Although most of the attention lately has been on the #WheresRey movement, Rey isn’t the first famous female to be neglected in the toy aisle. Granted, historically, most action figure lines were marketed exclusively for boys, so allowing a heavier male to female figure ratio is a given. That said, there were several toy lines where key female characters didn’t make the cut. Here’s a few females missing in action (figures):
G.I. Joe – A Real American Hero (Hasbro)
One of the pop culture milestones in my childhood had to be G.I. Joe: The Movie. The 1987 animated feature film brought together some of the cartoon’s most famous characters while introducing a handful of new ones. For a animated series solely devoted to creating marketable toys, it’s no surprise that all the new characters were turned into action figures. What is shocking, however, is that the only character who didn’t receive an action figure was one of the most bad ass. Pythona may have been a baddie from Cobra-La, but she was a force to be reckoned with. I mean, just look at her introduction. A cool cloak, sick claws, and striking features? Hasbro missed the boat on this one.
I know, I know. Michael Keaton’s Beetlejuice is the absolute star of Tim Burton’s movie namesake, and rightfully so. He’s crazy, funny, animated, and disgusting – all great qualities for an action figure. That said, Kenner’s 1989-1990 toy line based on the film could only rely on so many Beetlejuice variants. After Spinhead Beetlejuice, Showtime Beetlejuice, Shish Kebab Beetlejuice, and others, you’d think one of the film’s leading ladies would be next in line for a figure, right? Wrong! Instead of super emo Lydia, Kenner decided to release everyone’s favorite: the portly Ortho the Obnoxious! No wonder this toy line only lasted a single year.
Beverly Crusher, Deanna Troi
Star Trek: The Next Generation (Galoob)
Like the 1967 original, Gene Roddenberry’s 1987 science fiction series, Star Trek: The Next Generation continued to break down barriers, showing that neither race nor gender were barriers to a person’s worth. And despite the updated introduction to include the phrase “To boldly go where no one has gone before,” that didn’t apply to everyone on the crew when it came to toys. In Galoob’s toy line, the Next Gen cast was missing two of its most important females. While Lt. Tasha Yar was present and accounted for, Doctor Beverly Crusher and Counselor Deanna Troi would have to wait until the more successful and longer lasting action figure series from Playmates to make it so.
Transformers Generation 1 (Hasbro)
Between Optimus Prime, Megatron, Soundwave, and the rest of the gang, the Transformers animated series was entirely male-driven. That’s why you’d think when the obviously female character Arcee was introduced in the 1986 feature film Transformers: The Movie, the popular toy line would be updated to diversify their gender offerings. Nope. Sure, everyone else made their way to the toy aisle including Ultra Magnus, Hot Rod, and Galvatron, but the idea to include Arcee apparently stayed on Cybertron.
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (Kenner)
Unlike most action figure toy lines, Kenner’s Star Wars series featured numerous females including Princess Leia, Princess Leia (Hoth), Princess Leia (Bespin Gown), Princess Leia (Boushh), and who could forget Princess Leia (Endor)? Ok, nevermind, so maybe they just had variations of the same female character. That’s why, no matter how small the role of Mon Mothma in Return of the Jedi, you’d think Kenner would be anxious to add another strong female character to the mix. Nope. Instead, Kenner was like Oprah when it came to assigning action figures. “You get an action figure! You get an action figure! Everybody gets an action figuuuuurre!!!” (That is, unless you’re a character other than Princess Leia) No, instead of one of the leaders of the rebel resistance, we get characters with clever names such as Squid Head, Yak Face, and Prune Face, who had zero speaking roles and, if they’re lucky, ten seconds of screen time.
Any Female Character Whatsoever
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars (Mattel)
The most egregious series of action figures I came across when researching this article has to be Marvel’s collection based on the 12-issue comic series Secret Wars. Nearly every comic book cover featured some of Marvel’s kick-butt female talent including Storm, Rogue, She-Hulk, and others, but the toy line was a total boy’s club. It could be argued that comic books were only marketed towards boys, but both the past Kenner’s Super Powers collection and Mego’s 12-inch super hero dolls featured several female such as Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Invisible Girl. I can almost forgive the regrettable Beetlejuice toy line from excluding a female from their action figure ranks, but I will never forgive Mattel for depriving my childhood toy chest of a mohawked Storm.