SWCC 2019: 6 Things We Learned from the LEGO Star Wars 20th Anniversary Panel


Not only does 2019 mark the 20th anniversary of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars Celebration, but that of LEGO Star Wars, as well. A full playset of LEGO Star Wars creators assembled on the Galaxy Stage at Star Wars Celebration Chicago to share reminiscences, insights, and a couple brand-new announcements. Here’s what we learned.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

1. The return of the Tantive IVFor many LEGO fans, the best moment was the announcement of a re-imagined Tantive IV vehicle set. The new and improved creation sports 1,768 pieces and includes six minifigures, including Bail Organa and a brand new Princess Leia sporting a rare skirt element rather than the traditional legs. Limited sets will be made available here at Celebration (some fans at the panel left before its conclusion to jump in line) and will be available to the public on May the 4th.

2. The man who knows every brick. Jens Kronvold Frederiksen — LEGO’s design director for Star Wars — is truly at the heart of the LEGO Star Wars creative process. He’s been there since the beginning in 1999 (his first Star Wars creation was the Y-wing fighter).

Frederiksen stresses the creative solutions to LEGO design problems. Rather than produce a brand-new piece, Frederiksen and his team try to discover a new way to use an existing LEGO brick. “You can build everything out of bricks you have at home,” he explained.

Chris Gollaher — Lucasfilm’s director of product development — is a longtime collaborator with Frederiksen, and recalled that during one challenging phase of re-designing Sebulba’s podracer for new release, Frederiksen was quickly able to identify the best existing brick to fit the need. Gollaher remembered thinking, “This guy has every LEGO brick memorized.”

3. First steps into a larger world of games. “We’re actually getting paid to do our hobby,” commented Jeremy Pardon of TT Games, which produces the animation for the LEGO Star Wars video games. “We’re remaking and reimagining some of the most beloved movies and TV shows of all time,” added Douglas Reilly, head of Lucasfilm Games, “but what LEGO gives us is the opportunity to take serious moments and flip them on their head with humor and and whimsy.”

Reilly remembered how the early LEGO Star Wars games were presented without dialogue from any characters; thus Darth Vader demonstrated his relationship to Luke Skywalker by attempting to show him polaroid photos of Luke and his sister Leia as children. “It takes the edge off,” Reilly continued.

More than one person noted that for many young fans in recent years, the LEGO Star Wars games have been their entry point to a galaxy far, far away.

The Freemakers from LEGO Star Wars.

4. The stories behind animated Star Wars adventures. In addition to the iconic toys, LEGO Star Wars creators from the world of animation joined the panel. “All of us at LEGO who work on Star Wars are huge Star Wars fans,” explained Executive Producer Keith Malone.

Writer and director Michael Price picked up the lucky assignment of producing fun-filled animated adventures including The Yoda Chronicles and The Padawan Menace. He later worked to adapt new feature film projects such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “We had to write things not knowing what anything was,” he recalled, citing the limited reference material then available.

Lucasfilm’s Michael Price — director of live action & animated series development — was among those behind the creation of LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, “a big step forward in LEGO Star Wars storytelling,” as he explained, showcasing wholly original characters.

5. The greatest battles are built by you! When asked what project had been their favorite, LEGO Senior Marketing Manager Theresa Eleonora Christoffersen answered, “what I am doing now,” which involves a rare opportunity for fans at Celebration to participate directly in a LEGO Star Wars story.

In an initiative called LEGO Star Wars Greatest Battles Built by You, fans here at Star Wars Celebration are getting the chance to narrate their own LEGO Star Wars adventure. LEGO filmmakers are gathering audio stories from fans young and old, hand-picking their favorites, and adapting them into brand-new LEGO Star Wars animated films set to debut at special anniversary festivities later this year.

6. Creativity passed down. What has made LEGO Star Wars so enduring? For Christoffersen, it’s that “the essence [of Lucasfilm and LEGO] is creativity. It’s what brings us together.” Frederiksen would add that “we have these stories being passed from generation to generation, and now the toys are being passed down in the same way.” It all adds up to inspiration. “We’ll go another 20 years,” as Frederiksen concluded.

See more images from the new Tantive IV set below!

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

LEGO Star Wars Tantive IV set.

Visit StarWars.com’s Star Wars Celebration Chicago hub for all the latest Celebration news.

Lucas O. Seastrom is a publicity writer at Lucasfilm. He grew up on a farm in California’s Central Valley and is a lifelong Star Wars and Indiana Jones fan.

