Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Gamora, Star Wars Rebels‘ Hera, and The Avengers‘ Black Widow are among the high-profile victims, inexplicably forgotten in everything from play sets to tee-shirts.

“Diminishing of girl characters is common in the industry,” the anonymous source relates. “Power Rangers asked us to do it. Paw Patrol, too.” Allegedly, this philosophy has developed into a solid mandate in the toy industry to “maintain the sharp boy/girl product division” and “marginalize girl characters in items not specifically marketed as girl-oriented.”

But the extreme cultural impact of Star Wars, coupled with Rey’s inarguable prominence in The Force Awakens, has thrust the question of “Where’s Rey?” (and its corresponding hashtag) into the spotlight. Most notably, Hasbro was recently compelled to reassure fans that the movie’s main character would be included in an upcoming Monopoly set.

Corroborating the Lucasfilm insider’s assertions is John Marcotte, founder of the non-profit Heroic Girls.

“I’ve spoken with Disney people, and they were completely blindsided by the reaction to the new Star Wars characters,” he tells Boehm. “They put a huge investment into marketing and merchandizing the Kylo Ren character. They presumed he would be the big breakout role from the film. They were completely surprised when it was Rey everyone identified with and wanted to see more of.”

“Now they’re stuck with vast amounts of Kylo Ren product that is not moving, and a tidal wave of complaints about a lack of Rey items.”

It even seems possible that Lucasfilm’s underestimation of Rey’s popularity extended into their plans for Episode VIII. According to several sources, the recently-announced delay on the film is partly do to script revisions — which will bring the characters of Rey, Finn, and Poe into greater prominence than initially planned.

It’s not unusual for companies to misjudge the popularity of their properties; anyone buying toys in 1997 will remember a Phantom Menace market flooded with Darth Maul and Jar Jar merchandise. But properties focused on, or even including girls, seems disproportionately afflicted. It’s hard to believe now, but even Disney’s blockbuster princess hit Frozen was unprepared, forcing parents to take desperate measures to satisfy children who wanted to bring Anna, Elsa, and Olaf into their lives.

For far too long, fans searching for merchandise of their favorite female characters have been told that the onus is on their wallets. “Buy the toys that are out there,” the message has echoed, even as fans scour the unyielding shelves for a green-skinned assassin, a black-clad Avenger — and now a fearless young woman who hums with the power of the Force.

It is time to reverse the conversation. Toy and merchandise companies must stop taking a character’s gender into consideration when including them in products. Put Gamora with the rest of the Guardians. Leave Black Widow on her motorcycle. And when Star Wars: Episode VIII finally arrives, don’t make us ask “Where’s Rey?”

We should find her in the center of the action. On toy pegs, on tee-shirts, on bed sheets, and pencil-cases. Rey should be everywhere.

Right where she belongs.

More Star Wars on Hypable:

Is Star Wars setting up Poe Dameron as its first queer protagonist?

Star Wars deja-vu: All the parallels between Episodes IV and VII

Princess Leia: Leader, warrior, feminist BAMF

Behind-the-scenes looks at next year’s live-action Beauty and the Beast continue to leak off the animated film’s 25th Anniversary Edition, arriving in September.

Today we have four new previews. This one’s a particular doozy because we get to see a first look (sort of) at Emma Watson as Belle, who has yet to be unveiled in full. The dress she’s wearing in this concept art may be best remembered from the animated movie for its appearance in the scenes surrounding the song “Belle”:

beauty-and-the-beast-belle-emma-watson

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Behind-the-scenes looks at next year’s live-action Beauty and the Beast continue to leak off the animated film’s 25th Anniversary Edition, arriving in September.

Today we have four new previews. This one’s a particular doozy because we get to see a first look (sort of) at Emma Watson as Belle, who has yet to be unveiled in full. The dress she’s wearing in this concept art may be best remembered from the animated movie for its appearance in the scenes surrounding the song “Belle”:

beauty-and-the-beast-belle-emma-watson

Three pieces of concept art appear to have been drawn up for the costume department. We’re also getting a look at Gaston (Luke Evans) and Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson):

beauty-and-the-beast-mrs-potts

beauty-and-the-beast-gaston

Finally, we have a shot of Luke Evans and a woman rehearsing a dance scene that appears to take place on top of a table. In the background you can see additional concept art depicting Mrs. Potts (in kettle form), Chip, and a piano (who might be played by Stanley Tucci and named Cadenza):

beauty-and-the-beast-belle

Last week we got to see several other first looks from this same behind-the-scenes featurette, including Dan Stevens as the Beast (human form), Cogsworth, and Lumière.

At this rate, the whole behind-the-scenes look may be spoiled by the time the Beauty and the Beast 25th Anniversary Edition is released to the world on September 20.

The live-action Beauty and the Beast arrives this March and is directed by Bill Condon.

