Collecting the Galaxy: 15 Years of LEGO Star Wars, Part 4

StarWars.com completes its look back at the history LEGO Star Wars!

This is the final part of our look back at LEGO Star Wars since its introduction in 1999 (if you missed them, be sure to check out parts one, two, and three). The first part dealt with the introduction of the franchise through to 2005, part two looked 2006 through to the 10th anniversary of LEGO Star Wars in 2009 and part three looked at 2010 through to 2012. This fourth and final part will look at 2013 to present day including the 15th anniversary of the franchise in 2014.

Before we delve into the 2013 releases, to-date we’ve had some 300 sets released (excluding the 3-in-1 sets that combine existing sets together and these are not included in any counts here) taking the minifigure count to almost 450 unique figures.

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2013 was busier than 2012 with six more sets being released taking the count to 41. The planets that were first released in 2012 continued in 2013 with two new series of three sets (#75006 – 75011), but these were to be the last and Series 4, the final series, featuring Snowspeeder & Hoth, B-Wing Starfighter & Endor, and Tantive IV & Alderaan were hard to find in some territories.

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At the New York Toy Fair in February many of the world’s press, including myself, missed the LEGO breakfast party due to inclement weather, making that year’s gift of The Yoda’s Chronicles cube featuring Yoda wearing an ‘NY I Love’ t-shirt on the corner of a New York street block exceptionally difficult to obtain and is now highly collectible.

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Polybags in 2013 included mini builds of the Z-95 Headhunter (#30240), Mandalorian Fighter (#30241), Republic Frigate (#30242), and Umbaran MHC (#30243). Han Solo (Hoth) was released for May 4th as an exclusive at LEGO shops and on-line whilst the Clone Trooper Lieutenant was given away at the LEGOLAND California Star Wars Weekends in June and also via LEGO.com in September and November in the US and UK respectively.

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AT LEGO brand stores around the world, customers were given the ability to build a Holocron Droid made up of 31 pieces on May 1. The first of two Ultimate Collector Series (UCS) sets for 2013 was released on May 4th — the Red Five X-Wing Starfighter (#10240) featuring 1,559 pieces (259 more than the first UCS X-wing release in 2000) and also came with an R2-D2 minifigure. Toys ‘R’ Us celebrated May the 4th with an in-store building event (US only) to build a 40 piece mini JEK-14 Stealth Fighter.

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To celebrate the release of The Yoda Chronicles TV special LEGO revealed their largest build ever — a life-size X-wing built in scale to the X-wing released in 2012 (#9493) but some 42 times bigger! This was shown off in Times Square on May 23 to huge crowds and you can have your photograph taken piloting this most impressive starfighter. A promotional set, featuring 408 pieces, inviting select journalists to this event was sent out to a select few and featured the Holocron Chamber from the Jedi Temple along with Yoda, a Padawan, and Holocron Droid. The Toys R Us store in Times Square offered an exclusive version (limited to just 1,000 sets) of the X-Wing set from 2012 with a cardboard wraparound and exclusive Yoda minifigure wearing a NY I Love T-shirt. JEK-14’s Stealth Starfighter (#75018) was also released to coincide with The Yoda Chronicles and included 4 exclusive minifigures of JEK-14, Bounty Hunter, R4-G0, and Special Forces Clone Trooper.

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San Diego Comic-Con continued the theme of Microfighters with a mini version of JEK-14’s Stealth Starfighter, complete with JEK-14. Unlike previous Microfighters this came in a box rather than a tin and was only available at the show.

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Since the 3D release of Attack of the Clones had been postponed, it was too late for products that had already been put into production to be stopped, and 2013 saw many of these being released with six sets from Episode II including the Clone Troopers vs. Droidekas (#75000); Corporate Alliance Tank Droid (#75015), which featured a new Jango Fett minifigure for the first time since 2002; Homing Spider Droid (#75016) which included Stass Allie minifigure for the first time; Duel on Geonosis (#75017) with a new Yoda, Count Dooku and a first time release for Poggle the Lesser and FA-4 Pilot Droid; AT-TE (#75019) with a new Mace Windu, Battle Droid Commander and first time release for the Clone Trooper Commander (Yellow) and finally the Republic Gunship (#75021) — only previously released once before — which was bigger than its predecessor and featured seven minifigures including 2 x Super Battle Droids and new releases of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padme Amidala, Clone Pilot and Clone Trooper Captain (Red).