Site tags: #SWCCPanel, #StarWarsCelebrationChicago2019

SWCC 2019: 6 Things We Learned from the LEGO Star Wars 20th Anniversary Panel

SWCC 2019: LEGO Breaks Guinness World Record with an Army of 36,440 Stormtrooper Minifigures


With this many stormtroopers on Endor, the Empire probably would’ve won.

To open Star Wars Celebration Chicago and celebrate the 20th anniversary of LEGO Star Wars, LEGO has gathered an entire legion of its own best troops, and in historic fashion: the company has achieved a Guinness World Records title for largest display of LEGO Star Wars minifigures — featuring an astonishing 36,440 stormtroopers. Now available for fans to see on the show floor, the minifigures are arranged in the shape of a massive stormtrooper helmet, requiring 12 LEGO employees working 16 hours to place.

“We really wanted to something that would be memorable,” says Michael McNally, senior director of brand relations at LEGO. “A lot of times we build really large things with our master builders, so we thought that we might change it up this time and go small scale [Laughs], and really focus on the minifigure. The minifigures have really become one of the most iconic parts of LEGO Star Wars over the years. There have been over a thousand different versions of Star Wars minifigures, so we thought it was great way to mark the milestone.”

LEGO Star Wars Design Director Jens Kronvold Frederiksen places a final piece on the largest display of LEGO Star Wars minifigures ever at Star Wars Celebration Chicago.

LEGO Star Wars Design Director Jens Kronvold Frederiksen places a final piece on the massive display at Star Wars Celebration Chicago. (Alex Garcia/AP Images for The LEGO Group)

LEGO has broken Guinness records before, but this was the company’s first attempt at a minifigure assembly in the US. Before it could be attempted, however, LEGO had to find out if they had the inventory. “We put in the emergency red phone call over to our colleagues in the Czech Republic, and they checked our central inventory of minifigure parts,” McNally says. “It turns out we had enough of the stormtrooper minifigure parts to break the record.” Plus, the version of the stormtrooper used is included in one of the five commemorative sets — the Imperial Dropship — launching this year for the 20th anniversary. “So it’s a nice nod to the anniversary, as well,” McNally adds.

GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Adjudicator, Christina Flounders Colon, counts stormtrooper minifigures in assessment of the LEGO Group’s attempt to break the record for largest display of LEGO Star Wars minifigures at Star Wars Celebration at McCormick Place in Chicago, April 11, 2019. (Alex Garcia/AP Images for The LEGO Group)

Guinness World Records adjudicator, Christina Flounders Colon, counts stormtrooper minifigures at Star Wars Celebration Chicago. (Alex Garcia/AP Images for The LEGO Group)

Michael McNally, LEGO Group senior director of brand relations, right, accepts a certificate of achievement from Guinness World Records.

Michael McNally, LEGO Group senior director of brand relations, right, accepts a certificate of achievement from Guinness World Records. (Alex Garcia/AP Images for The LEGO Group)

The model builders had to put each minifigure together the way you would when purchasing a set, and the overall helmet layout added an extra design hurdle. “The last time the world record was attempted, they were just lined up on base plates, straight in a row with no real formation,” McNally says.

That's a lot of stormtrooper minifigures.

That’s a lot of stormtrooper minifigures. (Alex Garcia/AP Images for The LEGO Group)

It is an impressive sight in person — and a steady stream of fans have been taking photos in front of the display since its unveiling. “Really, it’s about surprise and delight when it comes to any kind of Star Wars activation that we do,” McNally says. “It was really about creating a visual that would stop fans in their tracks and remind them, Wow. Twenty years of LEGO Star Wars.” On those grounds, we’d say these stormtroopers accomplished their mission.

If you’re attending Star Wars Celebration Chicago, be sure to check out the stormtrooper minifigure display and visit the LEGO booth (#1616) for more surprises.

Visit StarWars.com’s Star Wars Celebration Chicago hub for all the latest Celebration news.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Site tags: #StarWarsCelebrationChicago2019, #SWCCNews

SWCC 2019: LEGO Breaks Guinness World Record with an Army of 36,440 Stormtrooper Minifigures

Open Channel: What’s Your Favorite Lego Star Wars Memory?


On April 9, 1999, the toy industry changed forever. After years of making its own worlds and sets, Lego’s first-ever licensed range of building toys hit shelves: Star Wars. Twenty years later, the line is still thriving—so to celebrate, we want to hear your memories of being whisked to the brick-built galaxy far, far…

Read more…


Replaying the Classics: LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars


In Replaying the Classics, StarWars.com revisits Star Wars games of yesteryear, examining why we loved them then and why they stand the test of time.

