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I Can’t Wait For My Nieces To Play Angry Birds Stella. Thanks, Strong Female Characters!

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I spent some time at the Angry Birds Stella Pop Up Experience in Petco Park at San Diego Comic-Con last week and boy are my arms tired! Wait…that’s not right. More like, girls, am I excited!

Rovio’s CMO Blanca Juti, their Marketing Director Marja Konttinen, and Communications Coordinator Janos Honkonen all met with me to discuss their big reveal – Angry Birds Stella, the exciting new chapter in their mega-universe. You might understand why when you meet the new “flock.”

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Yup, those are mostly lady birds – Stella, Poppy, Willow, Dahlia, and Luca (a boy!) plus our new “bad bird,” Gale (who used to be good!).

So yes, it’s billed as “girl birds” but the team explained it goes a lot further than that and a lot of thought went into developing the new game. It’s meant to be inclusive and engaging but also really celebrates women being heroic. It also focuses a great deal on friendship, between the gang and specifically between Stella and Gale, and empowerment. Juti and Konttinen explained the Rovio team is pretty much an even split between men and women and that they really believe the diverse situation helps them to create the best product possible. They also clued me into something interesting about Finland I wasn’t previously aware of – they only have gender-neutral pronouns. So if you’re worried about this game creating stereotypical “girly” characters or only being aimed at girls, don’t be. This one is for everybody.

Not just that, but the Angry Birds Stella group are very much like the “strong female characters” we’re always looking for. They each have their own personal strengths and weaknesses. Take a look at the world premiere trailer they released during Comic-Con and you’ll get a small idea of what to expect.

Dahlia is really into building things and experimenting with science, Willow is into art, Poppy is a comedian, etc. The game, due this September, will also bring along a host of new TELEPODS and other cool features to make this new edition a particularly fun one.

There’s also another really exciting part of this new venture. In November, Rovio will be debuting the Angry Birds Stella animated series on ToonsTV (eventually making its way to TV and VoD) and a comic book (I saw a cool sneak peek!) is also on the way!

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Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” (TheNerdyBird.com). She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."