In case you didn’t know it: It’s 20 years of LEGO Star Wars. That anniversary should be reason for celebration – or so you thought. It mostly isn’t. Now of course going on about the steady decline of Star Wars as a whole, Star Wars‘ further decline in the hands of Disney and the decline of Star Wars toy sales in general would be redundant and seems kinda pointless. However, it cannot be ignored when it comes to LEGO.
Most notably I’m baffled by how lackluster the releases this year are. I’ve never been the greatest Star Wars fan on earth and I can’t keep the character names, ship types and locations straight on the best of days, though watching the movies every now and then is just as much a guilty pleasure of mine as for many others, yet even an ignorant fool like me can’t help but feel that LEGO Star Wars is no longer what it could be or was meant to be.
I was already wary when that Cloud City thing was released and it seems that unfortunate trend of making the Star Wars sets more toyish instead of more realistic only continues. From the small battle sets to the new sets based on Star Wars – Resistance animated series to the actual 20th anniversary editions the rationale at LEGO seems to be that they can turn this train wreck around if only they either add some abstract idealistic nostalgia value or a ton of questionable play features on otherwise rudimentary sets.
Similarly, the few items that fall into the high-quality range like the UCS models or the 20th anniversary Slave 1 (75243) only re-tread the same paths over and over again. Such is also the case for the Tantive IV (75244) announced at Star Wars Celebration 2019 in Chicago. To say that some people’s reactions were less than enthusiastic would be an understatement. The irony is of course that everybody expected it to be this model thanks to rumours long having permeated the interwebs, but it just didn’t turn out as the super detailed UCS level model everyone predicted or wanted. It’s just another toy at a rather hefty price.
Now of course none of this means that this stuff won’t sell well in a “LEGO (and Disney) still make a buck.” sense, but the lukewarm reactions from a specific subset of fans don’t bode well and should cause some concern even for the upcoming Episode IX movie, the teaser trailer for which was also just released. Are we perhaps in for another slew of mediocre sets that just tick boxes without being truly great? I’m really beginning to worry. It’s just disappointing that they couldn’t come up with something better…