Disney Bows to Star Wars Fan Backlash, Adds Princess Leia Toys to New Line
Fans organized their outrage around the hashtag #WeWantLeia
There’s a scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Princess Leia shuts up the eternally cocky Han Solo with the line, “Well, I guess you don’t know anything about women yet.” Although her criticism was aimed solely at the guy who put the word “smug” in smuggler, she could’ve been shouting it at Disney, too.
Natalie Wreyford, a British film executive, discovered that there weren’t any Princess Leia toys, action figures or costumes available at the Disney Store, not a single one on the shelf beside Han or Luke Skywalker or hidden behind the Chewbacca backpacks or talking Darth Vader dolls. So, Wreyford Tweeted at the company’s official account to find out why. “My daughter really wants one,” she said.
“Currently, there are no plans for Leia products at Disney Store, Natalie,” the company cheerfully responded via Twitter. “Have a wonderful day!”
That was the wrong answer, Disney soon found out, as its response was picked up by a number of news outlets, prompting widespread criticism and launching hundreds of responses with the hashtag #WeWantLeia. (This is clearly the 21st-century version of shouting, “You stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerfherder!”)
Several days and a lot of backlash later, the company appears to have changed its mind. “The current assortment of Star Wars products at the Disney Store … is just the beginning of what is to come,” Disney spokesperson Margita Thompson told TIME. “We’re excited to be rolling out new products in the coming months, including several items that will feature Princess Leia, one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars galaxy.”
Leia isn’t just iconic in the Lucasphere: She was named No. 89 on a list of the 100 Greatest Movie Characters and – come on – she’s Princess Leia! She shouldn’t have to beg for an action figure. In addition to those already overdue toys, hopefully the Disney Store’s additional Star Wars items will better serve its sizable female fan base: As IndieWire pointed out, of the 95 products currently available in their online store (including six T-shirts labeled “For Boys”), there are exactly zero items in the “Girls” category. Talk about stuck-up, half-witted nerfherders …
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