This year marks 20 years since LEGO and Lucasfilm came to an agreement and LEGO Star Wars sets were born. Since that time more than 700 sets and more than 1000 minifigures have been released. To celebrate this milestone, LEGO celebrated with five special anniversary sets. In addition, they had a huge display on the floor of the expo and held a special presentation at this year’s Fan Expo in Toronto, Canada.
Creating LEGO Star Wars
Nick, a creative LEGO builder and host of his own Twitch show BrickinNick, moderated the Q&A. Representing LEGO was Michael Lee Stockwell, Star Wars Design Manager. The recent release of a special edition set, Boba Fett’s Slave 1 was Stockwell’s own contribution to the 20 years. Although there had been a previous LEGO Slave 1 set in 2000, it was much smaller only containing 166 pieces. The new 20th Anniversary Slave 1 set boasts a 1,007 pieces and features enhancements in both aesthetics and playability.
Creating LEGO Slave 1 Redux
Some fans have been disappointed with the 20th Anniversary collection released by LEGO. However, according to Michael Lee Stowkwell LEGO went to great lengths to honor the original toys. The 20th Anniversary sets included Anakin’s Podracer (75258), Imperial Dropship (75262), Slave 1 (75243), Snowspeeder (75259) and Clone Scout Walker (75261). Each set includes a reissue of one of the five original Star Wars minifigures.
Michael Lee Stockwell talked about the creative process behind creating LEGO Star Wars sets. The Slave 1 set he worked on included extensive research. He used the original artwork and screen shots from 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back. Stockwell even visited Pinewood Studios and used the original models for reference.
Stockwell shared a humorous story while talking about the testing that goes into LEGO sets. Most fans may be unaware that LEGO sets go through extensive heat testing before being released. The way they test this is by baking completed LEGO Star Wars sets in an oven. When it came to testing the Millennium Falcon set (75192), the largest Millennium Falcon model ever created, it would not fit in their test oven. He went on the say that LEGO employees snuck the model into a sauna at a public spa in order to expose the set to heat.
Celebrating LEGO on the Expo floor
In addition to the Q&A presentation during the Fan Expo, LEGO had a massive presence on the Expo floor. In their booth, which of course included a LEGO store where you could buy many of their Star Wars LEGO sets, they had many of their sets on display along a chronological timeline. Also on display were several LEGO art installations, including a 3D poster from Star Wars: A New Hope and the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon which contained over 200,000 bricks and took over 700 hours to build according to one LEGO representative.
Also on display down the street from the Toronto Convention Center at Toronto’s Union Station was the world’s largest display of LEGO Star Wars minifigures. The display was made up of 36,440 Stormtrooper minifigures and created a silhouette of a Stormtroopers helmet. You can check out all the LEGO Star Wars sets and more on LEGO.com.