The LEGO Star Wars theme has come a long way over the past couple of decades, but there’s still room for improvement. Brick Fanatics lists seven ways to reinvent and reimagine a LEGO galaxy far, far away.
Comparing a LEGO Star Wars set or minifigure from today with one from 1999 is like comparing the first and last lightsaber duels between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi. You can appreciate the original for what it achieved given all the technical constraints of the time, but the modern version is just light years ahead on almost every level.
That doesn’t mean that the design team in charge of the LEGO Star Wars theme should get complacent, though. Today’s sets and minifigures may be mind-blowing next to their 20th-century ancestors, but there are still plenty of ways in which they could be improved. Here are just seven…
7 – Taller minifigures
The LEGO Harry Potter theme has already proved there’s scope to alter the height of traditional minifigures beyond either standard or short legs. The mid-sized legs introduced in the 2018 wave offer a welcome halfway house for teenage characters, with shorter – but still articulated – limbs.
LEGO Star Wars presents a similar opportunity at the other end of the scale. Characters like Darth Vader and Chewbacca are clearly much taller than their contemporaries on-screen, so longer legs to reflect that difference would be very welcome. We’re not talking anything as extreme as Toy Story’s Woody, but something between those and the standard legs would be great.
6 – Realistic robes
The LEGO Group has tried a couple of different solutions for representing robes in the Star Wars theme, but it’s always gone back to the classic one-size-fits-all fabric cape. Printing the full robes on to the minifigure worked pretty well for Ben Kenobi in 2014, but the poor colour matching across his legs left us wanting – and the LEGO Group clearly agreed, reverting to his classic cape design in 2019.
What we’d really like to see are new, plastic robe elements that cover the entire minifigure, like this one. It would limit their playability and articulation, but it would also look way better on display – and you could always just remove the robe for play purposes.
5 – New colours
The LEGO Group’s existing colour palette is pretty comprehensive, particularly where shades of colours are concerned. We’ve got plenty of reds, blues, greens, yellows, pinks and purples. But there are still only two shades of grey, and that’s really holding back the LEGO Star Wars theme, where so many sets rely so heavily on the drab tone.
We’re not asking for 50 shades of grey here, but even just a third or fourth variant could do wonders for diversifying the portfolio, and even provide a little more screen-accuracy. White is arguably too bright for the weathered and battle-worn rebel fleet of X-wings and Y-wings, but light grey doesn’t quite cut it either. A new tone between the two would be perfect – as would another shade between the current light and dark greys, primarily for detailing, but also for vehicles like the Clone Turbo Tank or AT-TE.
4 – Droid design
The current battle droid design is one of the few that has remained relatively unchanged since its introduction in 1999. Yes, we’ve had more specialised printing, and new arms to better hold the more accurate blaster rifles, but the head, torso and legs are identical to those that rolled off Billund’s production lines over two decades ago.
We’re not asking the designers to reinvent the wheel here – we’d just like to see battle droids that can move their legs independently. It would definitely take some tinkering given how spindly those robotic limbs are, but the current General Grievous design – which was perfected all the way back in 2010 – proves that anything’s possible. (And while we’re at it, R2-D2 could definitely stand to gain a rotating head and back printing.)
3 – If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
While the battle droids would benefit from an update, not every LEGO Star Wars mould requires constant tinkering. Take the Stormtrooper helmet, for instance: in our view, the LEGO Group perfected its design in 2014. But then dual-moulding swept on to the scene in 2018, and the company decided to once again overhaul the black-and-white bucket.
It’s difficult to deny that dual-moulding the black and white parts of the helmet is more impressive than just printing them, but it’s the design we take issue with. The chin sits too low, preventing the helmets from rotating, and we just can’t unsee the comparison to the Family Guy Stormtroopers. The LEGO Group has already admitted (however indirectly) that the dual-moulded rebel pilot helmets introduced at the same time were a mistake by swiftly phasing them out, so here’s hoping it one day reverts to (or at least redesigns) the Stormtrooper helmets in turn.
2 – Regular re-issues
The LEGO Star Wars theme is no stranger to redesigns. But there are some classic and severely underrepresented sets that go for insane amounts of money on the aftermarket – and with an avalanche of Star Wars TV shows set to arrive on Disney+ over the next few years, may never see a redesign. Thankfully, 2020 has given us the solution to that problem.
Back in January last year, LEGO Ideas ran a poll asking fans to vote on the next LEGO Star Wars UCS set. The Republic Gunship won out, and is rumoured to arrive later this year. We propose taking that democratic format and applying it to the concept of reissues: perhaps once every two years, the LEGO Group draws up a shortlist of retired Star Wars sets, and gets the community to vote on which one to bring back for a limited-time run in stores. It would avoid turning the entire theme into one of reissues, while giving some classic sets another lease of life (and combating those severe aftermarket prices).
1 – Force Ghost minifigures
Let’s face it: who didn’t have this at the top of their list for future LEGO Star Wars sets? We’ve been after Force Ghost minifigures ever since they appeared in LEGO Star Wars: The Videogame, all glowing, blue and invincible. For a while, though, it seemed like they would never appear, as the material used for transparent pieces apparently causes friction issues when they’re connected together – effectively ruling out an entirely transparent minifigure.
In recent years, though, the LEGO Group has seemingly changed the formula used for its transparent pieces. Newer elements appear cloudier (you can see it most obviously by comparing new and old lightsaber blades), suggesting a slightly different chemical make-up. Could that have paved the way for better connections between multiple transparent pieces, and in turn, the first LEGO Force Ghost minifigures? We can only hope.
For now, indulge in the latest batch of LEGO Star Wars sets – including 75299 Trouble on Tatooine and 75300 Imperial TIE Fighter – by heading over to LEGO.com. You can support the work that Brick Fanatics does by ordering them using our affiliate links.