Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of its release, and LEGO is honoring the occasion with 75294 Bespin Duel available exclusively from the LEGO Shop and Target ($39.99 USD | $49.99 CAD from the LEGO Shop and $39.99 USD from Target). The set includes 295 pieces, with minifigures of Luke Skywalker and his dear dad Darth Vader, and will be available on August 27th, 2020.
Two years ago, LEGO’s first “Master Builder” set 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City included a scaled-down version of this same scene, but this version is more detailed and includes a stand with a commemorative plaque.
Unfortunately, this LEGO Star Wars set will only be available in the US and Canada. The set was originally designed as the exclusive set for Star Wars Celebration, originally scheduled for August 27th-30th. With the cancellation of nearly all in-person events in North America due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this set is being made available online, but only in the United States and Canada.
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.)
A Tatooine man known as Darth Vader has ruined his son Luke’s life and chopped off his hand, sources told our reporters last Monday. This creation by Joffre Zheng depicted the scene immediately after the lightsaber duel on Bespin where Vader and Skywalker took the kerfuffle onto a dangerous overhang. After slicing off Luke’s hand, a portion of guardrail and some other mechanical doodads, the two exchanged heated words. Vader had reportedly goaded Skywalker about the power of the Dark Side before revealing that he was his father.
Unbelieving that such a deadbeat could be his dad, Luke jumped hundreds of feet then slid down what might have been a garbage shoot. He later emerged, clinging to a radio antenna beneath Bespin’s superstructure. Skywalker was later rescued on board the Millennium Falcon by his friends Chewbacca, Princess Leia Organa, and Lando Calrissian. “The kid was bummed”, Calrissian told our reporters. “Like, totally bummed, man.” Authorities were not called to the scene of the incident, and it was reported that alcohol was not involved. At press time Skywalker had also learned that Leia Organa was his sister, making the passionate kiss they shared earlier quite awkward indeed.
While many don’t fancy the Star Wars prequels, I for one am a fan them, especially the Podracers from The Phantom Menace. Thanks to the 20th Anniversary of LEGO Star Wars, we get an Anakin’s Podracer to commemorate some of the iconic themes and sets from two decades ago. 75258 Anakin’s Podracer – 20th Anniversary Edition comes with 279 pieces and retails for US: $29.99 | Canada: 39.99 CAD | UK: £24.99. It is currently available.
The Grinch isn’t the only strange green creature you’ll meet this festive season, Koen Zwanenburg would have us believe that Father Christmas is in fact a Jedi master, Yoda no less! Bizarrely it makes perfect sense — clearly, it would take a high-level Force user to achieve Santa’s intergalactic delivery schedule. There is also a sly nod to the commercial success of the Star Wars franchise: in a clever reversal of roles, Yoda carries a LEGO minifigure Luke on his back, ready to fill someone’s Christmas stocking.
If you like Keon’s model, he’s provided LDD instructions for you to make your very own Santa Yoda.