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.”

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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

Intellectual property law may prevent Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report from appearing on The Late Show, but it cannot stop his identical twin cousin.

Last week, Stephen Colbert brought a familiar face to visit The Late Show. Tucked away in the woods living happily ever after with Jon Stewart was Colbert’s character, host of The Colbert Report, champion of America, Her Excellency The Rev. Sir Doctor Stephen Tyrone Mos Def Colbert, D.F.A., Heavyweight Champion of the World** featuring Flo Rida La Premiere Dame De France. Or Stephen Colbert for short.

Colbert resisted bringing the character to The Late Show, choosing to introduce the world to the real Stephen Colbert. But the Republican National Convention selecting Donald Trump as their candidate for President demanded that Colbert dust off his Captain America shield and return to glory for one night only. And one night only is all we are going to see of that man.

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Colbert announced on The Late Show that immediately after the live show on July 18, 2016, Viacom’s lawyers called up CBS and said that “the character Stephen Colbert is their intellectual property.” And so, Stephen Colbert revealed that Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report would never be seen again.

Luckily, Stephen Colbert had an identical twin cousin! How might that work, you ask? Well Colbert’s mother was an identical twin and she and her sister married identical twins and gave birth at the same time and both named their sons Stephen Colbert. Rest assured attorneys, the two men are very different people. The banned Colbert went to Dartmouth, the cousin Colbert only applied there. The banned Colbert wears smart fitting suits, the cousin Colbert prefers a breezy American flag button down. Night and day those two.

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Real Stephen Colbert (are you confused yet?) asked cousin Colbert if he’d be willing to make himself available for future appearances on The Late Show, a task cousin Colbert was more than willing to take on. Loopholes!

Another intellectual property to fall to the wayside was “The Word,” a segment Colbert revived from The Colbert Report to introduce the word, “Trumpiness.” There’s a way around this one too. Introducing, “The Werd.”

Watch all of the Stephen Colberts in action and get the lowdown on “The Lesser of Two Evils” in the full segment from July 27.

The Late Show continues its live coverage of the Democratic National Convention tonight at whatever time Hillary Clinton is done speaking on CBS.

When in doubt, look to Harry Potter. At least, that’s what Marvel and Sony are planning for the latest Spider-Man reboot.

When Tom Holland showed up in Captain America: Civil War as Spider-Man, fans were obviously hesitant to throw too much weight behind his version of Peter Parker. The webslinger had been seen at the forefront of a blockbuster movie twice in the past couple decades, and even the biggest Spidey fans were wary of yet another incarnation.

But Holland swung himself right into our hearts with his charm and enthusiasm, both on screen and off. The cast took him under their wings and fans were soon to follow. So, when it was announced that he’d be starring in another solo Spider-Man film, titled Homecoming, the response was optimistic.

There are a lot of things Marvel and Sony are doing differently for Homecoming, not least of which is actually working together. Peter is also much younger than we’ve seen him in the past, and his story will focus as much on his time in school as his time fighting bad guys.

spider-man homecoming logo

In fact, the school year may even help structure Homecoming and subsequent Spider-Man solo films. Speaking to Collider, Kevin Feige even said they may take a leaf out of Harry Potter’s book:

“Should we be able to make more after [Homecoming]? Sure. This is sophomore year, is the next one junior year? Is the next one senior year? Is there a summer break between each of those? I don’t know what, but it was sort of how do we do a journey for Peter not dissimilar for what the students of Hogwarts would go through each of their years, which was one of the early ideas we had for the movies.”

This structure allows for a consistent progression of time for both the characters and the world. We’ll say goodbye to Peter at the end of the school year, but welcome him back again at the beginning of the next. It allows for changes to take place over the summer, for new threats to materialize, and for the story to stretch its legs and develop over the course of nine months, rather than a few short days.

But first we have to see if Spider-Man: Homecoming will be the hit both Marvel and Sony are hoping it’ll be.

How are you feeling about the current developments regarding ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’?

Netflix has passed on picking up Agent Carter for a third season, and now they’re explaining why.

The cancellation of Agent Carter sent shock waves through the Marvel fandom. We get so few female-led properties in the superhero world, and Peggy was unapologetically kickass on every level. When ABC didn’t renew the show for another season, fans immediately started pitching to Netflix, hoping they would give the S.H.I.E.L.D. founder a new life.

Alas, it wasn’t to be so. In an interview with EW, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos explains why they decided to pass on the opportunity.

The first reason was because they’re looking for “truly original brands to own.” Netflix, as you probably know, already has a pretty clear corner on that market with Daredevil and Jessica Jones, both of which have been wildly popular, as well as their upcoming series Luke Cage and Iron Fist, all four of which will eventually merge into an Avengers-esque crossover series called Defenders. Plus, the Punisher is getting his own series, too.

ABC had already owned and put out two seasons of Agent Carter, which means, creatively, Netflix couldn’t take over the show and make it their own. They would have to honor what came before and make sure it had the same look and feel. Considering how wildly popular their original series have been (for reference, check out the current buzz about Stranger Things), it’s understandable that they’d rather focus on something they can build from the ground up.

The second reason why Netflix passed on Agent Carter is a bit more technical in that the streaming service likes to release its original content globally, something that would be difficult, if not impossible, due to Agent Carter’s current international restrictions. As Sarandos says, passing up on Agent Carter was “a business decision more than a creative one.”

But neither of those reasons make the situation any better for fans of the character and her solo show. While Netflix would’ve been an ideal place to watch Peggy’s next great adventure, we’ll have to hope the showrunners and Hayley Atwell can swing something else instead.

Are you disappointed Netflix isn’t picking up ‘Agent Carter’?