#WheresRey? asked Star Wars fans earlier this month after realising that Daisy Ridley’s central character was conspicuously absent from the newly released Force Awakens Monopoly set.
A disappointed little girl even wrote Hasbro a letter asking why she couldn’t play the game as her favourite character, or indeed as a female at all.
Meanwhile, further complaints about the apparent unavailability of Rey-based merchandise prompted Force Awakens director JJ Abrams to brand the situation “preposterous and wrong“.
You might wonder whether Disney and its licensees know something we don’t and that perhaps the buying public as a whole – as opposed to those making the complaints – simply don’t have a huge appetite for Star Wars products based on female characters.
But in at least one instance that appears not to be the case.
According to information provided to RadioTimes.com by Amazon.co.uk, the online retailer’s bestselling Force Awakens action figure is Captain Phasma, the chrome-clad female stormtrooper played in the film by Gwendoline Christie.
In terms of sales direct from Amazon in the UK, the 20-inch Phasma figure tops the charts, followed by a standard stormtrooper, rebel pilot Poe Dameron, John Boyega’s Finn and Sith Lord Kylo Ren.
Bestselling Star Wars: The Force Awakens action figures on Amazon.co.uk*
1. Star Wars The Force Awakens 20-Inch Big Captain Phasma Figure
2. Star Wars The Force Awakens 31-Inch Big EPVII Stormtrooper Figure
3. Star Wars The Force Awakens 18-Inch Big Poe Dameron Figure
4. Star Wars The Black Series 6-Inch Finn (Jakku)
5. Star Wars Kylo Ren Massive Figure
Whether the sales information demonstrates an increased interest from the public in action figures based on female characters is inconclusive, of course.
Not only is Phasma the only female character appearing in Amazon’s top five bestsellers, she’s also one who never removes her helmet in the film to identify her sex, so maybe her popularity is simply down to fans being keen on stormtroopers with cool, shiny armour.
But what about Rey? According to Amazon, one of the reasons she does not appear in the list is that the company itself does not stock Rey action figures, which are instead only available on the site via third-party sellers, for which Amazon is unable to provide sales data.
Amazon was unable to say why it did not stock Rey figures when it does stock Phasma and all the male characters but given that the top three bestsellers range from 20-31 inches in height, perhaps it concentrates on larger figures (although it does stock some smaller ones).
A search of Disney and Hasbro’s websites and the wider internet suggests it’s pretty much impossible to get hold of a large-scale Rey figure (unless you’re willing to fork out a lot of money). More importantly, though, it confirms that, disregarding the size, there simply aren’t as many Rey action figures available as there are for some of the other main characters.
Yes, it’s nice to see at least one female Star Wars character among the bestselling Star Wars action figures, but for now the central mystery remains – where is Rey?
*Data based on sales between 17th December 2015 and 7th January 2016