**WARNING: This Post Contains Some Spoilers for the LEGO® Star Wars Advent Calendar. While the Minifigures present are revealed on the box, the box doesn’t show you the faces behind the masks.**
I was a little torn when I was offered the LEGO® Star Wars Advent Calendar to Review back in August. I mean, was I going to hold on to it until December, by which stage the set would be sold out (and so the review would benefit nobody)? Or open it up and spoil it all, months in advance? Not that the images on LEGO.com work to keep the contents a secret.
And so, prompted in part by the existence of this article on Medium.com, bemoaning the relative at the relative absence of female minifigures in the LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendars, I was promoted to open mine, to see if there were any surprises to be found inside. I’ll reveal my discovery later.
As it is also the VIP Weekend (2x VIP Points at LEGO.com), and with Black Friday Sales next weekend, it might just be the time to pick up that Calendar you were wondering about, before you need to start opening those doors on a daily basis.
Now, I don’t want to spoil the calendar experience, so I didn’t open up the doors. I just removed the recyclable tray from the box and picked out the bags containing minifigures. I can’t even remember where they came from: I just picked them all out and closed the box again. I’m sure this won’t cause any real problems…
Some Background on Gender Distribution in Advent Calendars:
We have had LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendars since 2011. that is 11 up until now. Over that time, we have seen very few female characters appear: Not even all of the principles: we have seen Sabine Wren (2017); Rose Tico (2018) and Rey (2021). Not an Amidala. Not a Leia in any of her guises and not an Ashoka Tano to be seen anywhere. That is 3 female characters in the previous 11 Advent Calendars.
Now, we have previously taken a look at the prevalence of female minifigures in LEGO Star Wars sets, and in the ‘Post Disney Era’ we have seen female minifigures turn up in 1in3 sets, up to the start of 2021. As 2021 progressed, various media (particularly the Bad Batch Animated Series) highlighted that with the arrival of the Empire, Stormtroopers would be recruited from the general population – not relying on clones – and we started to see an increase in the number of female minifigures, as well as people of colour, appearing beneath the armour: in the initial ‘non UCS sets’ in first half 2021, we saw 5 female minifigures out of 23.
So, the likelihood of finding a female Minifigure is 1/3 for a given set – and we have had 3 in the last 11 advent calendars. And a little over 1in5 humanoid Minifigures are likely to be female. So in an advent calendar that typically has 8 or 9 minifigures in total, we should expect there to be a female Minifigure.
So, let’s take a look at the minifigures: there are 8 in total. A Clone Trooper and Separatist Battle Droid representing the Prequel Trilogy/Clone Wars Era; Luke Skywalker Hoth Outfit and a Snow Trooper, representing the Original Trilogy and finally the ‘Let’s Reinforce why we call this time of the year the Silly Season’ figures: Artoo Detoo and C-3PO wearing now traditional Ugly Sweaters and Darth Vader wearing a more ‘Summer Holiday’ fashioned singlet.
This is of course traditional garb for an Australian Christmas, and I cannot help but feel that an Australian arriving on the LEGO Star Wars Team might have influenced this in some way. Let’s Take a Closer Look
There is also another, dressed as Santa Clause, who in the best of holiday traditions, I shall dub ‘The Secret Santa’ and not reveal here at all!
Clone Commander (Phase I)
Seen in Attack of the Clones, this figure first appeared as an exclusive (to much derision)in the 2021 75309 Republic Gunship. He has gone on to appear in the relatively inexpensive 40558 Clone Trooper Command Station set from earlier this year. Previously, there is an older print, from a single set in 2013.
You can’t have too many Clankers in your Minfigure collection and this is a pretty standard one, appearing in many sets over the years. While Technically a Battle Droid with one straight arm, the spare parts included means that it can also be built with two straight and two bent arms. the Battle Droid has not made too many appearances recently, being absent in 2021, and appearing in only two other sets this year.
The Snow Trooper underwent a fundamental redesign of the armour costume graphics in 2019, and this version is seen here. However, I was not quite expecting to find this figure to be a female face print on a reddish brown head. Yes, here is the (somewhat hidden) female Minifigure that had been included in this advent calendar. This is not an exclusive figure, however: It first appeared in 2021’s 75313 UCS AT-AT. There is a single face printed on this element.
