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Film

Star Wars: The Lego Starships We Hope to See

Lego has made a lot of Star Wars vehicles in their slightly over 20-year history with the franchise. And I’ve bought…a lot of them. Nothing makes me happier than rewatching a Star War and pointing at the screen every time I see a ship that I own. Underneath my TV, and frankly all around my room in general, are as many Star Wars ships as I can fit on shelves. But every now and then, there’s a ship I see that no matter how much I want it, I can’t have. So with all that Lego has ever made, from the X-wing to the TIE-Defender, what hasn’t made its way from a Galaxy Far, Far Away to a world of bricks?

The Prequels

Public perception of the prequels hasn’t always been favorable, and that’s definitely shown in the sets lego produces. Out of the 31 “Ultimate Collector Series (UCS)” sets that Lego has produced, just 6 have been based on the prequel series. And while the prequel popularity continues to grow, that change has been slow with Lego. Although the recently announced UCS Republic Gunship could hopefully see a change in that.  

So what ships from across this era haven’t yet made their way to Lego?

Naboo Royal Starship

A major part of The Phantom Menace, the reasons for the Naboo Royal Starfighter (or J-type 327 Nubian starship) not being made are pretty clear. The ship itself is chrome, and lego parts in chrome are very inconsistent in quality, and presumably more expensive to produce. After reading Queen’s Peril and Shadow recently though, I’m desperate to see Padmé represented better in Lego. Despite being a main member of the prequels cast, there are only 5 (technically 6) figures of Padmé ever made. Meanwhile, there are 7 figures based on Anakin’s Phantom Menace look alone. The “Queen Amidala” figure (technically Sabé, not Padmé) is one of the rarest figures out there, so it would be great to get a rerelease. Or an Amidala Handmaiden or two, with a new Captain Panaka?  There’s just so much potential there, and as much as I understand the restrictions with chrome I’d love to see a way to make it work. There are also several options with this ship since it appears with 3 completely different designs in each prequel movie. The Phantom Menace version is the most iconic though, and the one I’d want to see most.

Trade Federation Battleship

The Trade Federation battleship, or Lucrehulk-class Battleship, is another key part of The Phantom Menace that has yet to make its way into Lego. And this one has another pretty clear problem holding it back, size and shape. Making a ship this size would be expensive, especially since it’s a giant sphere, and there aren’t exactly many die-hard Trade Federation fans out there willing to drop hundreds on this battleship despite the potential the set could have.

The Invisible Hand

Now this one has no excuse. If we can get a lego Malevolence, General Grievous’s vastly inferior ship from The Clone Wars, we can get the Invisible Hand. Anakin didn’t say it was “where the fun begins” for nothing!  Just think of the features for this set. It could split in half!  This has been my most wanted Lego set since 2005 and every time I watch Revenge of the Sith I want it a little bit more.

Rogue One

While technically a prequel, it’s hard to loop Rogue One in with that trilogy thanks to its clear effort to be more stylistically in line with the Original Trilogy. Rogue One still did a lot of work to design new spaceships for the Star Wars Universe. As a huge fan of the U-Wing, thankfully many of these ships have already been adapted by Lego, but there are still several to go.

Hammerhead Corvette

Although technically a ship dating all the way back to the Old Republic era, the Hammerhead Corvette made its new canon debut in Rogue One and frankly stole the show. Sacrificing itself to destroy the shield over Scarif, a Hammerhead Corvette deserves a place in Lego’s line-up.

Rogue One

Despite being the ship that gives the movie its name, the Zeta-class heavy cargo shuttle is another Star Wars vehicle to not yet make its way to lego. Even with its 4 large wings, it wouldn’t even have to be a huge set if done in a similar style to the recent Imperial Shuttle and would be the perfect way to celebrate the movie’s 5 year anniversary this year.

Antoc Merrick’s X-Wing

Is this technically cheating since Lego has made many, many X-wings before in red squadron? Maybe. But have you considered…

Solo

Thanks to Solo’s underwhelming (but underserved) box office performance, it didn’t get as many Lego sets as it maybe needed. They never even made two of the main characters! I believe that this came down to the last rewrites to the film as it changed directors, but plenty of time has passed now and there’s a clear choice for the Solo ship that needs to be made.

