When we look to the LEGO Group’s in-house IPs, women are fairly uncommon in these toy lines. In 1978, the LEGO Group released the first woman minifigure, a healthcare nurse. The first head printed with features that overtly portrayed a woman was included in 1989 as part of the LEGO Pirates theme (which was also the first theme to deviate from the classic smile with two-dots head). The first woman LEGO Space character, an Ice Planet 2002 scientist, arrived in 1994. However, few of these minifigures would have backstories or names until the mid-to-late 1990s.
The LEGO Group offered more women characters in the 2000s with BIONICLE, Adventurers: Orient Expedition and Knights’ Kingdom I. The BIONICLE theme would bring other Toa of Water, women heroes and villains into play over the years. Some are journalists and explorers, while others are masters of martial arts, warriors or budding scientists. Read on to learn about the LEGO Group’s best in-house women heroes…
Gail Storm, also known as Pippin Reed (Adventurers)
Images courtesy of Brickset.
Gail Storm is always seeking the next big story. A journalist at heart, Gail’s job is to log Johnny Thunder’s discoveries and adventures in the international publication ‘World Magazine’. Once, she helped Johnny Thunder find the ancient Sun Disk, an artefact guarded by a mysterious, powerful neutral party known as Achu – as well as the Re-Gou Ruby from an ancient Pharaoh. Her film camera is always within reach, ready to capture every second of the adventure.
Gail has had to fend for herself on numerous occasions using firearms and her creative problem solving, helping her and her crew pass obstacles with ease. If her exploits and expeditions sound unfamiliar, the character may be better known as Pippin Reed, a name change that occurred partway through the Adventurers theme. Speaking of her crew, she was named after inclement weather like its other members – Johnny Thunder, Dr. Charles Lightning, and of course, Gail Storm. She’s not to be confused with Princess Storm, a member of the royal family and skillful knight from the Knight’s Kingdom I theme.
Switching two letters in ‘Gail’ results in a different woman hero. Toa Gali, first featured in 8533 Gali from 2001, is an empathetic Toa hero who guards her watery domains: Ga-Koro and Ga-Wahi. Gentle and peaceful, Gali is a mediator between other members of her Toa team – especially the rivalry between the flaming Tahu and icy Kopaka. You don’t want to cross an angry Gali, however – according to her set description, her fury can summon tidal waves and rainstorms, causing floods throughout the island of Mata Nui.
Her elemental powers and mask allow her to breathe underwater and traverse the waves quickly. She easily outpaces the simple green boats that allow Matoran to travel the seas, as seen in the Mata Nui Online Game. She is known for her wisdom, agility, and razor-sharp hooked hands. They’re equally useful for fighting Bohrok as they are for scaling cliffs. Her raw power makes her one of a kind, just as her three sets were great choices for schoolyard battles in 2001, 2002 and 2008.
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Images courtesy of Brickset.
A beloved, evergreen character, Nya has nonetheless had numerous changes since her introduction in 2011, including her stint as Samurai X in her battle suit. It takes guts to fight the vicious Serpentine and the tyrannical Imperium, but that’s nothing compared to the raw effort it took to convince her fellow ninja that she could fight with the team in the first place. Initially, Nya was delegated to stay on the Destiny’s Bounty, the flying headquarters of the ninja, every time there was a mission. Now, she’s a vital member of the Wu Crew.
Nya is more than just a fighting ninja. The aforementioned Samurai X battle suit with its cannons, nets, and blades? It was Nya’s own creation. She would even go on to become the Elemental Master of Water. As LEGO NINJAGO continues, her character is further developed and she becomes more and more independent, breaking free from the chains of being ‘Kai’s sister’ or ‘Jay’s girlfriend’. Her character is a strong role model for children, and an entertaining ninja for fans all over the world.
The original LEGO Friends crew
In the original run of LEGO Friends, there were five main characters; Andrea, Olivia, Stephanie, Mia, and Emma. After the theme’s 10th anniversary, the theme switched heroes with eight brand-new main characters in an event called ‘The Next Chapter’. While these new characters are undoubtedly going to be popular, this section focuses on the characters from the beginning of the theme as they have the most material to draw from.
From the animal-loving, outdoors adventurer Mia to the brilliant science-focused Olivia, each of the original five main characters have different aspirations and sets of interests. What takes the LEGO characters to the next level are their challenges, and the lessons they teach children. Andrea’s natural performer tendencies put her in the spotlight and at odds with other characters. Despite her strong love of animals, Mia can be pessimistic and sarcastic to other people. It’s the growth of these young women that moves them beyond simple archetypes and into something fans young and old have appreciated for more than a decade. It’s going to be exciting to see how the new characters develop in ‘The Next Chapter’.
Mei (Monkie Kid)
Ending with a third powerful fighter and peacekeeper – Mei Dragon is a prominent example of a great warrior with a fun spirit. Where Nya is often serious, focused on her goals, and eager to prove herself, Mei is social, enthusiastic, and optimistic about the world. She can be naïve about certain things – sometimes, her fun personality belies her legendary heritage as a descendent of the White Dragon Horse – but it’s her love for her friends and tempered Dragon Blade for her foes that makes her a great warrior.
Her art style is exciting, but as with the rest of LEGO Monkie Kid and its characters, she brings a lot of depth to the table too. She’s in tune with and loves tech, video games, fashion trends and her heritage, which she feels strongly about (it always features in her iconography and vehicle assortment). Heritage is sometimes lost or buried in kids’ fiction, but in a theme like Monkie Kid, it’s proudly on display. Mei clearly goes far beyond the Monkie Kid theme’s age demographic and is highly relatable for many fans.