75339 Death Star Trash Compactor is notable not only for being one of three new LEGO Star Wars 18+ sets arriving next month, but also for introducing brand new versions of two of the theme’s most iconic characters in C-3PO and R2-D2. The protocol droid has arm printing for the first time since The Force Awakens’ red-armed version, while the astromech has back printing for the first time full stop.
If you’re hesitant to pick up the relatively expensive 75339 Death Star Trash Compactor Diorama when it launches next month, however, and are hoping the droids will simply show up in another set down the line, you might be waiting a while. According to LEGO Star Wars Creative Lead Jens Kronvold Frederiksen, this version of Threepio isn’t a new standard for all future sets.
“It is something we are doing when we want to add something extra,” Jens explains. “It’s not something that we will necessarily do in any set [with] C-3PO. But here, [the set] is for display, and we also want to give something extra in that regard. So that’s why we’ve decided to do it in this set, but it’s not a rule that it’s going to be like that in any set from now on.”
Pressed for further explanation on why C-3PO with arm printing is considered ‘extra’ – and can’t simply become the new norm – Jens elaborates that it essentially boils down to meeting the budget for any given set.
“Arm printing is not something that comes for free,” the designer says. “Sometimes, if we have a play theme model, we want to put in a few more bricks, and [removing arm printing] is the way to actually be able to do that. It’s a decision where we say, ‘What is the focus here?’ And again, here we have something that’s for display, and something where we know that it’ll be adults and collectors who will buy and build this.”
That doesn’t mean we’ll never see this more detailed version of the Threepio minifigure again, of course. It just means that it’s more likely to be reserved for LEGO Star Wars display sets, rather than playsets. But if the Diorama Collection continues beyond this initial wave, there’s a good chance the protocol droid could pop up in one of those again – he’s fairly ubiquitous character, after all.
75339 Death Star Trash Compactor Diorama launches on April 26, alongside 75329 Death Star Trench Run Diorama and 75330 Dagobah Jedi Training Diorama. Head over to LEGO.com to pre-order your copies now.