90 minutes into an embarrassing year for the MTV VMAs, a bright light appeared: Beyoncé.

Beyoncé’s 2016 MTV VMA performance may go down as one of the best in the award show’s history. The Lemonade singer flawlessly moved through “Pray You Catch Me,” “Hold Up,” “Sorry,” “Don’t Hurt Yourself” (featuring a Cruella de Vil-like wardrobe), and “Formation,” each with their own themes and stunning visuals. (That fire! That broken camera! The feminism!)

Watch Beyoncé’s full 2016 MTV VMA performance below:

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90 minutes into an embarrassing year for the MTV VMAs, a bright light appeared: Beyoncé.

Beyoncé’s 2016 MTV VMA performance may go down as one of the best in the award show’s history. The Lemonade singer flawlessly moved through “Pray You Catch Me,” “Hold Up,” “Sorry,” “Don’t Hurt Yourself” (featuring a Cruella de Vil-like wardrobe), and “Formation,” each with their own themes and stunning visuals. (That fire! That broken camera! The feminism!)

Watch Beyoncé’s full 2016 MTV VMA performance below:

The performance was a bit of a surprise. Though MTV hinted that she’d be showing up, no one expected a 15-minute performance.

The 2016 MTV VMAs were disappointing to say the least. The first two award winners — the only two awards presented in the first 2 hours of the show — weren’t present to receive them (Drake was apparently stuck in traffic, according to P Diddy).

And peppered throughout the performances were Key and Peele, who were playing commentators who just mocked millennials and their lingo. Bizarre, when you realize that they’re just making fun of the show’s core audience for hours.

Then Britney Spears had to follow Beyoncé with a performance of “Make Me” with G-Eazy. Poor Britney! No one should have to follow a Beyoncé performance like the one above.

It’s funny how Beyoncé feels compelled to perform at the garbage that are the MTV VMAs. They don’t deserve her. There are only two legitimate reasons why she could be interested in doing this: To inspire, and to promote the Formation World Tour.

Marvel reveals what Thor was really up to during ‘Civil War’ in amazing new video

"And who's this purple weirdo?"

3:38 pm EDT, August 28, 2016

Have you found yourself curious about just where Thor ended up whilst his team mates were duking it out during Captain America: Civil War? Well, wonder no longer, as Marvel has finally revealed the truth.

We’ve all mulled the question over in our heads, since the line-up for Civil War was revealed. Where were Thor and Bruce Banner hiding out whilst the Sokovia Accords were tearing their team apart?

The answer was revealed in a mockumentary clip, directed by Thor: Ragnarok helmer Taika Waititi, which debuted during San Diego Comic-Con this past summer — where it received an enthusiastic response. But, for those fans left at home, and without a coveted seat in Hall H, the answer still remained painfully out of reach.

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Have you found yourself curious about just where Thor ended up whilst his team mates were duking it out during Captain America: Civil War? Well, wonder no longer, as Marvel has finally revealed the truth.

We’ve all mulled the question over in our heads, since the line-up for Civil War was revealed. Where were Thor and Bruce Banner hiding out whilst the Sokovia Accords were tearing their team apart?

The answer was revealed in a mockumentary clip, directed by Thor: Ragnarok helmer Taika Waititi, which debuted during San Diego Comic-Con this past summer — where it received an enthusiastic response. But, for those fans left at home, and without a coveted seat in Hall H, the answer still remained painfully out of reach.

Until now.

Released in anticipation of the Civil War DVD and Blu-ray release, this short is now available to the masses, and we couldn’t happier — not least because it’s just as hilarious as promised.

Team Thor

See what Thor was up to during Captain America Civil War! Get this and other bonus on Digital HD 9/2. http://bit.ly/293rlyS

Posted by Marvel Studios on Sunday, 28 August 2016

 

That’s right. As Tony and Steve were duking it out, Thor was Down Under, chilling with his new buddy Darryl and engaging in a little community service.

It’s definitely worth checking out for yourself, and we won’t spoil any of the more hilarious touches — especially some of Thor’s… artistic interpretations of certain Avengers team members. We’re definitely not going to be able to look at Nick Fury in the same way, ever again.

(Also, if you’ve been having difficulty tracking the Infinity Stones, Thor has the perfect solution for you!)

Rest assured that, if this mockumentary is anything to go by, Thor: Ragnarok is in very capable hands. We’re certainly looking forward to a Rainbow road bridge-tripping adventure across the universe with Thor and Hulk.

Especially if it allows Chris Hemsworth to show off more of his comedy chops, as seen in the above clip.

Captain America: Civil War is released in Digital HD on September 2, and on Blu-ray and DVD on September 13. Thor: Ragnarok will be heading to theaters on November 3, 2017.

Which ‘team’ are you on now? Team Cap, Team Iron Man, or… Team Thor?