Remember when a few weeks ago I wrote that LEGO Star Wars is in deep shit? That same pile of manure just got even deeper with the official announcement of the Betrayal at Cloud City (75222) set. Everybody expected it, everybody wanted it and now everybody is disappointed by it. Yupp, that’s pretty much the unanymous reaction of 90 percent of users.
Aside from the fact that 350 Euros is just plain crazy for a 2800 pieces set, when just a week ago they released a 6000 pieces set for 400 Euros (Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (71043)), the major letdown is the toyish quality. Similar to the Death Star (75159) it’s a puppet house style arrangement of rooms, featuring little vignettes that depict scenes from The Empire Strikes Back. That would be terrible for an Ultimate Collectors Series (UCS) model to begin with, but the people at Promobricks have corrected and commented their post, citing it as the first set of a new Master Builder series – as if this changes anything. It still is pretty lame and terrible. Many others feel the same, but I’ll leave it to you and your favorite YouTube channels and news sites to make up your mind based on more info.
Since LEGO seems to be subscribed to irony these days, it isn’t missing from this release either. Many of the details would make wonderful sets people would buy on their own because they’d exactly be what they want – reasonably priced sets with an acceptable number of parts resulting in a good rendition of the scenes and vehicles. I myself could totally get behind the Slave I for instance und would be willing to spend 30 Euros on it or something like that. However, with these items now being part of this large set this isn’t going to happen and both parties lose in the process. LEGO isn’t going to see any cash from this crowd.
It will of course sell to other people like desperate parents and relatives looking for an expensive Christmas present for their kids once a year. Perhaps you might even come across some younglings who bug their caregivers about it, though perhaps not for reasons one may think. To them it will be just one huge play set independent of all this Star Wars stuff. Whether or not this even will get them hooked and turn them into genuine fans is anyone’s guess.
Overall I think this is another big miss for LEGO. I just don’t see who this is supposed to address other than people with too much money who buy every set, anyway, or the aforementioned special cases. Most critically it spectacularly fails at reconnecting people with the original Star Wars saga and it won’t do much to rekindle the enthusiasm for those old movies, which by all means it could have and should have done at least.
It could have been the perfect gateway drug to get people enthused for more sets, if you want to put it that way and take this cheap attitude towards the whole affair. Still, even that is now called into question and instead people will be even more careful in what sets they invest their money. Total marketing disaster? I surely think so, but that’s just me, of course…