As LEGO celebrates the 20th anniversary of the LEGO Star Wars theme, the LEGO House is featuring a special LEGO Star Wars exhibition. The exhibition, which takes place in the History section of the House, consists of two massive displays. The Brothers Brick is bringing you an exclusive look at the jaw-dropping LEGO Star Wars minifigure collection as well as an impressive Designer’s Choice display.
It’s hard to believe twenty years have passed since the release of the first official LEGO Star Wars sets. Unofficially, children and adults alike have been building Star Wars-themed models since the first film hit theaters in 1977. While many of these custom builds have been lost to history, some photographs of Star Wars models made their way into LEGO Club magazines like the UK’s Bricks ‘n Pieces and North America’s LEGO Mania Magazine. One of the earliest models I was able to find was this AT-AT walker from The Empire Strikes Back (1980). That movie was only two years old in 1982, which is when twelve year old Philip Dodge had his model featured in the Summer 1982 issue of Bricks ‘n Pieces. While the photography might not have aged well, his AT-AT looks amazing for having been built during the 1980s.
LEGO has revealed Star Wars Droid Commander, a 1,100-piece set that lets you build and program three droids from the Star Wars universe including the iconic R2-D2, a Gonk droid and a Mouse droid. The set uses the LEGO Boost platform in combination with a new free app to help learn programming to achieve success in more than 40 pre-loaded missions. The set is expected to retail for US $199.99 | CAN $249.99 | UK £179.99 starting September 1st.
LEGO is celebrating May the Fourth a day early by making Star Wars 75244 Tantive IV available for purchase for VIP members. The set comes with 1,768 pieces and six minifigures including Princess Leia and Bail Organa, and sells for US $199.99 | CAN $269.99 | UK £179.99. The set will be available generally starting tomorrow.
In addition to the Tantive IV, LEGO is offering quite a few freebies including the exclusive 195-piece 40333 Battle of Hoth with LEGO Star Wars purchases of $75 US / £75 UK, double VIP points on all LEGO Star Wars purchases and other sales that vary by store and region.
Additionally, the elusive 70842 Emmet’s Triple-Decker Couch Mech from The LEGO Movie 2 is now available for US $29.99 | CAN $3.99 | UK £24.99 as well as the new Disney Collectible Minifigure Series 2 for US $3.99 | CAN $4.99 | UK £2.99 each (read our feel guide here to help find your favorite characters).
Add that to the 21 sets launched late last month from Toy Story 4, Spider-Man, and The LEGO Movie 2 and we have ourselves the beginning of a very promising summer in terms of new LEGO sets.
LEGO has revealed one of the upcoming promotions for Star Wars May the Fourth weekend as the frosty 40333 Battle of Hoth. The small LEGO Star Wars 20th Anniversary set comes with 195 pieces and a printed anniversary tile. The set will be available for free with Star Wars purchases of $75 US / £75 UK from May 3-6. Other May the Fourth offers depend on location and could include double VIP points on Star Wars sets, certain sets on sale, a poster and a small polybag set as an additional gift with purchase.
40333 Battle of Hoth is the second exclusive/promotional set to receive the anniversary logo following 75227 Darth Vader Bust, though this one will be more widely available. The set features a unique brick-built platform and micro-versions of an AT-AT Walker, Snowspeeder, and Rebel shield generator.
The highly sought-after 75227 Darth Vader Bust is finally available from Target for REDcard members. Originally announced as a limited-run Star Wars Celebration set going on sale starting April 11th, the retailer took its time posting the listing. The exclusive set contains 327 pieces and retails for $39.99 US.
(EDIT: It appears to have sold out in less than 15 minutes. We have reached out to Target to see if any other batch will be made available but have not heard back.)
For those of you who are either based internationally, not Target REDcard members, or just don’t want to hassle with the order system, we posted instructions on how to build the set from your own pieces, Bricklink or LEGO Bricks and Pieces service.
Earlier this year on March 29th, The Brothers Brick team was invited to take part in a Star Wars Fan Media Day at the LEGO House in the centre of Billund, Denmark. One of the main events was a round table discussion with LEGO Star Wars designers Jens Kronvold and Kurt Kristiansen — designers who have been working on LEGO Star Wars sets since the very first wave of products hit shelves back in 1999. Jens and Kurt had a lot to share with us, so we didn’t miss a chance to ask them some of the most exciting questions.
Q: Tell us about the LEGO Star Wars model design team. How many people does it include? How many lead designers are there?
Jens: Right now, the model design team consists of 10 people: me as the Creative Director and Lead Model Designer and nine other model designers. We also have two graphic designers, who create designs for all the stickers, printed pieces, and minifigures. While in the office, we sit it an open office environment together with the marketing team, people who design building instructions and other specialists. So, all together we form one “super-team” which I find particularly nice and convenient. If you need to talk to somebody, they’re just next to you!
Kurt: It’s the same with any other model design team. And if, say I have a question regarding LEGO Technic elements, I just need to walk 10 meters down the aisle and I can talk to anyone of my colleagues who are working with LEGO Technic pieces. So, it’s a very open office environment.
