J.J. Abrams calls lack of Rey Star Wars merchandising “preposterous”

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.

 

Review: Battle Action Millennium Falcon from Star Wars The Force Awakens

The Battle Action Millennium Falcon toy is full of great features and should please any young Star Wars fan – with one important addition.

(MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD)

While it’s great to see favourite characters returning in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, for me the most glorious returnee is the Millennium Falcon.

Millenium Falcon, Star Wars The Force Awakens, Star Wars Episode 7, Rey, Han Solo

Probably the most beloved ship of the entire saga, Han Solo’s Corellian freighter has blasted it’s way through childhood intergalactic adventures for decades.

I had an original Millennium Falcon in 1979 or thereabouts, or possibly around the time of The Empire Strikes Back. Ever the hoarder, I never got rid of it (other than a temporary loan to my now 18-year-old nephew). Dusted off, my daughter has been playing with it for the last couple of years.

But not any more. The first thing she said when she unwrapped this new one was “This is MY Millennium Falcon, not daddy’s.” We  can’t help but compare it with the Millennium Falcon 80s toy – and we agree the newbie wins.

Both toys are designed for use with the standard 3.75” Star Wars figures (this set includes 3 characters – more on that later), and they share many features including a cockpit for two figures, removable rear roof to reveal playset inside, and revolving radar dish – though this Falcon has the new rectangular one since the round dish was lost in Return of the Jedi.

But this is not just a Millennium Falcon. This is the Battle Action Millennium Falcon!

The Battle Action Millennium Falcon Nerf Cannon and Gun Turret
At the push of a button, the Millennium Falcon is ready for Battle Action. Pew pew!

It makes sounds. Lots of wonderful authentic sounds. When you lift off or land it makes the appropriate whirring. When you tilt it to fly, it makes a whooshing sound.

It has a pop up gun turret (with room for a figure) with more sounds and led lights blaster action. Most distinctive of all a pop-up Nerf gun turret (by same toymaker Hasbro) that fires Elite darts. While the Nerf cannon is not strictly Star Wars canon – it is tremendous fun to play with.

Battle Action Millennium Falcon Hyperdrive
Finn: “Punch it!”

There’s also a lever to engage the hyperdrive – with the interplanetary vroom, or the forlorn clank it made in Empire when the hyperdrive motivator was damaged.

The removable roof is also part of the playset, upturned and connecting to the back of the Falcon. All these new interactive elements make this a very cool Star Wars toy.

My daughter plays with it daily, enjoying hours of fun with it – from flying the ship, staging parties, acting out bathroom breaks for her figures (a popular play theme for preschoolers), as well as various Star Wars adventures. Not having seen The Force Awakens yet, she is convinced it begins with Luke shooting General Leia by mistake, and her being treated onboard the Falcon.

The moving parts also offer another element of play. My daughter is currently enjoying figure flinging!

The Battle Action Millennium Falcon in Action:

My daughter has discovered a great activity with her Battle Action Millennium Falcon 🙂

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But where’s Rey?

For me there is a Supreme Leader Snoke sized omission in this Battle Action Millennium Falcon – Rey.

Chewbacca action figures, BB-8 action figures, Finn action figures, Star Wars toys,
The Battle Action Millennium Falcon comes with a trio of figures from Star Wars The Force Awakens – Chewbacca, Finn, and BB-8.

Star Wars sets never came with figures when I was a kid, so it’s great that it includes Chewbacca, Finn, and especially BB-8. But missing are the characters who actually pilot the ship in the movie – namely Han Solo and Rey.

Rey’s flying of the ship is one of her, the Falcon’s, and the film’s biggest scenes, so her exclusion from this set seems especially unfortunate.

This may simply be a classic way to get consumers to buy the figures separately. As I mentioned, there’s no Han either. I’ve also read talk of spoilers, though I can’t see how including her would spoil anything, just like Finn and BB-8. Her inclusion would’ve gone a long way to counter the #WheresRey blowback.

At least this was easily fixed for us. I had already raced out and bought my daughter a Rey figure immediately after watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so now Rey takes her place in the Falcon’s cockpit as she should.

Rey pilots millennium falcon, Hasbro, wheresrey
Hasbro’s Battle Action Millennium Falcon doesn’t come with a pilot. FTFY.

If this Battle Action Millennium Falcon had included Rey, this set would’ve been a complete slam dunk. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great toy for any young Star Wars fan (and us old ones as well). Just be prepared to get a Rey figure too, so your little one can recreate the new Millennium Falcon’s biggest scene, the escape from Jakku, authentically – with Finn on the guns and Rey at the helm.

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The Star Wars: The Force Awakens Battle Action Millennium Falcon Toy has an RRP of £119.99, and is available from Amazon and other retailers.

Star Wars © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

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Disclosure: I received this item free of charge for the purposes of this review.

Family Fever

REVIEW: LEGO Star Wars – Rey’s Speeder

Appearing early on in the very first trailer for The Force Awakens, Rey’s Speeder was one of the first new vehicles to be revealed.

Rey's Speeder, Star Wars, The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley

Its blocky, lo-fi, junkyard style design quickly became a fan favourite.

