Mother's joy as Disney confirm Princess Leia figure after twitter campaign (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Mother's joy as Disney confirm Princess Leia figure after twitter campaign
A star wars fan appears to have forced film giant Disney into a u-turn over its decision not to distribute Princess Leia action figures.
Natalie Wreyford, 42, of Walthamstow, took to Twitter last month after failing to find a Leia doll for her daughter Honor’s Star Wars-themed sixth birthday party.
New merchandise has been made available since Disney acquired the franchise, including action figures of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, but no new Leia figures were made, despite the characters returning to the big screen in the next episode of the series.
Undeterred Mrs Wreyford, who is the senior executive of the UK Film Council and a student at Kings College, contacted Disney to find out why.
She said: "My son Seth and Honor were having a joint Star Wars themed birthday party and Honor kept asking if she was going to get Leia as Seth had Luke Skywalker.
"I contacted the customer service team who replied quite dismissively saying there were no plans for Leia products.”
Mrs Wreyford then took to Twitter to ask: "Why aren't there any Leia Dolls or Leia products available in Disney stores? My daughter really wants one."
Fellow Princess Leia fans picked up on the issue using hashtag #Wewantleia, and Disney has now confirmed it will be adding the doll to its merchandise.
Mrs Wreyford, who is currently researching why there are so few women in screenwriting roles, believes the lack of figures for female characters reflects a general inequality in the film industry.
She said: "Not only was Leia missing from action figures but there was nothing in their merchandise of any female characters.
"It was clear to me Disney had decided Star Wars was for boys. When it comes to the film industry, they don't want any female protagonists and this perpetuates the lack of women in cinema."
A spokeswoman for Disney said: "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.
"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."
Responding to the announcement, Mrs Wreyford said: "I was shell-shocked. Disney tried to make it sound like introducing Princess Leia toys was always their intention, but it wasn't.
"I've finally realised the power of social media and the positive things it can achieve.
"Thankfully there was no negative backlash as part of me was terrified I would get death threats like Stella Creasy and Caroline Criado-Perez did when they stuck up for women representation."
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