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The Clone Wars was well represented with five sets including the HH-87 Starhopper (#75024) complete with three exclusive minifigures of Obi-Wan as Rako Hardeen, Cad Bane, and Nikto Guard, an AT-RT Walker (#75002), Z-95 Headhunter (#75004), which featured the only Pong Krell figure ever released, BARC Speeder with Sidecar (#75012), Umbaran Mobile Heavy Canon, and Mandalorian Speeder (#75022) with Darth Maul with Mechanical Legs and two different versions (only the printed heads were different) of the Mandalorian Super Commando. DK also released The Clone Wars inspired book Star Wars: Battle for the Stolen Crystals, which came complete with enough parts for several different builds as well as two minifigures of Clone Commander Gree and Commando Droid. Two sets from The Old Republic were released including the Jedi Defender Cruiser (#75025) and Republic Troopers vs. Sith Troopers (#75001) both of which included exclusive minifigures.

LEGO_Part4_09The second UCS set released in September 2013 was the Ewok Village (#10236) made up of almost 2,000 pieces and came with 17 minifigures including exclusive versions of Teebo, Ewok Warrior, Luke Skywalker, and Rebel Commando with Beard. Other original trilogy releases included A-Wing Starfighter (#75003); Rancor Pit (#75005), which expands 2012’s Jabba Palace (#9615) and included exclusive minifigures of Luke Skywalker and Malakili as well as a Rancor and finally the Battle of Hoth (#75014) which included Gun Turrets, Laser ION Canon, Snowspeeder, Tauntaun, Imperial Probe Droid, as well as six minifigures including an exclusive version of Luke Skywalker and Hoth Rebel Trooper (with stubble). The third LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar (#75023) rounds out the year and included exclusive minifigure version of Jango Fett as Santa, as well as mini builds of Jango’s Slave I and various other ships mainly from Episode II and along with a sledge for Jango to ride upon.

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2014 was the 15th anniversary of LEGO Star Wars and the set count grew from 41 in 2013 to 42 in 2014 as well as the second release of the LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary that was completely revised and included 48 pages more than the 2009 edition. Like the 2009 edition it came with an exclusive minifigure although this time we got Luke Tatooine with yellow skin as a way to celebrate the anniversary.

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The Microfighters that had been previously released only as exclusives were turned into their own sub-line and six Microfighters (#75028 – #75033) were released for all including Clone Turbo Tank, AAT, Millenium Falcon, TIE Interceptor, X-Wing Fighter, and Star Destroyer — these proved a huge success. Costco re-released these later in 2014 as two 3-in1 sets which repacked three of each of the Microfighters in a longer box (with each Microfighter side-by-side).

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There were ten sets released from the prequel trilogy released including Battle Packs of Kashyyyk Troopers (#75035), which included exclusive minifigures of the 41st Kashyyyk Clone Trooper, and Utapau Troopers (#75036) with Tri Droid and two of each exclusive minifigures of 212th Battalion Trooper and Airborne Clone Trooper. Four mid-priced Starfighters included the Jedi Interceptor (#75038) with an exclusive version of Anakin with printed head gear; V-Wing (#75039) with exclusive V-Wing Pilot minifigure; General Grievous Wheel Bike (#75040) and Vulture Droid (#75041) with exclusive Neimoidian Warrior minifigure. Other sets included Droid Tri-Fighter (#75044) with an exclusive version of Chancellor Palpatine; Droid Gunship (#75042) with only the second ever version of a Chewbacca minifigure; AT-AP (#75042) with exclusive versions of Commander Gree and Chief Tarfful and the MTT (#75058) from Episode I which is smaller than the 2007 release (#7662) by almost 400 pieces but bigger than the 2000 release by double – it also includes exclusive minifigure versions of PK-4 Droid, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Naboo Security Guard.

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Six sets represented the original trilogy including the Battle Pack of Death Star Troopers (#75034) with 4 exclusive minifigures of 2 x Imperial Gunners (with different heads) and 2 x Royal Guards. The B-Wing (#75050) got its third minifigure version, the largest yet by just 13 pieces compared to the 2006 version, along with three exclusive minifigures of Ten Numb, General Airen Cracken and Gray Squadron Pilot; the AT-AT (#75054) got its first release since 2010 coming in at 1,138 pieces with five minifigures including exclusive versions of General Veers and Snowtrooper Commander; every AT-AT needs a Snowtrooper to take it down and the 2014 version (#75049) included three minifigures of which Dack Ralter and Luke Skywalker were exclusive; the Imperial Star Destroyer (#75055) got another release, again not seen since 2010, and came with seven minifigures including Mouse Droid, Stormtrooper and exclusive versions of Imperial Officer, Imperial Navy Trooper, Imperial Crew and a new Darth Vader; the final OT set was the Mos Eisley Cantina (#75052) — only the second time this set has been released — like the 2004 (#4501) version it also included a Dewback and Landspeeder although the Cantina itself was much bigger and the eight minifigures included Han Solo, Luke Skywalker as well as new exclusive versions of Sandtrooper, 3 x Bith Musician, Greedo and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

