Upon the arrival of this year’s Force Friday, fans prepped themselves to get even more excited for The Rise of Skywalker, seeking out all their favorite Star Wars characters in toy, t-shirt, and collectible form. But instead, there was a familiar state of déjà vu when Rose Tico appeared to have been literally erased from merchandise that she’d formerly been shown on. This incited fans to create the hashtag #WheresRose.
The trend echoed the #WheresRey and #WheresFinn sagas when the main characters of the new trilogy could barely be found in any of the toy or clothing merchandise that was released for The Force Awakens. With confused Star Wars lovers still trying to solve the newest mystery, we’re once again wondering what’s going on with the merchandising for the new film after the pre-order release of the official Disney calendar.
As noticed by Twitter user ReyZestDance, the calendar appeared on Amazon this week, sold by Disney as the official calendar for the film. But when you look at who’s featured on the calendar, things get strange and ultimately disappointing.
Naturally, the calendar showcases 12 characters from the film—one per month—six representing the Light Side, and six the Dark Side. The first three characters showcased make a lot of sense: Rey graces the January page, Kylo is on the February pag e, and Finn finishes up what can arguably be called the core cast triptych with March. Filling out the Light Side, the droids take up one page, Poe Dameron another, Chewbacca fills the fifth, and the iconic Billy Dee Williams takes the sixth.
All of these characters make sense when it comes to who fans would want to see on a calendar, but the exclusions of Leia, Jannah, Zori Bliss, and of course the brilliant hero we now know will be Commander Rose Tico are extremely questionable, especially when you look at who fills the other six spreads.
The thus-far unnamed Knights of Ren are given two pages, which at first glance seem to be utterly interchangeable until you look closer and realize that they’re wearing slightly different masks. There is, of course, the obligatory Stormtrooper page, but then there’s also a Sith Trooper and a Snowtrooper, which means there are more Troopers featured on this calendar than there are named female characters. Seeing as there are at least four who could’ve been featured in relation to The Rise of Skywalker, this seems misguided at best and sinister at worst. It also highlights a lack of female Dark Side characters after the apparent demise of Phasma in The Last Jedi.
Though it may seem silly to get caught up in the lineup of a calendar when you put this next to the other choices that the Star Wars merchandise has been making, it’s hard to not see something far more insidious going on. After the release of the brilliant Star Wars: The Last Jedi, there was a small but incessantly vocal concentration of fans that used their bad faith criticisms of the film to unleash a hateful, often racist, and mostly misogynist torrent on director Rian Johnson, as well as stars like Daisy Ridley and, of course, Kelly Marie Tran.
The actress who portrayed Rose was notoriously bullied off of social media by trolls who couldn’t stand the fact that she was a vital part of the franchise they claim to love. With that context, it’s fair to wonder whether or not Disney is making a choice to market this film without including the two women of color who apparently play key roles: Rose and Jannah. This would also explain Leia’s absence after certain fans were angry at her powerful force flight in Episode VIII.
There are also other non-official but Disney-approved calendars that feature prominent inclusions of both Janna and Keri Russell’s new enigmatic masked bounty hunter Zorri Bliss. The question of “Where’s Rose?” still lingers, though, as she doesn’t appear here either. It’s a shame that there seems to be a lack of representation for the female characters who will be gracing the screen when the film hits on December 20.
Star Wars has always been a popular property with a huge fandom made up of all kinds of people. When Rey was revealed as the lead of the franchise, it felt like Disney finally understood that there was a market for female-led Star Wars films, and when The Force Awakens made more than $2 billion at the global box office, they were proven right. It’s just a shame that when it comes to selling the films there’s a disconnect, with the studio ignoring the fact that women don’t just passively watch Star Wars; they’re also active consumers.
Featured Image: Lucasfilm/Disney