At the Start of Episode V, we hear about the Snowspeeders before we see them:
“Are the Speeders Ready?”
“Not yet: we are having some difficulty adapting them to the cold.”
It’s 1980 and already, we worry about this machine that we have never seen before. Unlike the first time I saw Star Wars, I had not waited over six months before having the chance to see The Empire Strikes Back. I only knew one other person who had seen the film before I went to see it. And he had spoiled the ending. But I didn’t believe that what he told me could possibly be true. So I entered in, hopeful and optimistic.
In which it becomes apparent that the LEGO group are celebrating the 20th Anniversary of LEGO Star Wars. With some of their Archive material, as well as some of my own, from a simlar era, we look at the Early Days of the Star Wars print ads.
LET ME TELL YOU A STORY. Forty two years ago – a Long, Long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away… Star Wars was released on an unsuspecting world. Fan based consumerism would never be the same again.
Star Wars consumed 9 year old me. I read the novel, again, and finally saw the film at the cinema for my ninth birthday. The Belgrave Cameo Cinea, in March 1978 for those playing at home. Drawings, LEGO models and action figures. I couldn’t get enough. I had a ‘making of’ magazine – covering movie history, the special effects, and some of the concept artwork by Ralph McQuarrie, and more still by the Brothers Hildebrandt. Eventually my brother and I managed to combine LEGO with our actions figures. Fast forward to the future…
Another day where Too Many Things arrive in the inbox in Rapid Succession. These include a Star Wars Fan Event at the LEGO House, a Survey about LEGO stores and two new Ideas Contests (replacing what was once known as Rebrick). These have all arrived via the Ambassadors Network, an online community where recognised Fan Media, and Recognised LEGO User Groups Gather… read on for further details.
It was a long, long time ago, but not too far away: LEGO Starwars Minifigures still had yellow faces. Unless they wore helmets. All except one: Lando Calrissian. Released 15 years ago, as part of 10123 Cloud City. Lando was the first minifigure to appear in a LEGO set related to movie with a realistic skin tone. He has not been seen in Cloud City since.
Indeed, there have been very few aspects of Cloud City seen since. We have seen multiple versions of the Twin Pod Cloud Cars (7119 from 2003 and 9678 from 2012) – both of which have included Lando’s right hand man, Lobot. We have seen Ugnauts, along with the Carbon Freezing Chamber in 2016’s 75137. But beyond these sets, and seemingly infinite variations on Boba Fett’s ship, Slave I (Well, if not infinite, then at least eleven), Cloud City has received very little LEGO love.
Many of the major settings of drama in The Empire Strikes back have been revisited in the last few years: Attack on Hoth(75098), the UCS Millennium Falcon (75192). And from the current wave of sets: Yoda’s Hut (75208) and Luke’s Xwing (75218).
It stands to reason that Cloud city is long overdue for a revisit. Then, we just need to get on board some Imperial Ships, and all will be right with the balance in the Force.
Today The LEGO Group have announced the forthcoming release of the long anticipated 75222: Betrayal at Cloud City. Following in the footsteps of Death Star 654654. this set is geared more towards being a playset, incorporating a number of important locations:
Certainly, it does not purport to be a model of Cloud City (perhaps the time is coming to explore an ‘Architecture’ Version?), but many of the key locations are represented: the reception area, recycling centre, the carbon freeze chamber, the dining room and the gantry, where Vader’s revelation to Luke still resonates strongly, after nearly 40 years. I do like the way that the set represents some of the luxurious aspects of the accomodation in this tibanna gas mine, with some nice detailing present in the doors and dining room.
We also see the arrival of a couple of craft, from which you need to choose which one can go on the landing pad: a Twin Pod Cloud Car, and ANOTHER version of Slave I.
This set includes our main cast of heroes: Han Solo (twice!), Princess Leia (also twice!), Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker ( Dagobah fatigues), R2D2 C3PO, Lando Calrissian, Lobot, two Cloud City security guards, two Cloud Car Pilots, a Stormtrooper, an Ugnaut, IG-88 (or a similarly shaped assassin droid), Boba Fett and Darth Vader. Many of our main characters have double sided heads. Han features the ‘centre part’ hair piece, first seen in the rebooted Death Star set in 2016. Leia’s formal dress features the new Minifigure Skirt element introduced recently. Luke has a new torso, and the reverse of his head suggests he has fought a couple of rounds with Darth Vader.
The collection of minifigures is terrific, and we have a few figures that have had no representation in modern times, including the Pod Car Pilots, and some new Bespin Guards. Lobot has been only slightly updated since 2012, and the Ugnaut has a new work suit.
Here is the Press Release:
75222 Betrayal at Cloud City™
Ages 14+.2,812 pieces
US $349.99 – CA $399.99 – DE 349.99€ – UK £299.99 – FR 349.99€ – DK 2999DK
*Euro pricing varies by country.Please visit shop.LEGO.com for regional pricing.
Visit Bespin’s amazing metropolis in the sky—Cloud City!
Relive a world of unforgettable moments from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back or add your own fun twists to the story with this LEGO® Star Wars 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City set. The amazingly detailed set is divided into 4 sections, each depicting scenes from the classic movie. There’s a landing platform complete with Boba Fett’s Slave I ship, a detailed promenade, a dining room with seating for 5 minifigures, a garbage processing room with incinerator, and a sensor balcony for epic Luke vs. Vader Lightsaber duels. There’s also a carbon freeze chamber with a function to ‘freeze’ Han in carbonite, an interrogation chamber and prison cell, a secondary landing platform for the Twin-Pod Cloud Car, and so much more. Add an astonishing 18 LEGO minifigures plus 2 droids to the mix, and you have a set that Star Wars and LEGO fans of any age would be proud to add to their collection.