First Light

The Nau’ur-class yacht owned by Crimson Dawn leader Dryden Vos, the First Light would provide the perfect opportunity to actually make a minifigure for Dryden himself. He is the main villain of the movie after all! And although she doesn’t appear on the yacht, the lack of L3-37 in the Solo line is another travesty.

The Original Trilogy

Unsurprisingly after 20 years of having the license, there are few ships from the original trilogy that Lego is yet to make. But not none!

Nebulon B Frigate

When the previously mentioned UCS Republic Gunship was announced, it was actually part of a vote for the next UCS set. The options were between the Republic Gunship, a TIE-Bomber, and the Nebulon B Frigate. So what did the people choose between a ship we’ve seen in Lego three times, the one that hasn’t appeared since 2003, and the giant rebel flagship that has never been made in lego and probably never will be if it doesn’t win the vote?  The Republic Gunship of course. As you can tell, I’m definitely not still bitter over that. Several other Rebel flagships would also be valid options, such as the Home One, but the Nebulon B Frigate has always been a favourite of mine.

Sequel Trilogy

The movies that brought me back into Lego after several years of absence, the sequel trilogy received fewer and fewer sets as it went on, from 17 (and 4 single figure polybags) for The Force Awakens, to 14 (and 1 single figure polybag) for The Last Jedi, to 10 for The Rise of Skywalker. That left plenty of opportunities that Lego passed on in favour of giving Poe 3 different X-Wings.

Resistance Transport Pod

One of the strangest sets to ever not exist, the ships used by the Resistance to evacuate to Crait in The Last Jedi was actually made into a set. It was shown off at a toy fair and a full leaked description was given. And then it just…disappeared. We never heard anything about it again. It’s still a great idea for a set though.  It would also be a great opportunity for a new Leia, who only got a sequel version from Episode VII.

First Order Dreadnought

Used over D’Qar to stop the Resistance from fleeing, the First Order Dreadnought may be a little on the large side but its unique shape and design could make for a very interesting build.

TIE-Whisperer

Clearly The Last Jedi’s “TIE Silencer” was deemed “too quiet”, so The Rise of Skywalker brought the volume up a bit with Kylo Ren’s latest, and final, starfighter. Due to Lego’s unfortunate lack of TIE-Interceptors, the Whisperer would fit in perfectly.

Bestoon Legacy

If you told me walking out of The Rise of Skywalker that a few years down the line I’d be a genuine fan of Ochi of Bestoon, Sith assassin extraordinaire, I’d have laughed in your face. But the current Star Wars: Darth Vader comic by Greg Pak has really turned me around on the weird little guy. He sucks, but in a very endearing way. And with the Legacy being so important to Rey’s story, it makes sense that his ship would appear in Lego form.

Final Order Star Destroyer

It’s been quite a while since Lego last released an (affordable) Star Destroyer, and the final order variant gives plenty of room to do something a little new. Essentially just an Imperial Star Destroyer with a big gun on it and a red trim, the fleet over Exogol provides plenty of scenes for Lego to draw on for a set. Like maybe finally releasing the main villain of the movie?

The Games

Although there haven’t been as many single-player Star Wars games since EA got the license, I’ve really enjoyed the ones that have been made and feel there’s plenty of potential there for Lego to use.

Jedi: Fallen Order

Stinger Mantis

I want an official Lego Cal Kestis. I will happily buy a full starship, just to own an official Cal Kestis. And more importantly, BD-1! The Stinger Mantis is also a great-looking ship with a design just waiting for Lego to make, with that wing that twists around in flight. I thought it was such a missed opportunity when nothing was announced.

Battlefront II

The Corvus

As happy as I am that Lego released an Inferno Squad battle-pack to coincide with the release of Battlefront 2, I’d love to see the Squad’s ship in bricks. An Imperial Raider-II class ship, the Corvus stayed with Iden Versio and Del Meeko when they defected to the Rebel Alliance and helped fight in the battle of Jakku. Seeing official Rebel variants of Iden and Del in figure form would also be great.