This LEGO version is a lovely little set to construct.

LEGO Star Wars 75099 Rey's Speeder

This was one of my favourite looking ones from The Force Awakens line (admittedly, the iconic , far larger, and more expensive Millennium Falcon – also featuring Rey – just edged it). The suggested age is 7-12, but my 3-year-old daughter put it together with minimal supervision.

Rey is clearly a central character to the new saga, so it is great to have a minifigure of her. My daughter also loves the fact that she is another female Star Wars character to play with.

Rey LEGO Star Wars minifigure

The minifigure has the usual two faces, though the expressions are a fairly subtle ‘wry smile’ and ‘displeased frown’. The freckles are a nice detail. She also has a mask with goggles, as seen in the introduction to the character in the film.

Rey wearing mask and goggles, Star Wars, The Force Awakens

The set also comes with a second mini figure, the hooded and mysteriously named Unkar’s Thug.

Rey’s Speeder is already one of the more iconic new vehicles of the new saga and is a great addition to our LEGO Star Wars collection, that that my daughter frequently plays with already.

The fact that it features the character that is basically the lead role in the new saga makes this an essential set for any young LEGO Star Wars fan to own. All she needs is the addition of one particular accessory (not included).

😉
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Star Wars © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

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Family Fever

LEGO Star Wars – Rey’s Speeder and General Grievous Playtest plus Giveaway

With less than a month to go until the release of The Force Awakens, Star Wars continues to dominate our leisure time. As well as enjoying watching Episodes IV – VI in anticipation, checking out trailers, speculating what may happen in the new movie (my daughter already predicts that Kylo Ren will get both hands chopped off), we’re also working our way trough the six season Clone Wars animated series. So it was great to receive two terrific LEGO sets that encompassed these strands of the saga.

Rey’s Speeder

Appearing early on in the very first trailer for The Force Awakens, this was one of the first new vehicles to be revealed.

Rey's Speeder, Star Wars, The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley

Its blocky, lo-fi, junkyard style design quickly became a fan favourite.

This LEGO version is a lovely little set to construct.

LEGO Star Wars 75099 Rey's Speeder

This was one of my favourite looking ones from The Force Awakens line (admittedly, the iconic , far larger, and more expensive Millennium Falcon just edged it). The suggested age is 7-12, but my 3-year-old daughter put it together with minimal supervision.

Rey is clearly a central character to the new saga, so it is great to have a minifigure of her. My daughter loves the fact that she is another female Star Wars character to play with.

Rey LEGO Star Wars minifigure

The minifigure has the usual two faces, though the expressions are a fairly subtle ‘wry smile’ and ‘displeased frown’. The freckles are a nice detail, that reflects some of the close up pics we have seen of Rey so far. She also has a mask with goggles, as seen in one of the more recent trailers.

Rey wearing mask and goggles, Star Wars, The Force Awakens

The set also comes with a second mini figure, the hooded and mysteriously named Unkar’s Thug.

How much the speeder features remains to be seen, but it already feels like one of the more iconic new vehicles of the new saga and is a great addition to our LEGO Star Wars collection, that that my daughter frequently plays with already.

General Grievous

We are also currently watching the Star Wars cartoon The Clone Wars, which is set between Episodes II and III of the prequel trilogy. Whatever your opinion of that set of movies, their existence is entirely justified by the fact it led to this show being made. We are only on season 4 of 6. It is full of thrilling space fantasy action adventure, with (IMHO) much more rounded characterisations of the main characters, than the movies the show is sandwiched between.

General Grievous originally appeared in Revenge of the Sith (2005), and it was pretty widely accepted that for such a cool looking character, he was a bit wasted.

General Grievous, Revenge of the Sith, lightsabers

However, he is a major recurring character in The Clone Wars, and here he finally gets his due (though he’s still a bit of a tool).

This set is part of the recently released six buildable LEGO Star Wars figures. We have previously reviewed the Darth Vader figure, which was a fine set – but even then I could tell that this General Grievous figure was the one that suited this format best.

General Grievous vs Darth Vader

The skeletal construction pieces suit Grievous’ robotic structure perfectly. The sculpt on his head is great. This is basically an awesome General Grievous figure that you put together yourself!

Unlike Rey’s Speeder, this set (recommended age 9-14) was totally out of my 3-year-old daughter’s ability to put together – but not mine 😉 I had a great time putting it together – albeit with expert supervision from my daughter. She loves playing with it though, and one of the first things she wanted to do was stage a fight between Grievous and Darth Vader.

Who would win in a fight between Darth Vader and General Grievous?

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If you have a young Star Wars fan in your life, then two things they probably should be are a) Fans of The Clone Wars cartoon, and b) Excited about The Force Awakens. Given that, either of these sets would perfect gifts for them.

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Both of these sets are available from Amazon.

Or if you fancy your chances, how about entering our General Grievous giveaway?

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclaimer: While I was not paid to write this review, we did receive these LEGO sets free of charge.

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These sets are based on the Star Wars prequels, cartoons, and the forthcoming sequel. Do you or your little ones have a Star Wars preference – originals, prequels, cartoons, or new series?

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Family Fever