Disney told TIME on Wednesday that it would add Princess Leia toys to its existing Star Wars merchandise line soon, following recent criticism from parents and bloggers about the lack of products for girls.
“The current assortment of Star Wars products at the Disney Store launched earlier this year, and is just the beginning of what is to come,” Disney spokeswoman 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.”
Thompson also pointed out that there are Princess Leia-themed costumes and toys available on Amazon.com.
Parents took to Twitter last week to protest the fact that the Disney Store contains almost no Star Wars themed gear for girls, even though it’s chock full of Jedi playthings for boys. And a new line of Star Wars action figures, launched last week on the Star Wars blog, doesn’t include Leia: It’s all Darth Vader, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. Natalie Wreyford, a student at King’s College London, initially discovered the oversight, according to the Daily Dot:
@nataliewreyford Currently, there are no plans for Leia products at Disney Store, Natalie. Have a wonderful day!
— shopDisney (@shopDisney) May 20, 2014
The story was picked up by several entertainment and feminist blogs, including the Mary Sue, Indiewire and Jezebel. More parents made inquiries. Then the hashtag #WeWantLeia bubbled up over the last week.
@DisneyStore My kids are playing with a 30 year old Leia doll. Merchandising opportunity! #WeWantLeia
— Shannon Blaze (@ksbpint) May 27, 2014
what's up with no princess Leia? Little girls can like Star Wars just as much as boys do, do why no Leia toys Disney? #WeWantLeia
— David Goodno (@DavidGoodno) May 29, 2014
#WeWantLeia my 6 year old girl does! pic.twitter.com/LqHrggBImF
— Catherine (@cjatkinsonOT) May 30, 2014
There's Han & Luke, but @DisneyStore is a Leia free zone. Please sign the #WeWantLeia petition http://t.co/R1JBusVEHW pic.twitter.com/grpsEVDngN
— Man vs. Pink (@ManVsPink) June 4, 2014
The controversy came just weeks after many fans lamented the lack of women in the initial casting announcement for the new Star Wars films. (Two more women were cast recently, totaling four so far compared to 11 men.) The concern over both the casting decisions and the toys suggests there’s a robust female fan base for the films.
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