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Star Wars Thursday: Fangirl Update

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Star Wars Fangirl 1It’s been an exciting, and slightly tumultuous, week for those who love Star Wars.

New Casting Announcements

I’m going to make an embarrassing admission here. When I saw the announcement about the two new women who had been added to the cast this week – I got tears in my eyes. I was already excited about the movie, even with the disappointment of only one woman in the new cast. These two additions made me quiver in my chair. Yes, we still have to wait and see what roles these three will be given. They could have prominent, active roles. They could have relatively small roles in this movie that set them up for the future. I’m holding out hope that these new additions are an excellent sign. Even Forbes had something to say on the matter..

Disney Store and Leia merchandise  (#WeWantLeia)

A few weeks ago, Natalie Wreyford asked Disney on Twitter why there were no Leia products available in the Disney Store. Disney responded with a friendly, “Currently, there are no plans for Leia products at Disney Store, Natalie. Have a wonderful day!”

Thus was born the #WeWantLeia tag. Women and men expressed their displeasure with Disney’s stance. After the start of #LegionofLeia just a few weeks ago, fans who want gender diversity in science fiction are making sure their voices are heard.

Yes, there are many sides to the decision Disney has to make. The tweet below links to a fangirl chat where they discuss how Lucasfilm is heavily involved in the decisions, and that they wanted the first wave of figures to be “iconic” and have high sales. Apparently, figures and toys featuring the women of Star Wars don’t sell as well. Hopefully the outpouring of concern reflects a genuine change in the market.

Today, Time reported that Disney will be adding Leia soon. Did they just release this information earlier than planned to help quell the riots? Or did the chatter really change their plans? Either way, the Time article declares that

“The concern over both the casting decisions and the toys suggests there’s a robust female fan base for the films.”

I think that is the point; and I’m happy to have joined in the discussion.

The Point of “Outrage”

Of course, there were accusations flying that the “outrage of the week” always proves to be unnecessary. Were we wrong to point out our concerns about the first cast photos? Wrong to express dissatisfaction over the lack of Leia in the first wave from the Disney Store? Wrong to share our disappointment that the Star Wars Rebels announcements included the women last and their action figures won’t happen until the second wave? Perhaps if only one of those things had happened, downplaying the outbreak of concern would make sense. It’s never just one thing, though. The “Free Market” is always touted as the reason why we have limited merchandise for women. Maybe the recent flurry of activity asking for women to be considered will help “the market” begin to proactively consider fangirls before they make announcements in the future. Staying silent and hoping for the best isn’t the way to create or support change. We need to speak up each and every time.


To Peek or Not to Peek

On a lighter note, fans also got the chance to take a peek at the set of Episode VII. I haven’t yet looked at the leaked photos myself. Have you? I did hear that the Millennium Falcon was in them. J.J. Abrams won a little more of my heart with this photo tweeted on Wednesday. That’s the way we do it, sir… well played.

Until next week – may the Force be with you!