The Phantom Menace, released 20 years ago this month, is a polarising movie. Many Star Wars fans (particularly older fans raised on the Original Trilogy) would say it’s their least favourite in the series of films. However, despite its flaws, Episode 1 brought some amazing new things to the Star Wars universe — kick-ass lightsaber battles, Pod Racing, and the planet of Coruscant amongst them. The capital world of both Galactic Republic then Empire is another classic “single environment planet” in the grand Star Wars tradition, but rather than a desert, forest, or ice world, Coruscant is home to a massive planet-spanning city. The movie gave us plenty of the city’s towering buildings and penthouse suites, but here we get a closer look at the seedier underbelly of the metropolis in Dayton‘s impressive LEGO diorama.
This trip into the lower levels of Coruscant is impressively detailed, and carries a Blade Runner-esque cyberpunk vibe along with its Star Wars inspiration. The Imperial Patrol works its way through the alleys, through crowds of shady-looking characters enjoying street food and drinks. The presentation is excellent, nicely-lit, with the custom advertising billboards and smatterings of Aurebesh text a smart touch. And don’t miss the use of laser shooter pieces to provide the pattern on the circular sliding door — it’s a little detail, but it’s this sort of thing that helps create layers of texture to pull the viewer’s eye into the image.
The Rebellion will be crushed under skies filled with the Droid TIE Fighter! Builder Maelven is the Imperial engineer behind this automated starfighter. The most stand-out detail is the red cockpit window, but the smoothness of the wings is equally impressive. The fact that they’re angled is also a great move on Maelven’s part. I’m also impressed with the simplicity in color. Gray and black are the hallmark of the Empire, and it shows on the Droid TIE.
The TIE/D fighter was a notable part of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. This LEGO build could be the return of one of the most fearsome war machines to rule the skies of the Empire.
They say the clothes make the man…and sometimes, the hat makes the Hutt. This microscale LEGO model of Jabba the Hutt’s throne room by Grantmasters was inspired by the dark green bandana element and a rainbow of tiny statuette minifigures. Among them is a Dementor from the microscale Hogwarts set used to depict Luke Skywalker as he attempts to mind-trick the slimy crime lord. My second favorite part use, after Jabba himself, is the Niffler figure.
In the opening scene of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Luke famously chucks his old lightsaber off a cliff like a week-old burrito, and thanks to a not-quite-canon “deleted scene” from the Blu-ray, we now know what happened to the weapon after being discovered by the Ahch-To’s most adorable inhabitants, who just might be too innocent for their own good. Of course, every memorable moment in Star Wars deserves to be immortalized in LEGO, and that’s where builder Takamichi Irie comes in, with an excellent recreation utilizing the official life-size LEGO Porg set.
What’s not to love in this epic battle scene by Revan New? From the clone and droid figures, the archway above, or to the sunset lighting, this creation is full of action. My favorite bit is the Jedi figure flying over the gap as he readies to cut down Separatist droids. Using the grey hose part for the jumping special effect truly helped capture the intensity of the moment.
The Battle of Hoth is a popular scene to recreate with LEGO, and there are multiple versions of it as fan creations as well as official LEGO sets. My new favourite take on the battle has got to be Fuku Saku’s Assault on Hoth. He’s got all the essential elements: a snowspeeder, an AT-AT, and most importantly, a snow! On top of that, he’s built a turret representing Echo Base, a probe droid from before the battle, and an AT-ST coming up from behind.
The designs on the vehicles are spectacular, the AT-AT in particular. For one, it actually looks armoured. On top of that, all the right details are present, such as the side hatches. It even has interior detail and space for snowtroopers to actually be transported. The overall attention to detail in the entire battle scene is on point – it’s not often that blaster bolts are built into LEGO models, flying through the air. But they’re included here, and it really feels like there’s a battle going on.
Remember that one annoying thing from the Star Wars prequel movies? No, I don’t mean that. And no, not that either. No, no, not that! I’m thinking about the Pistoeka sabotage droids also known as Buzz Droids. I mean, who would have thunk there could be these bots that can cling to a starship like a parasite and slice the important bits out of it? That is just scary stuff right there! Luckily R2-D2 was a smart little droid with a good solution to a pest control problem. He just zapped them into oblivion! Martin Latta illustrates this point nicely with some stunning photography. The blurred Venator-class Star Destroyers in the distance are an excellent touch.
This epic creation by Ben Cossy takes me to a galaxy far, far away. The use of white and dark gray bricks to create the landscape is incredible. I’m also impressed with the way the Republic base was incorporated into the snowy cliffside, and notice the Death Star parts used as the fuel storage tanks.
See more of this huge LEGO Star Wars diorama
Spoiler warning for a series of movies that came out between 1999 and 2005. The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy make it pretty clear that Senator, later Chancellor, Palpatine was the puppet master behind the Clone Wars, leading to his accession to Emperor and the formation of the Galactic Empire. ZiO Chao‘s latest creation captures this idea perfectly. The bust of the Emperor works well on its own, as does the vignette of Anakin and Obi-Wan dueling over the lava, but the hands really tie the whole thing together – they frame the fighting Jedi as something that Palpatine is playing with. The size of the three characters really emphasizes how big of an impact each character had on the war. Even as generals, Obi-Wan and Anakin were merely pawns in a larger game of chess they weren’t aware of. The expression on the Emperor’s face is priceless, as he subtly yet gleefully stares at the scene, grinning as the final pieces of his plan fall into place.
“For the Chancellor!” This creation features the best of the 2006 video game Star Wars: Battlefront II. Built by Sebeus I, the scene illustrates an incredible canyon cliff, complete with weathered surfaces. The various tan slope elements are my favorite part, but I also like the laser fire, particularly the accurate in-game colors. To me, this model is so well done it bridges the line between realism and video game experience.
The 2003 TV series Star Wars: Clone Wars has always been one of my favorite pieces of Star Wars filmography. As a child, I think it was the first Star Wars saga I had ever seen. Yes, some of the moments in the show were impractical and far-fetched compared to those depicted in the canonical movies, but I think that’s what made it so memorable. Lancer bikes were a prime example. Why one would need to fight with lances in a world of laser cannons and starfighters, I don’t know, but it made for an epic and memorable scene. I’ve been trying to recreate the lancer bikes in LEGO for some time now with the goal of making the definitive version. Originally I had one that could seat a full figure, but it didn’t look the greatest, so I opted to disassemble the legs of the figure and made a version that ended up looking much more accurate.
While the dark red pattern on the stand is likely blood from a recent battle, I placed it there as a sort of allusion to the frequent dark red explosions that occurred in the series.
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.