In the earliest days of the LEGO Star Wars theme, the LEGO Group elected to focus solely on the movies for inspiration for its sets, ignoring TV shows, video games and other peripheral source material. Among those was the sublime 2003 series Star Wars: Clone Wars (note: not The Clone Wars), which channelled the saga through Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky’s unique art style.
Acting as a precursor to Revenge of the Sith, the series memorably introduced General Grievous as a formidable (and properly menacing) baddie, before the mainline series recast him as more of a panto villain. But it was also notable for its gleefully over-the-top portrayal of the Force, its introduction of Asajj Ventress, and how perfectly its aesthetic married up with lightsabers, Clone Troopers and gunships.
All of that would arguably have made for some winning LEGO sets in 2003, pushing beyond the curve of Attack of the Clones and the original trilogy to bring us unique vehicles and characters. From colour-tinted ARC Troopers and wild starfighter designs to an early Grievous minifigure and even the bounty hunter Durge (remember him?), the early-‘00s landscape of LEGO Star Wars could have been very different.
In fact, it could have looked a little something like this…
Those images come from Instagram user gunnbuilding, who recently embarked on a project to bring the 2003 Clone Wars series to life as LEGO sets from the era. That means yellow-skinned minifigures, prints that match the early-‘00s aesthetic, and builds that only use parts available in 2003.
Created in digital design program Mecabricks, the concepts are imbued with all the LEGO Star Wars hallmarks of (what would have been) their time, from classic megaphone blasters and simplistic designs to sand red Battle Droid and metallic blue Super Battle Droid minifigures. They’ve taken a couple of creative liberties based on Mecabricks’ part library, but the results are still a huge nostalgia trigger.
The LEGO Group did eventually tip its hat to the 2003 series with 75087 Anakin’s Custom Jedi Starfighter – a ship that gunnbuilding has also mocked up, using 7143 Jedi Starfighter as a base – but not for another 12 years, by which point the aesthetic of the entire theme had obviously moved on a fair bit.