LEGO relaunching Friends in 2023 with new characters, colours and packaging

The LEGO Group is relaunching its Friends theme in 2023 with brand new characters, colours and packaging, in order to ‘celebrate diverse friendships in the modern world’.

The current line-up of characters – including Emma, Olivia and the gang – will be represented as adults across the new sets and tie-in content, including the LEGO Friends TV show, while a new generation of mini-dolls will be front and centre from January 2023. The new cast is the result of extensive research, testing with kids and letters received by the LEGO Group, all of which pointed to a desire by kids to see better representation across LEGO Friends.

As a result, the new characters, sets and storylines embrace a more diverse mix of skin tones, physical and non-visible disabilities and neurodiversity. According to a press release from the LEGO Group, the new sets will include characters with limb difference, anxiety, vitiligo, Downs Syndrome and more, while the narratives in wider content will better reflect modern-day friendships.

LEGO Friends 2023 mini doll characters names

“At the LEGO Group, we understand that children want the characters they encounter to be more like the diverse personalities they meet in real-life,” said LEGO Friends Head of Product Tracie Chiarella. “We’re continuously evolving our products so that they’re reflective of society today and that’s why we’re proud to launch this brand-new generation of LEGO Friends.

“We want children to see the new LEGO Friends Universe, both in the physical product and the content we’re launching in 2023, as a reflection of their own friendships and to see the characters as authentic. We have chosen to evolve the LEGO Friends Universe and TV show to be more inclusive in order to give parents and kids more tools to navigate friendship and their emotions as they grow and learn.”

The eight new core characters include five girls and three boys, and the LEGO Group has come up with incredibly fleshed-out backstories for each of them. Their personalities will apparently be communicated as much through details in particular sets as wider Friends Universe content, such as the LEGO Friends TV show, but their bios will presumably also be accessible online at LEGO.com.

The LEGO Group’s Play Well Study 2022 also contributed to the Friends relaunch, with key takeaways including that almost 75% of kids feel that there are not enough toys that represent them, while eight in 10 children want more characters that look like them.

The TV show’s new storylines, meanwhile, have been developed in collaboration with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, in order to ensure the characters’ journeys are ‘relatable, inclusive, and reflective of the difficulties and experiences that children face today, including the ups and downs of friendships’. A LEGO Friends TV special will air in February 2023, kick-starting the new series.

Click here to take a closer look at the first wave of LEGO Friends sets announced for 2023. These products leave behind the theme’s typical pink-dominated packaging (and unusually-shaped boxes), adopting a colour scheme led by teal and purple.

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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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