Luke Skywalker (Hoth, Balaclava Head)
Of the 54 variations of a Luke Skywalker Minifigure, there are only three depicting his look in the early part of The Empire Strikes Back. And this one is the only one to have made a second appearance – having debuted with last year’s microfighter Double pack 75289 AT-AT and Taun Taun. Certainly, this form has been poorly represented over the years. He comes with a rolled silver-handled light sabre. I am a little disappointed at the cut of the cap here: While the double-sided face is great, we can see the chin on the reverse side visible beneath the back of the cap. Otherwise, it is great to see this version of Luke, who is typically just hanging around…
It has been a big year for Artoo, with Back sided printing making its debut after 23 years! We have seen him sporting this rear printing in the 75330 Dagobah Jedi Training Ground Diorama, with a somewhat swampy flavour, as well as all clean and shiny, in the 75339 Trash Compactor Diorama. In this set, however, R2-D2 gets his first full cover ‘Ugly Sweater’, and you get the full idea of his favorite companions: with C-3PO’s head knitted on the front side, and the emplem of the Rebel Alliance on the other. Hopefully, we will see the other ‘deluxe prints seen in the dioramas going forward, but there is no doubt that it has been a big year for Artoo.
Our worrisome protocol droid has had a big year as well, with two exclusive variations during the year, appearing in the 75341 Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder as well as the the 75339 Death Star Trash Compactor Diorama. While the Landspeeder brought us C-3PO with a dual molded gold and silver leg for the first time, the Death Star Trash Compactor brought us a version with silver printing on the lower half of his right leg as well as the toes for the first time. This figure brings us a reprise of that lower leg print, should you wish to update any older versions (C-3PO has appeared 16 times in the older form, since 2016. )Hopefully his updated form will continue to appear in a more widespread fashion in 2023. His torso in this set is blue, with white snowflakes and two rows of red ‘kitted’ into the pattern. On the front, we have a 3 legged form of R2 D2 added to the pattern.
Darth Vader (Summer Holiday)
While Darth Vader is probably the last character you would expect to see on the beaches of Scarif, yet that is the very destination represented on his red singlet, overlaid with black and orange detailing. This form of the Fallen Anakin features the two-part helmet introduced in 2015 as well as printed arms and legs, introduced in 2020 with some of the more display focussed sets. Part of me is a little disappointed that the printing is designed to be look as though the singlet is being worn over the top of Vader’s torso (I mean that’s what it is supposed to be…) BUT it does limit the reusability of the element somewhat. I suppose it could represent a short sleeved wetsuit top, with less… martial legs. Ready for a day at the beach, this figure is carrying a white beach ball (an unprinted soccer ball at least) and has black flippers.
The Secret Santa
Over the years, there have been multiple characters making an appearance as Santa Clause, although in recent times this tradition has been overrun by the introduction of simple Santa hats on droids, or more recently, Knitted Ugly Holiday Sweaters. This final one is a tradition we don’t fully understand here in Australia, where summer is just hitting its straps in late December.
I am glad to say there is a return of the character dressed as Santa here, but as it is a brick-built droid, I shall not spoil the full effect here. It consists of elements that have been seen many times over the years: I do not think its presence should be a deal maker or breaker.
The presence of a few helmeted heads, as well as a holiday torsos (both summer and winter) give us some great options for mixing and matching our figures, with this series. Especially if we take some other minifigure elements that might be lying around the place…
Certainly, Vader’s Torso just left me thinking of Paradisa, and so here is a 90s holiday maker ‘I’ve Been to Skarif, too’
In the meantime, could our snow trooper be a secret Fan of R2D2? the hair is from Series 20 of collectable minifigures, while the coffee cup is from just about anywhere.
She is not the only fan of Artoo, though: the plucky droid has got Luke out of more scrapes than can be counted on both hands. However, as Luke keeps putting Artoo in dangerous situations, that love might not be requited.
And of course, there is no reason to stock the Hoth Base with Luke Skywalkers: I mean, he spends his time getting captured by Wampas and hallucinating in frozen wastelands. You need someone useful to man the ramparts when the Empire attacks.
I have not investigated the full contents of the Advent Calendar. I might not. But I was amused and entertained by the collection of minifigures.
I was heartened to see a female face tucked away, but it would be good to see a Ahsoka appear next year, given the live-action series is due to start screening in March. Indeed Leia or Amidala, the main female characters of the prequel and original trilogies, remain conspicuous by their absence. But I suppose, if we consider the audience of LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendars: typically children, typically boys – these two have not appeared in ‘new’ source material released in the past 10 years. Unless you want to include the Clone Wars Animated series, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, or indeed the live action Obi-Wan series this year. I would argue there is no excuse for their exclusion.
But in the meantime the Advent Calendar is available through many retail channels. It is probably still in stock at LEGO.com, but you might need to order soon if you are to receive it before December 1st…[If you use these affiliate links to purchase LEGO sets, the Rambling Brick might receive a small commission, which goes towards the costs of running the website.]
What do you think of these minifigures? Most are relatively rare and welcome figures, although they do contribute towards devaluing some figures that have been exclusive to more expensive sets previously. That said, I am attracted to the Vader holiday singlet, and Hoth Luke. And others will love the Droids in their companionable sweaters! Name your favourite in the comments below, and tell me if you want a daily unveiling of the advent calendar and until next time…
This set was provided by the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own!