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Even though The Clone Wars TV series was technically over we still got three sets including the Battle on Saleucami (#75037) which featured a BARC Speeder, STAP and more, along with five minifigures including the exclusive Saleucami Clone Trooper; the Republic Anti-Vehicle 7 (#75045) included four minifigures all exclusive to the set — a new Droideka, 2 x Wolf Pack Clone Trooper and Plo Koon and the Coruscant Police Gunship (#75046) also came with four minifigures including Ahsoka Tano and exclusive Anakin Skywalker and 2 x Shock Trooper. The New Yoda Chronicles continued on TV and with it we also got one new set, the Jedi Scout Fighter (#75051), which included four brand new minifigures of RA-7 Protocol Droid, Blue Astromech Droid, Ithorian Jedi, and a new version of JEK-14.

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2014 saw the start of the brand new Star Wars TV series — Star Wars Rebels. LEGO were quick off the mark offering two sets from the new show before the first episode had ever aired. The Phantom (#75048) which connects to the back of the The Ghost consists of 234 pieces and comes with minifigures of Ezra Bridger and C1-10P (Chopper). The Ghost (#75053) consists of 929 pieces and comes with 4 minifigures including Hera Syndulla, Zeb Orrelios, Kanan Jarrus and a newly designed Stormtrooper for Rebels based on the Ralph McQuarrie designs.  In the US a two pack featuring both The Phantom and The Ghost was made available.

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For San Diego Comic-Con LEGO released a Microfighters version of The Ghost with Chopper, coming in at 132 pieces. A month later, for the first time at Fan Exoo Canada, LEGO released a Star Wars exclusive — this looked quite similar to the San Diego Comic-Con exclusive although the logos were slightly different and Chopper was replaced by Kanan (and the piece count went up to 134) — apart from that thought The Ghost was the same. Another version of The Ghost, albeit much smaller at 42 pieces, was made available in October at Toys R Us stores in the US.

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Three polybags were released of Imperial Shuttle (#30246), ARC-170 Starfighter (#30247) and Anakin’s Jedi Starfighter (#30244). Darth Revan, from The Old Republic, was the May 4th giveaway at LEGO brand stores, whilst TC-4 Protocol Droid was available from Toys ‘R’ Us in the UK during February and the Netherlands in March. May 3rd saw two mini builds at US Toys ‘R’ Us stores of the TIE Fighter (12 pieces) and X-Wing (23 pieces) both of which had been previously available in LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendars.

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There was only one UCS set released in 2014 and that was the Sandcrawler (#75059) with 14 minifigures. Eleven of the 14 were exclusive to the set including two new types of Jawa (two of each), two different Treadwell Droids, R1-Series Droid, Gonk Droid, C-3PO with printed legs, Owen Lars and Green R2 Unit. The Sandcrawler is the fourth largest set in terms of piece count to date, behind the 2007 release of the Millennium Falcon (#10179) with 5,195 pieces, 2008’s Death Star (#10188) with 3,803 pieces and 2005’s Death Star (#10143) with 3,441 pieces. Rounding out the year was the LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar (#75056), which featured a new version of Darth Vader as Santa along with R2-Tree2, a green Astromech with a tree for his head!

By the end of 2014, and the 15th Anniversary of LEGO Star Wars, we’ve had over 380 sets released which feature over 600 unique minifigures – all in 15 years!

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We’d be remiss not to mention 2015 as it’s already arrived and we’ve already got over twenty new LEGO Star Wars sets which includes the second series of the popular range of Microfighters — ARC-170 Starfighter, Vulture Droid, Snowspeeder, AT-AT, Republic Gunship & Homing Spider Droid (#75072-75077), new Star Wars Rebels sets including Imperial Troop Transport (#75078), TIE Advanced Prototype (#75082), AT-DP (#75083), Wookiee Gunship (#75084), and Ezra’s Speeder Bike (#75090) which includes Sabine as a minifigure for the first time. As well as other sets from the original trilogy and prequels there’s also Anakin’s Custom Jedi Starfighter from The Clone Wars and the already sold out (don’t worry there’s more coming) amazing UCS Slave I — there really is something for everybody with plenty to look forward too as well!

We’ll be bringing you pictures of the summer 2015 LEGO Star Wars sets from the New York Toy Fair in mid-February and more. Happy building!

James Burns co-owns and runs Jedi News (with Mark Newbold), the largest English speaking Star Wars fan site in Europe, is the co-host of the UK-centric Radio 1138 podcast and is a regular contributor to Star Wars Insider. You can also listen to James as part of the monthly Curto Burns Collectors Cast, discussing all the latest Star Wars collecting news with co-host Dan Curto and fellow StarWars.com blogger Steve Sansweet.

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