The High Republic

Lego has never based a set off of a book series before, but there’s always a first for everything. With the line-wide High Republic era dominating so much of the Star Wars publishing line at the moment and telling some fantastic stories while doing it, it makes sense for lego to cash in on that for at least the one set. And what better than…

Jedi Vector

The personal fighters used by the Jedi during the High Republic era, the Vectors are fascinating ships with lasers that use lightsabers to function and that can even be flown remotely using the force. I could list Jedi that I’d want to see included in the set for days since I love every High Republic Jedi we’ve seen so far, but Avar Kriss seems to be the best option.  As both the face of the Jedi Order thanks to her fight against the Nihil and the face of the High Republic line, she seems the perfect choice to become a minifigure.


Thanks to the many, many starships all throughout that Galaxy Far, Far Away this is far from all the ships that Lego hasn’t yet made, but I hoped you enjoyed this list of a few of my favourite candidates.  

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Books

Race to Crashpoint Tower (Spoiler-free Review)

Welcome back to a Galaxy Far, Far Away. The Star Wars universe has been teeming with new tales as the High Republic era finds its footing across a vast collection of storytelling mediums. The High Republic, set about 200 years before the Skywalker Saga, is a generally peaceful moment in time. The Galaxy we’re familiar with later in the Star Wars timeline is less settled at this point, but the Republic & the Jedi are committed to peace; even in the unchecked Outer Rim.

Race to Crashpoint Tower is a Junior novel whose events proceed plot points established in the previously published adult novel, Light of the Jedi, and includes characters and plot from The High Republic Adventures comics. This is starting to sound a little complicated, however, the masterminds behind the High Republic era are generous with exposition. While much needed to be explained in Race to Crashpoint Tower to make sure the reader had the most up-to-date information, it never felt too heavy-handed or redundant.

Ram Jomaram

This fast-paced, character-driven adventure opens on the planet Valo, where a giant festival is set to begin. We meet Jedi Padawan Ram Jomaram in his favorite place; the garage. There’s nothing Ram loves more than using The Force to take something apart and put it back together again. He’s elbow deep in ripping apart a speeder when droid V-18 interrupts him. The security alarm on Crashpoint Peak has been tripped, and V-18 can’t find anyone else to help investigate. Ram’s not sure if the security breach is an error, or the work of the Nihil, the resident baddies of the High Republic era. This investigation gets the story moving, and Ram, V-18, and a few friends from past High Republic works, have to band together to not only protect the peace of the festival, but the whole planet of Valo.

While I am not the intended age demographic for Race to Crashpoint Tower, I found the characters and story to be interesting and engaging regardless. Any Star Wars fan and High Republic reader will find something to enjoy in this compact (compared to the adult novels) adventure. Race to Crashpoint Tower is set for release on June 29th, 2021, the same day as the second adult novel, The Rising Storm debuts. Both books will feature events that overlap in The High Republic timeline. Don’t worry, GateCrashers has you covered; you can read our spoiler-free review of The Rising Storm here. And with that, my fellow Star Wars-lover, remember to board your nearest Jedi Vector ship on June 29th and make the jump to your local bookstore to purchase both of these new High Republic novels.

Categories
Books Film

Out of the Shadows (Spoiler-free Review)

Star Wars: The High Republic – Out of the Shadows by Justina Ireland

The High Republic takes the Star Wars universe to an even longer time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Some 200 years prior to the Phantom Menace and the beginning of the Skywalker Saga.  With the Jedi in their prime, they find themselves up against the mysterious Nihil, a gang of pirates and marauders dedicated to wreaking havoc across the galaxy and stopping the Republic’s expansion into the galactic frontier.

The second young adult book in the series, Out of the Shadows acts as a continuation of several plot lines established across the line so far.  Jedi Vernestra Rwoh and Imri Cantaros from Justina Ireland’s own A Test of Courage, alongside fellow Jedi Reath Silas and Cohmac Vitus from Into the Dark, go up against the dangerous Nihil, with some new faces joining them too.  With ships being mysteriously torn from hyperspace and attacked by Nihil, cargo hauler Sylvestri Yarrow finds herself on a simple bureaucratic mission to Coruscant that quickly sends her spiraling into a web of political intrigue between the Jedi, Republic, and the Graf family, once renowned hyperspace prospectors.   

