Every now and again, a LEGO set doesn’t quite match up with the film it’s based on – Anthony Walker-Cook picks out some of the times the model didn’t match the movie, recalling deleted walkers, disappointing fountains and nonsensical super hero battles
When a new movie in a franchise that is licensed to LEGO is about to come out, fans of both the film and LEGO alike look to the blocks to see whether or not any hints or clues can be gleaned for the forthcoming film.
This process can be as deceptive as it can be helpful. Quite at what stage LEGO designers come into the process to start working on the tie-in sets varies depending on the franchise, but it can mean that inconsistencies between the set and the film can occur. This list will pick out some instances where the LEGO set didn’t quite match the movie, from themes including Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel and Pirates of the Caribbean.
One thing you might notice is that there aren’t any battle packs on this list. That is because broadly they are inaccurate to the source material – take 76029 Iron Man vs Ultron or 75206 Jedi and Clone Troopers Battle Pack, which include small builds that are not to be found anywhere in their respectively universes. This is presumably the case only because the designers need to build something to go in the set. Let’s be honest, you’re there mostly for the army-building potential anyway.
I’ve tried to focus just on sets based on films, hence 75204 Sandspeeder from the 2017 Star Wars line is not included as, as far as I can tell, it isn’t based on anything. When it comes to invented Star Wars vehicles, that’s a list for another time.
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75177 First Order Heavy Scout Walker
Let’s start with a typical example. The First Order Heavy Scout Walker was released in 2017 to coincide with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But upon watching the film eagle-eyed fans couldn’t see this unusual piece of machinery anywhere.
The crooked legs and stocky appearance of the Heavy Scout Walker seemed out of sync with the long-legged walkers common to the Star Wars universe. The machine was presumably to feature in the film’s final confrontation between the Resistance and First Order on Crait. More information about the machine can be found in Pablo Hidalgo’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary and The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, including concept art by James Clyne.
But this is perhaps one of the best examples of where the designers worked with ideas that never went any further in the film. It also raises the question of whether or not LEGO is actually told by the production companies that the material they were sent was no longer valid – at the very least this is a fun example of how unpredictable and tenuous the design process can be for LEGO staff.
75951 Grindelwald’s Escape
On the face of it, Grindelwald’s Escape is an accurate set. Released in 2018 with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the set focuses on the film’s opening segment where the villain Grindelwald escapes his transportation to Europe where he was supposed to stand trial.
The Gothic carriage led by a single thestral was a fair set for the £20 price tag. Some fans might point out that the carriage was led by six thestrals in the movie, but that doesn’t really bother me.
What I’m more interested by is the inclusion of Seraphina Picquery, the president of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, who is visibly fighting Grindelwald in the box art and promotional material.
Was the film’s opening scene supposed to show these two great wizards fighting in the sky? This set implies yes, which is a shame given what was actually included in the film was a bunch of limp and useless wizards getting easily defeated by Grindelwald, meaning the opening scene was devoid of any tension or suspense.
76008 Iron Man vs The Mandarin: The Ultimate Showdown
After the initial excitement of thinking the big villain of Iron Man 3 was to be the Mandarin (played by the brilliant Ben Kingsley), Marvel fans were left reeling when this comic book staple turned out to be a big phoney. Upon rewatching, the twist is actually a brilliant one, hinting at the increasingly self-aware tone Marvel films would take with later films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor Ragnarok.
Less excusable is Iron Man vs The Mandarin: The Ultimate Showdown, a set that, really, makes no sense. Evidently the designer wasn’t let in on the film’s twist, but presumably they were not provided with any tangible material to go on either.
The result? This golf-buggy-like contraption that wouldn’t be out of place in any licensed racing video game. Aside from the gorgeous Heartbreaker Iron Man minifigure, the set gets worse the more you look at it.
Just to add insult to injury, the set’s title only sets it up for a bigger failure – there’s little that’s ‘Ultimate’ about it. Regardless, it’s a very good example of when the LEGO set doesn’t match the movie.
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76123 Captain America: Outriders Attack
The overall quality of the first wave of LEGO sets based on the climactic Avengers: Endgamewas disappointing, especially following the high calibre of those sets based on Avengers: Infinity War.
Of course, the designers were faced with an immense challenge – they had to capture the grand climax of the 10 year phenomenon without giving away any spoilers, probably without a lot of concrete material to go on.
Hence we got something like Captain America: Outriders Attack, a souped up motorcycle that looks like it took a wrong turning as it left a Mad Max film set. The set includes those terrifying Outrider figures alongside Captain “that’s America’s ass” America (my name, not Marvel’s) but otherwise there’s little that recommends this hyperbolic ride. Hopefully with the new Infinity Saga sets the injustice dealt to Avengers: Endgame can be rectified.
4192 Fountain of Youth
It cannot be denied that the figures included in Fountain of Youth, released in 2011 as part of the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tideswave, are all brilliant. The intricate details on Barbossa’s uniform to Blackbeard’s hair and beard piece mark them as highlights.
But one thing does stick out when you look at the set: the ‘fountain’ of the title. In the film a curious rock formation with a light silver line of water gives the fountain an appropriately aethereal tone. The same cannot be said, sadly, for the fountain in this set, which looks more like a geyser than anything else.
Such a magical place probably had many concept drawings, and whoever was assigned to design this set may have had to just pick one and go with it. Unfortunately in this instance that didn’t quite work out, but for £20 and with these amazing figures, perhaps a decade on that faux pas can be forgiven.
Before you cry out ‘but you’ve forgotten 75104 Kylo Ren’s Command Shuttle, with its grey colouring and poorly articulated wings,’ just know that isn’t included on this list for two reasons. Firstly the original colour is an mistake that I don’t think is too egregious and given the designers were probably working with concept pictures it’s understandable the wings didn’t move quite as accurately as in the film. Secondly, a new version of the ship was released in 2019 as 75256 Kylo Ren’s Shuttle. So no, I’ve not forgotten this example, but the other sets listed are even better fits for the article’s topic.
Finally, some honourable mentions. As suggested with Grindelwald’s Escape, LEGO sets can tell us maybe where some characters were supposed to appear in films before they get moved around or deleted all together. I’m personally convinced that 75103 First Order Transporter suggests Captain Phasma was to lead the First Order attack on Maz Kanata’s Castle in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which would have given her something to do and would have provided her with an opportunity to display her battlefield abilities.
Likewise 79011 Dol Guldur Ambush suggests that Beorn was to have a larger role in either The Desolation of Smaug or The Battle of the Five Armies. Concept art and comments from designers suggest that Beorn was at one point to be a captive of the orcs who would be freed as the White Council helped Gandalf flee the crumbling castle.
Where the First Order Heavy Scout Walker was not included at all in The Last Jedi, a fleeting scene shows 75100: First Order Snowspeeder in the background. This ship was featured in a deleted scene and can be found in Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017) on the Starkiller Base map. Nonetheless its inclusion in the first wave of The Force Awakens sets caused some confusion when the film first came out in 2015.
Last but not least, the re-release of 75188 Resistance Bomber caused some fans to scratch their heads when it replaced an unnamed pilot with Finch Dallow in its minifigure line up. The change was all the more odd given Dallow was not named specifically in the film’s credits but appeared in wider canonical material; moreover the original set was already being retired and the replacement version of the set would available for only a few months until July 2019. Quite why this change was implemented is unsure, but it’s a fun little bit of trivia to be aware of should you ever enter into a very, very specific pub quiz!