In another recent column, we looked at LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga and what made it such a special game. Much like the toys themselves, it combined the playful world of LEGO bricks with the imaginative sandbox of a galaxy far, far away. However, those first two chapters of the LEGO Star Wars saga focused on the six live-action films released between 1977 and 2005.

In 2011, Traveller’s Tales launched the third chapter in its ambitious crossover series, this time centered on the fan-favorite animated show Star Wars: The Clone Wars. LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars pushes the video-game series forward with a new, more powerful engine that showcases the vast potential of the LEGO Star Wars partnership. It also features over 20 story missions, 40 bonus levels, and 115 characters inspired by Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and the first two seasons of the beloved television series.

The Battle of Geonosis in LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars.

The game begins during the third act of Attack of the Clones, with Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala being led into the arena on Geonosis, handcuffed and wordlessly pledging their love for one another. John Williams’s “Across the Stars” — perhaps the most underrated composition from four decades of Star Wars soundtracks — plays over the cheering of bug-like Geonosians eager for a showy public execution. This prologue puts the game’s strengths right out front, giving you multiple LEGO minifig characters to control, elaborate puzzles to solve, and a large-scale ground battle with hundreds of AI combatants to cut down.

Like the animated series, the action in LEGO Star Wars III takes place all across the galaxy, sending the player to 16 familiar star systems like Christophsis, Toydaria, Naboo, and Ryloth. Missions are book-ended by dazzling cinematics that evoke the epic scale of the show, and the musical score includes some of the greatest themes by both Clone Wars mainstay Kevin Kiner and the legendary John Williams.

Ahsoka Tano in LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars.

You’ll get the chance to play with all your favorite Clone Wars characters in minifigure form — General Grievous, Cad Bane, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé Amidala, Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Mace Windu, Master Yoda, Kit Fisto, Nahdar Vebb, Luminara Unduli, Asajj Ventress, Jar Jar Binks, Count Dooku, and more. And with new and improved facial animations, the LEGO Star Wars series’s trademark slapstick, silent-film comedy is dialed all the way up; this game manages to make even Jango Fett’s decapitation funny. If you enjoy big boss fights and wild Star Wars creatures like Grievous’s pet roggwart, Gor, or the dreaded Zillo Beast, you’ll have plenty to look forward to on that front. Not to mention that the lightsaber combat and spaceflight sequences are more dynamic and fun than ever.

Whether you’re flying solo or playing couch co-op with a Padawan, you can see more of the LEGO-brick battlefield than ever before by swapping back and forth, in real time, between distinct scenes occurring simultaneously in different locations. Hop aboard General Skywalker’s Venator-class Star Destroyer, the Resolute, and experience the Clone Wars firsthand — in a way the whole family can enjoy.

LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is available on Xbox One, Steam, GOG.com, the Humble Store, and the PlayStation Store for PSP.

Alex Kane is a journalist based in west-central Illinois. He has written for Polygon, the website of Rolling Stone, Syfy Wire, Variety, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @alexjkane.

Replaying the Classics: LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

LEGO Star Wars: All-Stars Debuts October 29


Fans of bricks and blasters, get ready: LEGO Star Wars: All-Stars, a new animated adventure series that spans all Star Wars eras, will debut Monday, October 29, on Disney XD YouTube and DisneyNOW. Comprised of eight shorts and four half-hour episodes, the series features LEGO versions of the latest heroes and villains of the Star Wars galaxy alongside iconic characters including Kylo Ren, R2-D2, Young Han, Chewie, Young Lando, BB-8, and General Leia. You can check out a special sneak peek and the official key art below!

LEGO Star Wars: All-Stars official key art featuring Han Solo, Kylo Ren, and more.

Look for the first five shorts to arrive daily the week of Monday, October 29, to Friday, November 2, culminating in a compilation special highlighting three additional shorts on Saturday, November 10 at 11:00 a.m. EST/PST. Following the debut of the shorts, four half-hour episodes will premiere Saturdays from November 17 to December 8 (11:00 a.m., EST/PST) on Disney XD and DisneyNOW.

LEGO Star Wars: All-Stars is a production of Wil Film, the LEGO Group, and Lucasfilm. Developed for television by Bill Motz and Bob Roth (LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, Penguins of Madagascar), they join Jill Wilfert and Erik Wilstrup as executive producers (LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures).

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.