If you’re frustrated at the exclusion of Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise featuring Rey – you’re not alone.
Entertainment Weekly reports that Writer/Director J.J. Abrams shares your pain – and your bemusement as to why this central character of the story he created should be excluded at all.
“I wish I had more details about merchandising and the schedule… I’m learning things as you are. I will say that it seems preposterous and wrong that the main character of the movie is not well represented in what is clearly a huge piece of the Star Wars world in terms of merchandising.”
“I read that she wasn’t in the Monopoly game and was quickly making phone calls about this because if it were true — and it is true, and now Hasbro, of course, has said they’re going to put Rey in — it doesn’t quite make sense why she wouldn’t be there.”
He cheekily added “She’s somewhat important in the story.”
Creating a new gender balance in the force was clearly important to Abrams, who told me last year that “the idea was always to have this female character at the heart of the story.” He added that “…we have wonderful cast of good guys, bad guys, pilots, stormtroopers – that happen to be female.”
Daisy Ridley also said to me that ““J.J. is an incredible writer, especially of females in a kind of male dominated world.”
Now Rey faces her latest battle – in the male dominated world of Star Wars merchandising.
Scooby-Doo! is one of those iconic cartoons that I enjoyed as a child and have now shared with my daughter. We especially like the ones where Batman & Robin guest star!
However, the show is probably more fondly remembered than rewatched much – the quality of seventies TV animation was far below that of modern cartoons.
With that in mind, there is now a brand new version – the Be Cool Scooby-Doo! TV show.
While it has many familiar elements, most notably the recognisable character designs, the animation appears to be more flowing/less stiff than the seventies original.
As with most children’s media these days, it’s not just the cartoon – kids can now watch additional videos, play games and download/print activities from ScoobyDoo.com. The Warner Bros Youtube Channel is another place to catch up on the gang’s adventures.
To celebrate the new cartoon, Scooby-Doo! is giving away a £100 gift card for Amazon.
Watch the video above, and then enter for your chance to win this great prize.
The Jessica Jones TV show is another piece in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), a Netflix Original that follows on from their previous Marvel foray Daredevil.
While Agent Carter is the first Marvel property to have a female lead, the Jessica Jones TV show has the distinction of being the first one with a superpowered female lead. She’s an actual female superhero. Well, sort of…
Unlike most of the Marvel Film & TV productions, this is a character that most non-comic book fans will never have heard of. It’s based on the early noughtie’s Marvel Comics series Alias (also the name of a fondly remembered JJ Abrams show) from creator Brian Michael Bendis, that centred on Jessica Jones, a former superhero and turned private investigator.
The series was part of the Marvel’s MAX comics, a line that specialised in mature content. It allowed creators to explore themes and subjects that were difficult to cover in mainstream comics, such as the mental and sexual abuse suffered by Jessica Jones in her past.
The Jessica Jones TV show reflects the same approach, and like Netflix’s Daredevil TV show before it, is decidedly not for kids.
The show follows Jessica in her work as a PI, slowly revealing her superpower of super strength, but also why she is such a cynical – even nihilistic – person. It wasn’t always this way. While not quite the former superhero (Jewel) of the Alias comic, she had decided to use her powers for good – until a run in with Killgrave, played with chilling intensity by former Doctor Who David Tennant.
Based on the comic book character Purple Man (see above – his look wisely adapted to a fondness for purple clothing), Killgrave is a sadistic and manipulative supervillain, whose power is to verbally control anyone who he speaks to.
Killgrave took control of Jessica, making her do things for him that she now abhors. Jessica is suffering from PTSD following this harrowing experience, and she is constantly trying to numb her overwhelming sense of guilt.
The overriding arc of the series is Jessica confronting this (unwillingly at first) both figuratively and literally as she organises against Killgrave.
A show like this lives and dies on the strength of the leading actor. Playing Jessica is Krysten Ritter, who you may recall playing a small role of a rather unfortunate character in Breaking Bad. She’s great as Jessica, a really engaging presence who pulls you through this character’s journey.
British actors have done well in Marvel films and TV shows (eg. Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter, even Paul Bettany as Jarvis/Vision), and David Tennent is no exception. His Killgrave is possibly the most terrifying MCU villain of all, as he is less about pantomime theatrics than chilling and believable sadism.
Also in the mix is the popular Marvel character Luke Cage (soon to have his own Netflix show), a black superhero who has also been a supporting character in Jessica’s comic book appearances. If you’ve ever wondered how two superstrong superheroes have sex, your curiosity will be answered – the makers clearly revelling in the opportunity to film a superpowered sex-scene.
Over the 12 episodes of the Jessica Jones TV show, the ensemble cast of characters (there are many more than I have mentioned) are really allowed to shine, and the story weaves a complex web of intrigue.
I was hooked on this show from the beginning. Jessica Jones is not just a great Marvel TV show – it’s simply a great TV show.
TL:DR – this Chewbacca Mask with moving mouth is awesome!
There have been scores of Star Wars masks over the years. Those based on characters with helmets tend to be the best realised – such as Darth Vader or Stormtroopers. The detail is usually pretty accurate, and there are additional features such as voice changers in Vader or Kylo Ren that can elevate them above the usual run-of-the-mill dress up masks.
But this Chewbacca mask is probably the best Star Wars children’s one I’ve seen so far. It’s made of a hard durable plastic, has a good cartoony likeness of the lovable Wookiee, and is a comfortable fit (for a child) with secure straps.
But what really makes this so great is that is has a hinged lower jaw, so the mask’s mouth opens when the wearer’s does – and doing this triggers Chewbacca’s distinctive howls and roars.
There are a number of distinctive Chewie sounds that those familiar with the films will recognise, with different ones being triggered by how much the jaw is opened.
My daughter is really enamoured with it, and the overall effect is pretty theatrical.
Check out the Chewbacca mask with moving mouth in action:
Adorable eh? And as you can see, it’s perfectly paired with a Dorothy dress 🙂
This is a great addition to my daughter’s dress up box, and she really enjoys terrorising friends and family with it.
As with many of the toys available in this new wave of Star Wars merchandise, I would have loved this as a kid too.
The Star Wars The Force Awakens Chewbacca Electronic Mask has an RRP of £29.99.
Open mouth slightly to hear Wookiee howl
Open it wider, and Chewbacca’s roar gets louder
Disclosure: We were gifted this item free of charge for the purposes of this review.