• Includes 18 minifigures: Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker in Bespin outfits, Chewbacca, C-3PO, Lando Calrissian, Lobot, 2 Cloud City Guards, 2 Cloud Car Pilots, Leia and Han in Hoth outfits, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, 2 Stormtroopers and an Ugnaught, plus R2-D2 and an IG-88 droid.
• Section 1 features a landing platform with a sliding entrance door and Boba Fett’s Slave I ship with an opening minifigure cockpit, movable wings and space underneath to store the Han in carbonite element.
• Section 2 features a dining room with a table, seats for 5 minifigures and a decorative Cloud City micro build; lounge with a transparent sculpture and 2 chairs; garbage processing room with an incinerator, conveyor belt and a deactivated IG-class droid; and a promenade with tree sculpture, mural relief and opening doorways leading to other parts of the model.
• Section 3 features a sensor balcony with railing and swing-out function, plus a maintenance cabin with opening round window for epic Lightsaber duels, plus a carbon freeze chamber with lever-activated ‘freeze’ function.
• Section 4 features a dark-red corridor leading to the interrogation chamber with a turning interrogation chair, plus a prison cell, hangar with a secret trapdoor and tool & weapon rack, and space for the Twin-Pod Cloud Car with opening minifigure cockpits and 2 stud shooters.
• New minifigure details include Leia’s red dress, Han’s Corellian blood stripe, Luke’s dark-tan Dagobah outfit, the Ugnaught’s head decoration and the cloud car pilots.
• Accessory elements include a wrench, handcuffs and Lobot’s cybernetic band.
• Stage air-to-air battles between Boba Fett’s Slave I and the Twin-Pod Cloud Car.
• Pull the carbon freeze chamber lever to pretend freeze Han in carbonite!
• Relive unforgettable scenes from the classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back movie.
• This amazing set is part of the LEGO® Star Wars Master Builder Series.
• Cloud City measures over 6” (16cm) high, 22” (58cm) wide and 22” (56cm) deep.
• Slave I measures over 4” (11cm) high, 7” (19cm) long and 7” (18cm) wide.
Cloud City represents the culmination of the drama in Episode V: Lando Betrays Han, Chewbacca and Leia to the Darth Vader, who proceeds to torture them; Han goes into carbon freeze; Luke arrives to save his friends – unaware of Vader’s trap, discovers the family Legacy and loses his hand in his battle with Vader. That fact the our heroes manage to escape with their lives is remarkable. The arrival of an environment to live out the drama in LEGO form is exciting.
There we have it: coming up for release in October, with early Access available for VIP Customers in mid September: This set provides us with some great new minifigures, and some locations that have rarely been explored in LEGO. The multiple locations provides some great starting points for developing scenes, and I am sure this will be a set for people looking to explore this. Plainly, it you were looking for a scale model of Cloud City, you will be disappointed, BUT unlike Assault on Hoth, very little of this is a rehash of frequently presented material. Of interest is the lack of a UCS (Ultimate Collector Series) label, and the mention of the “LEGO Star Wars Master Builder Series” exactly what this means going into the future remains to be seen.
Is this one for you?
Costing $499.99 AUD, would you be looking at an early purchase, or wait until you see some hands on reviews? Empire Strikes Back was an important film in my childhood – the first film I saw where the Good Guys didn’t win! As such, I personally find it appealing, and might put it on my Christmas list.
Until Next time:
P.S.:Would you like the chance to win a copy of 76109: Quantum Realm Explorers, based on material from AntMan and the Wasp? Then check out the Rambling Brick’s Awesome MOC Competition: there is a little over a week left for entries, but I am sure some of you could be appropriately inspired in that time! There are two copies of the set up for grabs, thanks to the LEGO Group’s AFOL Engagement Team!
Today is May the Fourth, the day when a pun is allowed to take over marketing of Star Wars related LEGO® sets for a limited time only, with a variety of special offers in place, changing daily. Check Shop.LEGO.com in your country for details.
“If there’s a bright centre of the galaxy, you are on the planet that it’s farthest from.” – Luke Skywalker
When Star Wars debuted in 1977, Tatooine was the first alien landscape we encountered. A harsh, unforgiving desert planet, bathed by the scorching heat of binary stars, we see people enter a daily struggle against the environment: farming moisture to survive; fending off hostile desert nomads and dealing with diminutive scavengers. We see a variety of exotic megafauna, some just skeletons, some utilized as low maintenance transport in an environment which treats life forms and machine with equal contempt. It is far from the attention of authority: smugglers, gangsters and fugitives make this planet their base of operations. We also see hope: cautious optimism in the face of a deadly environment, a place of refuge from the Empire, and spectacular twin sunsets! It was a long, long time ago, and the locale took us to a galaxy far, far away…
And yet with its exotic locations and importance to the overarching saga- events take place on Tatooine in five of the first six movies- the indigenous races: Jawas and Tusken Raiders remain shrouded in mystery. And indeed , in my opinion, sadly underrepresented in LEGO Star Wars sets.