Q: How many sets does LEGO Star Wars model team create each year? How many sets are designed by each member of the team?
Over the past two decades, LEGO Star Wars has released more than 700 sets and 1,000 minifigures. It is no surprise that the theme has racked up a significant amount of interesting milestones along the way. From the first flesh-colored faces to the first new hair piece in 20 years, LEGO has explored a lot of new territory within the Star Wars product line.
Below we have two lists, one of interesting LEGO Star Wars trivia and the other an abbreviated history of the product line. To whet your whistle, which droid has appeared the most throughout the entire LEGO Star Wars history? How many LEGO versions of the Millennium Falcon have been created? How many bricks were in the world’s largest LEGO X-Wing that was built in Times Square? Read on to find out.
Where were you when the LEGO Star Wars theme launched twenty years ago? For me, it began with the January 1999 LEGO Shop-at-Home catalog. The front cover promised “LEGO Star Wars action” on pages 6 and 7, and it did not disappoint! My eyes widened at the sight of LEGO versions of the X-Wing and TIE-Fighter. As soon as the sets hit store shelves, I gathered my allowance money and purchased the Landspeeder as my very first LEGO Star Wars set. Now as an adult, I find the story behind the beginnings of LEGO’s first licensed theme just as exciting.
The foundations for LEGO Star Wars arguably existed long before the launch. Space exploration was a big topic of interest in the 1960s and 70s, giving rise to hit space-themed TV shows like Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. In 1977, Star Wars was released and became a blockbuster hit. During this period, LEGO too began embracing the space age and released the first Classic Space sets in 1979. Instead of lightsaber battles and dogfights, the initial emphasis of LEGO was on exploration. Conflict would eventually make its way into LEGO space sets with the introduction of the thieving Blacktron I faction in 1987. The relationship between these defined “good guys” and bad guys” was relatively tame, keeping in line with founder Ole Kirk Christiansen’s commitment to not make “war toys.”
Twenty years ago, LEGO introduced the Star Wars product line–a theme that would not only help save the company but spark the imaginations of generations of LEGO fans. Star Wars was the first licensed franchise for LEGO and has since grown to be one of the most storied and successful product lines of all time with more than 700 sets, 1,000 minifigures, five video games, several animated TV series and a tidal wave of other merchandise.
LEGO Star Wars holds a special place in our hearts here at The Brothers Brick–it has helped some of us out of our dark ages, we’ve featured an incredible amount of amazing fan creations based on it, and two of us literally wrote the book on it. To celebrate the 20th anniversary, we’ve prepared an entire day’s worth of LEGO Star Wars content, so buckle up for a nostalgia trip to a galaxy far, far away.
To start off, below we have the official press release from LEGO about the 20th anniversary of LEGO Star Wars as well as an archival photo gallery of sets, advertisements, minifigures, timelines and the new anniversary sets launched this month.
Last month, LEGO revealed the exclusive 75227 Darth Vader Bust set for Star Wars Celebration 2019. Convention exclusives are usually very hard to obtain and command a high price on the secondary market from scalpers. Thankfully, LEGO is somewhat addressing that since this set will also be available to Target REDCard members online starting April 11th until supplies run out (which we expect will be very quick).
(EDIT: Target did not make the bust available on the 11th and instead posted it early in the morning on the 12th. It appears to have sold out in less than 15 minutes. We have reached out to Target to see if any other batch will be made available but have not heard back.)
While we celebrate that the set won’t be entirely exclusive to the show in Chicago, it will still likely prove to be a hard-to-get collectors item elsewhere around the world. We know many of our international readers have bemoaned the fact they can’t get the set, so we are happy to report that LEGO has published the instructions and parts list for the Darth Vader Bust online. You can download the instructions from LEGO here (the file is 23 MB).
Our very own News Editor Dave Schefcik has already searched through his collection and built the Darth Vader Bust with only a few pieces needing to be substituted with alternative parts. Behold Lord Vader!
Dave also discovered that the Darth Vader Bust contains two new unique pieces: a pair of 4×6 right/left plates in black that help shape the back of the helmet. These wedge plates are relatively new and are only currently available in white on Bricklink (also available in red on LEGO Bricks and Pieces). Dave substituted them with the more common 3×6 right/left wedge plates and got close to the final look.
Luckily, the two new black pieces are currently available on LEGO Bricks and Pieces if you need your bust to be perfect. Dave actually priced out the entire set since 100% of the inventory is currently available from Bricks and Pieces, and it came to a total of $50.90 USD plus tax and shipping for all of the parts brand new from LEGO. (It may even be cheaper with used brick on Bricklink, though not nearly as convenient.)
That total cost is only $10.91 more than what the set will retail for ($39.99) so it is a pretty good deal if you want to just build the Darth Vader Bust with new sorted brick from LEGO using the digital instructions provided. Yes, you wont have the box or printed instructions–but for many fans who won’t be able to get their hands on the set mint-in-box anyway, we are happy there’s a way for everyone to enjoy building it.
Good luck and May The Force Be With You!