It’s worth noting that this book is set after the second flagship title of the High Republic, The Rising Storm, and does contain some mild plot spoilers for it.  I have not read it, so I can’t be entirely sure of the extent of those spoilers, but there are some seemingly important moments that are revisited and play a key part in Vernestra Rwoh’s motivations. 

Vernestra Rwoh

The biggest strength of this book lies in its protagonists.  Ireland has no issue bringing Vernestra and Imri from their previous all-ages book into the wider universe and Cohmac and Reath feel lifted straight from Claudia Gray’s Into the Dark.  All the new additions to the cast have unique voices that bring something new to both the book, and the wider High Republic Universe.  Despite Reath being one of our point of view characters and given a big cover focus, the chapter count is significantly shifted in Vernestra and new protagonist Sylverstri Yarrow’s favour.  Which is not necessarily a complaint, as those two are certainly the ones with the most interesting stories to tell.  When the book has the characters together and talking it’s at its absolute best.

The real problem lies in the Nihil’s point of view character, a familiar face whose identity I will not spoil.  The look into the Nihil in this book is short, perhaps only 4 or 5 short chapters throughout the story, but there seems to be a clear lack of purpose to them.  While the Marchion Ro chapters of Light of the Jedi gradually built the threat of the Nihil into something terrifying, here they merely remind us that they’re still there with the occasional check-in.  This also causes another issue, by letting the reader into what the Nihil are up to we don’t get to discover alongside our protagonists, which causes large chunks of the book to feel pointless as the characters slowly make their way towards discoveries we’ve known from early on.  This all leaves the book without a clear and compelling antagonist, as the Nihil presence looms over the book but rarely comes close enough to feeling like an actual threat.

This leads me to another big problem I had with the book; the mysteries that drive the plot.  Whilst the hyperspace mysteries are straightforward and predictable, even being given definitive answers by the Nihil chapters so early on, the political drama that our characters find themselves drawn into is often unfocused and boring, with no clear purpose other than to create confusion.  We also get teases to some mysterious Force powers and their connections to hyperspace, a plot the book drops and picks up at random despite being the most compelling part of the story.  The pace at which these mysteries develop is also glacial, with the book spending most of its time building up to a big event before shifting pace rapidly into a rushed and unsatisfying climax.

The Nihil

Although the book isn’t action-heavy, Ireland excels at the few scenes that are there.  The fights are clear and exciting, using the tools of the Jedi in ways I find only books can in order to really showcase how impressive lightsabers and the Force can be.  There’s still dramatic weight to the action though, with the Jedi feeling in real danger when they’re overwhelmed.  It avoids making them feel like unstoppable gods while still providing that essential cool factor.

One of my personal favourite parts of the High Republic thus far has been its worldbuilding, and this is another area where Out of the Shadows is a success.  The book features a wide variety of species from across the Star Wars universe, including many familiar species from both the original films and some of the more recent additions.  There are also a couple of new species introduced that were fascinating and unique, including the volka, a race of strange electric cats that I’d love to see more of (or have as a pet).  We discover more of the history of the Galaxy here too through the Grafs and San Tekkas, something I’m always happy to learn more about.  There are even a few familiar names thrown in that I was very excited to see.

As far as its importance to the larger plot of the High Republic, I was surprised to see Out of the Shadows pick up some major plotlines from Light of the Jedi.  This book has some big ramifications for the various factions of the High Republic and is an essential chapter in its larger story.  It also sets up some very interesting future plots and introduces a couple of new Force abilities that were very interesting, and I could see being important down the line.  

Out of the Shadows had a difficult task ahead of it, taking in characters and plots from across the High Republic.  And while it stumbles at times and drags in the middle, it is for the most part genuinely enjoyable.  The action scenes, while few, are exciting, and pull you right into the action.  The characters are likable and the central romance of the book is compelling.  And it leaves me genuinely excited for what’s next in the High Republic, from Justina Ireland, and the other writers.


Early review copy provided by Disney-Lucasfilm Press. Out of the Shadows releases 07/27/2021 in all good bookstores and digital storefronts.

Categories
Books Film

The Rising Storm (Spoiler-free Review)

Star Wars: The High Republic – The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott

Kicking off the next wave of the burgeoning High Republic publishing line of Star Wars media, Cavan Scott’s The Rising Storm had a heavy load to lift. It shoulders it in the end, but not without some effort and some bruising on the way. 

