In anticipation of 75326 Boba Fett’s Throne Room releasing in 2022, it’s a good time to reflect on the last visit LEGO Star Wars paid to the murky throne room in the Tatooine desert, which was a whole 10 years ago.
That much time has passed since the 717-piece 9516 Jabba’s Palace was released at a fairly hefty price of £119.99 / $119.99, which adjusted for inflation today amounts to £150 / $146. For that amount of money, though, 9516 Jabba’s Palace delivered a substantial two-part model and an unrivalled character line-up to give an iconic moment from Return of the Jedi the LEGO set it deserved.
— Set details —
Price: £119.99 / $119.99 Pieces: 717 Minifigures: 6 (10 characters in total)
— Build —
Following up from 2003’s very different 4480 Jabba’s Palace, 9516 Jabba’s Palace was an upgrade in every way, from the line-up of minifigures and characters included, to the size of the model, its functionality, and through to capturing the authenticity and feel of the location from the first act of Return of the Jedi.
The palace is split into a throne room complete with Jabba the Hutt and his moving throne, and a watch tower that includes a small entrance and is attachable to the throne room through some Technic pins.
Inside and out, 9516 Jabba’s Palace is packed with play and display potential, from the mechanised door that you can slam down and the weaponised security ‘eye’ pop-out, to the trap door installed in the throne room and the ability to shift forward Jabba’s throne over it once activated, and even to some of the most randomly-placed flick-fire missiles we have ever seen, built into the removable roof.
9516 Jabba’s Palace served up in 2012 almost every aspect that you would want from a LEGO model based on this location, primarily in how it set Jabba the Hutt centre stage, but also created such space around him – Jabba always had an audience of bounty hunters, gangsters and suchlike, and importantly there is room for such a collection of characters to congregate in LEGO form just the same.
Playability, display and minifigures aside, 9516 Jabba’s Palace also came with a curiosity in design for 2012 that was only explained six months later with the January 2013 release of 75005 Rancor Pit. In the base of 9516 Jabba’s Palace were four indents, which – as it turned out – allow for it to perfectly sit on top of 75005 Rancor Pit. While both sets were designed to exist as their own creations, this ability to combine the two transformed them into a quite ultimate creation.
This wasn’t necessarily the first time that the LEGO Group had toyed with the concept of cross-set compatibility, nor has it been the last, but it stands out even today in the LEGO Star Wars back catalogue as one of the most novel and effective examples of such creative design. It stands even today as an additional and significant bonus to both sets, and in particular to 9516 Jabba’s Palace, adding value and – quite literally – depth to everything that is already great about the set in play, display and story.
— Characters —
9516 Jabba’s Palace also provided a great head-start for collecting a significant number of characters, with a whopping 10 included, and six of them exclusive to this set. Even within such a high number, there are some notable exclusions to notice today, such as Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian, but those three were all included in 9496 Desert Skiff, which released at the same time as 9516 Jabba’s Palace.
This set includes the first and only appearances so far for Leia in Boushh disguise, Oola and Salacious B. Crumb, who represent a hat-trick of excellent minifigure design. Meanwhile, Bib Fortuna comes in 9516 Jabba’s Palace in a recoloured, redesigned appearance that is still exclusive to this set 10 years on, while Jabba the Hutt debuted here in a new, painted and highly-accurate mould, which has so far only otherwise appeared in 2013’s 75020 Jabba’s Sail Barge.
This was the second appearance for the now-quite-common-but-still-awesome Han Solo in Carbonite piece, following on from its debut in 2010’s 8097 Slave I.
— Price —
Clearly a portion of the high price of £119.99 / $119.99 (adjusted for inflation in 2022 to £150 / $146) for 9516 Jabba’s Palace can be explained away by that impressive, unique and arguably unrivalled-even-in-2022 minifigure selection. In quantity and quality, it is a self-contained line-up that fills a large LEGO set very aptly. The minifigures include several new moulds too, with Jabba himself likely to have contributed a fair chunk to the total price.
Consideration has to be made to this, because otherwise just getting 717 pieces for that money was very expensive (then and now), even for how fantastic 9516 Jabba’s Palace was designed for the time. That it still holds up today as an enjoyable, immersive build, though, suggests there was still plenty of value to be had, even at that higher price.
Today on the aftermarket, 9516 Jabba’s Palace opened may set you back around the same amount of money, whilst sealed-in-box prices come closer to £300. Yikes. Maybe after the much smaller 75326 Boba Fett’s Throne Room has been out for a while, the good people at the LEGO Group will consider revisiting the location themed around when it was Jabba’s palace.
— Pictures —
— Summary —
It’s true to say that even though there had been a LEGO Jabba’s Palace set before, 9516 Jabba’s Palace was a game-changer – there was no LEGO Star Wars set like it that had come before, and there has been nothing like it since. Part of the reason 75326 Boba Fett’s Throne Room is being met with mixed responses is in just how great 9516 Jabba’s Palace was, and for just how much it delivered on what a LEGO Star Wars fan could possibly hope or dream of for a set based on this location.
9516 Jabba’s Palace was and still is an ultimate, comprehensive LEGO Star Wars set. Really good design delivers on what you want at the time. Truly great design stands up to scrutiny years later. 9516 Jabba’s Palace does just that.
— FAQs —
How long does it take to build LEGO Star Wars 9516 Jabba’s Palace?
9516 Jabba’s Palace will have taken just over an hour to put together for an experienced builder, which is not long at all for its original price tag.
How many pieces are in LEGO Star Wars 9516 Jabba’s Palace?
There are 717 pieces included in 9516 Jabba’s Palace, including 10 characters, six of which are minifigures – and more than half of those 10 are exclusive to this set. Minifigures for Leia in Boushh disguise, Oola, Bib Fortuna and Salacious B. Crumb remain completely exclusive to this set, while Jabba the Hutt has only appeared in one other set to date.
How big is LEGO Star Wars 9516 Jabba’s Palace?
The throne room to 9516 Jabba’s Palace is built on a 20x20cm base that measures 17cm tall with the roof attached. The adjoining tower is 8×9.5cm at its base and 25.5cm in height.
How much does LEGO Star Wars 9516 Jabba’s Palace cost?
9516 Jabba’s Palace launched in June 2012 and was on shelves for 18 months, retailing at £119.99 in the UK and $119.99 in the US. Adjusted for inflation 10 years later, that is about £150, or $146.