With beloved minifigures and generally excellent vehicle designs in the LEGO Star Wars theme, location-based playsets often get a bad rap by comparison. Back in 2016, I described 75137 Carbon Freezing Chamber as half-formed, oddly over-engineered, ugly, and ultimately baffling — one of the worst LEGO sets I’d reviewed in recent memory. Then in 2018, we argued that the $350 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City doesn’t even live up to LEGO’s own product description, despite some stellar mid-scale vehicles and improved carbon-freezing chamber. Given that history, we were skeptical of 75291 Death Star Final Duel (US $99.99 | CAN $139.99 | UK £89.99), which includes 775 pieces with five minifigs and will be available starting September 1st (with the now-standard caveats about COVID-19 shipping). But has LEGO exceeded our low expectations?
LEGO has revealed seven new Star Wars sets based on everything across the galaxy including the films, television shows, a visual dictionary, and even Disney’s theme park land, Galaxy’s Edge. The sets include two brand new ships, multiple desirable minifigures, a few refreshed models, and the 2020 LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar. (Spoiler alert: we’ve included photos of the Advent behind the jump at the far end of this article.)
The seven new sets join four other upcoming LEGO Star Wars models already announced earlier this year, including 75288 AT-AT, 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers, 75292 The Razor Crest and 75317 The Mandalorian & The Child BrickHeadz. All these new sets should be available globally starting Sept. 1st.
LEGO is kicking off Star Wars Day celebrations early ahead of May the Fourth by launching the 75275 A-wing Starfighter. In addition to the UCS A-wing becoming available, LEGO is offering 40407 Death Star II Battle as a free gift with Star Wars purchases more than US $75 | CAN $75 | UK £75 (available through May 4th or when supplies run out).
LEGO is also offering double VIP points on all Star Wars sets (like the new helmet series) and various deals on other Star Wars sets throughout the weekend. The new Star Wars sets join several other LEGO products that have recently become available including Wonder Woman vs. Cheetah and the buildable Minions (which both have 2x VIP points for the entire month of May).
Every year for the increasingly merchandised “May the Fourth” Star Wars holiday, LEGO has produced an exclusive item to include for free when you buy other Star Wars products. This year’s promotional set is 40407 Death Star II Battle, a microscale vignette from Return of the Jedi featuring an A-wing and TIE Interceptor skimming the battlestation’s surface. The set includes 235 pieces, and will be included with Star Wars purchases between May 1 and May 4 from LEGO’s website over US $75 | CAN $75 | UK £75. LEGO is also offering double VIP points on all Star Wars purchases over the same timeframe. LEGO lists the set for US $14.99 | CAN $19.99 | UK £13.49, but it isn’t available to purchase directly, and likely won’t ever be unless LEGO ends up with a lot of extras after the promotion ends.
This year, for Star Wars May the Fourth weekend, LEGO suggest hopping into A-wing cockpit to take part in the Death Star battle. The upcoming promotional set revealed today, 40407 Death Star II Battle, depicts a couple of tiny Star Wars fighters swooshing by the turrets of the Empire’s notorious space base. The set will be available for free with the qualifying Star Wars purchases over $75 during May 1-4. Featuring a tiny copy of the iconic A-wing, this promotional set is a perfect gift with the purchase of the latest UCS 75275 A-wing Starfighter set revealed last week.
We’re currently a month and half away from the final installment in the Skywalker saga, (not that anyone at The Brothers Brick is counting). At this point, everything we know about it is from the toys, trailers and promotional images, but that can’t stop eager LEGO builders from making creations based on the movie. Following some brilliant recreations of scenes in other recent Star Wars movies, KevFett2011 has recreated what I’m sure will be a memorable and iconic scene from the next film. Potential spoilers ahead if you’re avoiding the trailers and/or our speculation turns out to be correct.
Now, witness the awesomeness that is the creation of Rui Miguel Anacleto. Taking inspiration from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, this build is a display of the climactic Battle of Endor, where the Rebel Alliance faced off against the Empire in a do-or-die attempt to destroy a second planet killer.
I can’t help but fawn over the cinematic experience contained in this build. From the Alliance’s Medical Frigate battling Star Destroyers to the Executor crashing into the Death Star, nearly every scene is here. Even Luke, Lando and Wedge flying away from the Death Star is visible, with an excellent use of flame pieces to simulate internal explosions.
Some things from Star Wars have been built so often in LEGO form that my eyes start to glaze over as I look at them. X-wing fighters, for example, or TIE fighters. It takes something extraordinary about them now to merit a mention (I did recently write up an AT-ST and a Y-wing, other examples of frequently-built vehicles, so it does happen!). Other things, most often scenes, have hardly been built at all. Detention Block AA23 of the first Death Star, including the trash compactor, has certainly been built before, but this version by markus19840420 is the best I have seen. The immersive nature of the shots, with a cinematic feel, is perfect for the scene.
LEGO Star Wars builder Anthony Ducre recently shared a massive diorama featuring scenes from both A New Hope and Return of the Jedi. Built from over 50,000 LEGO bricks, the diorama includes Darth Vader chasing Luke Skywalker down the trench of the first Death Star, animated by placing the starfighters on classic LEGO 9-volt train tracks.
There are only so many Star Wars scenes that are prominent enough to become a LEGO set, so it’s refreshing to see something that hasn’t been done before. Most LEGO Star Wars fans would probably agree that the Death Star escape scene has been long overdue in becoming a set. Despite receiving 3 minutes of screen time, it is one of the most memorable scenes from the franchise. Now, we finally get to see it built in LEGO-form. The 75229 Death Star Escape consists of 329 pieces and retails for $29.99 USD (CDN 39.99 and GBP 24.99). Does it hold up to the memorable scene from Star Wars: A New Hope? Read on to find out more.
There have been some pretty spectacular LEGO versions of Star Wars’ iconic trench run over the years, setting the bar pretty high for anyone taking on the theme. Pro building group Olive Seon have risen to the challenge, deploying intricate details worthy of the original Industrial Light and Magic model. Its nifty laser towers and exploded Y-wing fighter demonstrating some serious building talent, and a hefty upgrade from their first version, which we covered back in 2015.
The surprises don’t end here: rotate the diorama to reveal a complete Death Star interior. Each of the space station’s rooms acting as individual vignettes, from a scene showing Obi Wan’s deactivation of the tractor beam to a battalion of stormtroopers caught mid-explosion. There is plenty of humour here too: ever wanted to see the battle station’s locker room? Well now you can. My favourite feature though is the hilariously over-sized BrickHeadz Stormtrooper herding his droids.
I don’t think there is anything more fitting to celebrate “Revenge of the Fifth” (the day after May the Fourth) than this diorama by Sergio Jaensson, which depicts the arrival of Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Although the shuttle and some of the tie fighters are official LEGO sets, their use doesn’t hurt the overall build — the diorama is so big you probably didn’t even notice them. The signature imperial white glowy lines on the walls of the hangar are a particularly excellent detail, as they prevent the walls from looking too simple and barren.
I like the use of the yellow Emperor Palpatine minifigure as it gives the scene a bit of a classic flavor. The build also contains a few Easter eggs: If you look closely in the background near the TIE fighter, you can spot some bumbling Stormtroopers — one has almost fallen from the walkway!