For those who have not been following the Star Wars literary line in 2021, The High Republic is an ambitious initiative spanning books and comics for all ages set in the golden age of the Jedi Knights, some two hundred years prior to the Prequel Trilogy. The Jedi are at the peak of their power and not yet the more ethically compromised characters we see in the fading years of the Galactic Republic, while their assorted foes are all very different to the Dark Side wielders with which we are so familiar from the films. 

The Rising Storm tells the story of the continuing conflict between the Jedi of this era and the most fascinating of these new enemies, the marauding Nihil. The focus of this second wave of titles is the Republic Fair, an event intended by the Supreme Chancellor to act as a symbol of prosperity and possibility to the Galaxy. 

While theoretically a standalone novel, The Rising Storm is in practice a direct sequel to the initiative’s debut in Light of the Jedi, picking up the vast majority of its expansive cast where author Charles Soule left them off in January 2021. Unfortunately, the invited comparison is not always a flattering one for this book. Where Light of the Jedi balanced a tremendous amount of worldbuilding with a fast-paced, propellant plot and instantly compelling characters, The Rising Storm becomes bogged down with an over-lengthy set-piece that loses all cohesion thanks to erratic jumps between an overwhelming number of character perspectives. 

With the already-expansive cast of Light of the Jedi only growing and the tangled web of connections between them becoming ever more intricate, few novels have ever cried out quite so much for a Dramatis Personae like the ones so commonplace in the pre-Disney canon. This problem is not helped by the novel’s rapid pace and fleeting chapter length, which allows the reader very little time to sit with any particular Jedi character before they are on to the next, and the next. 

A few members of the sprawling cast do manage to stand out in spite of this lack of focus, in particular newer characters such as the charismatic Stellan Gios and the very human Elzar Mann. Both have multiple memorable scenes that leave an impact on the reader long afterward, and the relationship between them is one of the few that is given the space necessary to flourish. However, most of the characters feel drowned within a story that is trying to do too much at once and repeatedly cuts itself off before it can settle into a rhythm. This is perhaps most regrettable with the intriguing new ‘saber-for-hire’ Ty Yorrick, who is never quite allowed the room to live up to her promising introduction. 

This is really a shame because when the book is good, it’s often very, very good. The strengths of the novel reflect the strengths of the High Republic as a whole, above all a compelling world that feels both related to the Star Wars Universe we know yet also wholly fresh. Scott is especially talented at weaving together references to the broader galaxy in ways that add multiple layers of richness. There are continual winks and nods to all aspects of Star Wars from the films to Legends continuity to the broader High Republic project, but they are carefully presented in a way that makes the world feel bigger and never makes even the casual reader feel that they are missing something. By the novel’s end, the Galaxy of the High Republic feels more full of promise than ever – and more full of danger for the Jedi. 

And the source of that danger is one of the book’s highlights. The villainous Nihil deserve special mention, once again managing to steal the show from the protagonists as they often did in Light of the Jedi. These chaotic space Vikings feel like nothing else in Star Wars, in large part due to an ingeniously constructed and vividly depicted political structure and internal culture which makes their every scene crackle with tension. Indeed, one of The Rising Storm’s greatest accomplishments is the unique impression it crafts of a group who see themselves as the lead players in a tangled family drama with the Jedi featuring only in occasional walk-on parts. It helps that the number of Nihil character viewpoints is kept low, allowing the reader to become familiar with a core set of characters in a way that doesn’t happen enough with the Jedi protagonists. It’s easy to see why Scott will be returning to the Nihil with August’s Tempest Runner audio drama focusing on the character of Lourna Dee, one of the more memorable antagonists here. 

Following up an opening as well-received as Light of the Jedi was never going to be easy, and The Rising Storm often falls short of the bar that had been set. Through it all, with such a refreshing premise, the strength of solid worldbuilding, and original antagonists, The Rising Storm is an entertaining and worthwhile journey to an even longer time ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away.


Early review copy provided by Del Rey Books. The Rising Storm releases in all good bookstores and digital storefronts 06/29/2021.