Assessing the state of LEGO Star Wars in 2024: ‘I wish there was more willingness to try things’

As LEGO Star Wars turns 25 years old, some of the most prominent members of the community offer their thoughts on what the theme is doing well – and what it could be doing better.

Twenty-five years is a long time in pretty much any walk of life, and certainly when it comes to the lifespan of LEGO themes: few (if any) product lines can boast that kind of continuous longevity. But as of 2024, LEGO Star Wars has managed it – and consistently finds itself among the LEGO Group’s best-selling themes. The LEGO Group and Lucasfilm are clearly doing something right.

But what exactly? What is it that’s been keeping this theme going for so long, and where does it have room to improve over the next 25 years? Those are the questions we put to some of the LEGO Star Wars community’s most prominent members in a bid to assess the state of a brick-built galaxy far, far away in 2024.

Image: Graham E. Hancock

“The thing that LEGO Star Wars has been doing really well recently is offering a range of different product types,” says The Force of Creativity author Graham E. Hancock. “Which LEGO Star Wars has always done to some extent, but if you go back a few years, you pretty much had play-scale models, or Ultimate Collector Series models, and those were your two options.


“But then with the Helmet Collection, the Diorama Collection and now the Starship Collection, there is literally something for you no matter what your interest is.”

That segmented approach to the LEGO Star Wars line is apparent not only across the different types of sets the theme is putting out these days, but also within the subject matter for those specific models. There’s a whole galaxy of content to draw from at the moment – the Skywalker Saga, the Disney+ shows, video games, and more besides – which makes for a fine balancing act.

Image: MandRproductions

“I think they are doing a really good job with their overall selection of sets and feeding all the mouths: original trilogy, prequel trilogy, new media, TV shows, animated shows, and even things like Darth Malak for the 25th anniversary; really weird off the rails stuff that you would never think we would get, which is great,” says Ryan McCullough (also known as MandRproductions on YouTube).

“I think they are feeding all the mouths more or less properly. Quality wise, that’s another question. But the things they’re releasing just on paper, that’s good.” Some of those, Ryan notes, include the 18+ sets that have been on shelves since 2020, when the LEGO Group branched out its marketing across multiple themes to appeal directly to adults.

“All these things could exist as younger kid playsets,” he says. “A lot of the younger kid playsets also are nice adult display sets. But a lot of these things that they are making for adults are really nice. And they’re bringing a lot of new people into the hobby who would have otherwise just looked at LEGO as just a kid’s toy.”

There is a potential downside to this fracturing of the product line, however: the need to fit everything into specific boxes can limit the potential for experimentation.

“I was actually thinking about NINJAGO recently, because they did [71819 Dragon Stone Shrine],” Ryan adds. “And they have the NINJAGO City sets, but that’s the closest they’ve gotten to not a true kids’ playset for NINJAGO. And it does make you look at a theme like LEGO Star Wars and think, ‘There are a lot of subcategories for LEGO Star Wars.’ And in some regards, maybe there’s too many.

“That’s why they’ve maybe gone and cut off one of the many heads of LEGO Star Wars with the Helmet Collection. You have to get rid of one so that you can have the other with the Starship Collection.”

Image: Chris Pearce

It wasn’t always like this. As Graham said up top, the LEGO Star Wars theme once consisted of only playsets and the UCS line (save for the odd subtheme like Mini sets or Planets). And for Brickset’s Chris Pearce (or CapnRex101), LEGO Star Wars is at its best when it has scope to be truly flexible.

LEGO Star Wars around the sort of 2012 to 2014 time period seemed to have a very great degree of flexibility to just try whatever,” Chris says. “That’s where we saw the Azure Angel from the 2003 Clone Wars series, for example, and battle packs and all sorts of obscure Clone Troopers that people want. 

“Then, while the sequels were going on, and the Disney movies were coming out, the range became dominated by sets from those new films and the Disney+ series, and so there wasn’t the same opportunity to attempt more innovative things.” In this post-Skywalker Saga era, though – the disposable age of LEGO Star Wars sets, if you will – the narrative is starting to shift again.

“I think now we’re seeing a bit more of a balance,” Chris adds. “That’s partly because of the fact that there is not so much new content coming out. So LEGO Star Wars has more opportunity to go back and do whatever they might want to do, to revisit things or to do characters they’ve never done before, like we’ve seen in the 25th anniversary sets.

“That being said, I still think the envelope can be pushed further, shall we say. I think the general standard of the sets is very good, but I still wish there was a bit more willingness to try things that are a bit riskier.”

Ryan and Chris both draw further parallels between the LEGO Star Wars theme and its licensed contemporaries, which perhaps don’t suffer from the same segmented experience and inflexibility.

LEGO Star Wars has a bit of a different situation to the licensed themes that we regularly think of like Marvel and Harry Potter,” Chris explains. “In many cases, they have certain subjects which they can draw from and go back to often. But they often have a great deal of flexibility in how they can do them, like Gringotts – there are many different ways they could have done that as a set. LEGO Star Wars doesn’t necessarily have that flexibility. 

“If you’re making a minifigure-scale X-wing, you’re pretty limited in what you can do. But there is such a breadth of things to do, which the likes of Harry Potter, Marvel and so on don’t necessarily have. They don’t have 500 vehicles that are well-known enough to make a LEGO set of, where I would say Star Wars probably does.”

“Look at a theme like Batman, where they’ll do the Batcave box, or the big skyline,” Ryan adds. “I feel like with Star Wars, you’d never get those one-off sets. Or the Black Panther bust – maybe [2001’s 10018] Darth Maul counts, but today, they wouldn’t do that. They would have to be part of a bigger thing. And maybe it would be nice if they would do a little riskier thing from time to time. But then again, Black Panther went poorly, so maybe it’s a good idea that they don’t.”

Does this mean the LEGO Star Wars theme is finally growing stale after 25 years on shelves? Not according to Chris, who points to a few recent surprises as evidence that the LEGO Group is beginning to better understand its audience.

“If you go back three or four years, I don’t think we would have seen something like the UCS Venator,” he says. “I just don’t think it would have even been considered. I also think it took LEGO Star Wars quite a long time to realise that the age of LEGO Star Wars fans has of course changed. The people who grew up with the Clone Wars are now adults, and so there is that market there for 18+ prequel sets.

“There’s obviously so much stuff that they haven’t done, particularly in the prequels, but also the original trilogy. I think up to now they’ve thought it’s too obscure. But I would like to think they are coming to realise that there’s almost nothing that’s too obscure at this point. Perhaps they’re a little unsure about whether the market’s there, and of course they can see the sales numbers, so maybe they look at things like the UCS Gunship and think, ‘Oh, actually, that performed just okay.’ So who knows?”

There is one segment of the LEGO Star Wars market that the company does seem to explicitly acknowledge and understand. And given we’re now 25 years into the theme, maybe it’s one of the most important (beyond its core audience of children, obvs).

“There’s probably people who have collected LEGO Star Wars sets for such a long time that they’ve already got a minifigure-scale Sith Infiltrator and they don’t necessarily need another one,” Graham says. “But it means that you can look at these new formats and buy a few of these instead. The number of options that you’ve got now just makes collecting LEGO Star Wars sets still interesting after 25 years. It’s really impressive that you can still get excited about a new LEGO Star Wars set.”

Check out all our LEGO Star Wars 25th anniversary coverage here, and don’t miss all the best LEGO May the 4th 2024 deals.

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Author Profile

Chris Wharfe
I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then.

Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then.

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