A brief history of LEGO’s random relationship with Mace Windu

Is there any Jedi the LEGO Group has had a more random relationship with than Mace Windu? Not going by the past two decades of LEGO Star Wars sets…

75342 Republic Fighter Tank is the latest – and perhaps the most baffling – moment in a history of LEGO Mace Windu minifigures that runs all the way back to 2005, when the very first one showed up in 7261 Clone Turbo Tank. In the years since, the Jedi has made sporadic appearances across prequel-era sets – and while some of those have made sense, others have been random at best, and the rest genuinely bizarre.

To demonstrate what we’re talking about, here’s a rundown of LEGO Mace Windu’s weirdest inclusions in the LEGO Star Wars line-up over the past 17 years, culminating in one that’s just about to hit shelves – and feels more out of left-field than perhaps any other to date.

7261 Clone Turbo Tank (x2)

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The most serious Jedi in all of Star Wars originally debuted in Revenge of the Sith’s tie-in wave with a light-up lightsaber glued to his arm. It was clear the LEGO Group only had access to vague concept art when coming up with 7261 Clone Turbo Tank’s minifigure roster, though, because Mace Windu never appeared anywhere near Kashyyyk in the movie.

A revised version of this set swapped out the light-up lightsaber variant with a standard Mace Windu minifigure, but that didn’t resolve his random inclusion in a set that he had nothing to do with canonically. So far, so bizarre.

8019 Republic Attack Shuttle

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Mace didn’t appear again until 2009, this time under the LEGO Star Wars: The Clone Wars umbrella. If you remember those early TV show sets, you’ll know their minifigures had a very distinctive art style. And while the ‘big anime eyes’ look wasn’t unique to Mace Windu, his presence in 8019 Republic Attack Shuttle felt random if only because it was such a generic vehicle that any number of more interesting Jedi could easily have taken his place.

Even the official product images make him feel like an afterthought, just hanging out next to the shuttle. Not quite as weird as his first appearance, but we’re still verging on, ‘erm, okay’ territory.

9526 Palpatine’s Arrest

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Another Clone Wars set with Mace came and went between 8019 Republic Attack Shuttle and 9526 Palpatine’s Arrest – 7868 Mace Windu’s Jedi Starfighter – but pretty much every Jedi got a starfighter at some point in the late ‘00s/early ‘10s, so that was par for the course. But when this Revenge of the Sith set rolled on to shelves in 2012, it was notable precisely for how weird it wasn’t.

When you think of Mace Windu in Star Wars, you think of him limbless, electrified and flying out of a window. It was as cool a death scene as you’d expect for a character played by Samuel L. Jackson, and captured almost perfectly in 9526 Palpatine’s Arrest. This is the set that has always made the most sense for Mace, so it’s worth talking about if only to highlight how rarely that has been the case.

75199 General Grievous’ Combat Speeder

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What is there to say about 75199 General Grievous’ Combat Speeder that isn’t immediately obvious just from looking at the image above? Well, there’s the fact that despite being obscure and oversized, it’s one of only a handful of Clone Wars sets that arrived in the late 2010s, the other three being a pair of Jedi Starfighters and 75182 Republic Fighter Tank.

Then there’s the astonishing price tag of £25.99 / $29.99 / €29.99, obviously inflated by the speeder’s large pieces and that Grievous minifigure, but still far beyond what anyone should have been willing to pay for a LEGO Star Wars set like this. And in the midst of all that – for whatever reason – was Mace Windu.

75309 Republic Gunship

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The controversy around 75309 Republic Gunship’s minifigures is a tale well told by this point, but if you’re out of the loop, suffice to say that nobody expected Mace Windu. The original poll to find the next Ultimate Collector Series set – which saw the Gunship triumph over the Nebulon-B Frigate and TIE Bomber – also asked fans to suggest a minifigure or two. And while the LEGO Group has never publicly divulged the answers it received, it seems unlikely that everyone was clamouring for Mace.

That particular character – over, say, the fan-favourite (although admittedly obscure) Jedi Bob – is even more puzzling in hindsight, given a better version of the minifigure is about to hit shelves in a much cheaper set. Inexplicable, in fact.

75342 Republic Fighter Tank

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Which brings us to 2022, and potentially the most baffling set anchored around Mace Windu to date. 75342 Republic Fighter Tank is the third iteration of a vehicle that’s only ever made fleeting appearances in TV shows and video games, and includes Mace and three of his purple-tinted 187th Legion Clone Troopers.

But even those troopers technically aren’t canon, and are instead seemingly based on an action figure pack released by Hasbro in 2007, right down to describing the Airborne Trooper as a Clone Commander. It’s such an unlikely direction for the LEGO Star Wars theme that initial rumours of the set were basically dismissed out of hand, but it’s very much the real deal.

And thus, the LEGO Group’s random relationship with Mace Windu adds another string to its bow. What’s next? A Mace Windu bust in the LEGO Star Wars Helmet Collection? A buildable lightsaber (complete with blade) as a regular retail set, rather than a gift-with-purchase? A Mace Windu battle pack? The possibilities are endless. We’re through the looking glass here, people.

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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. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

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