Batman? Superman? Wonder Woman? While the Justice League might have made a comeback on HBO Max, the DC gang has only made fleeting appearances in LEGO sets this year. Maximus Marriott-Smith laments their absence and speculates on where they’ve gone
The partnership between DC Comics and the LEGO Group has produced countless sets and subthemes, a plethora of video games, three minifigure series and even a blockbuster movie in the form of The LEGO Batman Movie.
Since the summer wave of sets has been officially revealed, as a massive LEGO lover and a huge DC fan, I found myself once again disappointed. The sets we received last year paled in comparison to previous years – and 2021 has somehow managed to be far worse than last year.
The snazzy looking 1960s Batmobile caught my eye immediately. I was however disappointed by the presence of another Juniors set (in addition to the one we already received this year). The two Batman helmets have been mostly well received – but DC fans will surely be wanting more than this.
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Across the floor, Marvel has the theme’s largest LEGO set to date, three waves of sets connected with the new Spider-Man, Shang-Chi and Eternals films, a rumoured minifigure series based off the Disney+ shows, a wave of sets based on previous Marvel Studios films, two helmets inspired by Venom: Let There be Carnage, a Spider-Man wave earlier this year and an advent calendar to boot. Woah, that’s a lot of Marvel sets for 2021.
Meanwhile, DC has only seen a Batman character pack, two Batman Juniors sets, two Batman cowls and a classic Batmobile announced. It’s a line-up that falls significantly short of Marvel’s epic offering for this year.
So, why is DC getting significantly fewer sets than Marvel? Let’s speculate.
Reason 1 – Marvel’s popularity
You’d have to be living very, very far off the grid to not have noticed that, Marvel has been absolutely killing it at the flicks recently. As such, there has been an increase in demand for Marvel toys due to ‘Marvel fever’. It seems likely that the LEGO Group is keen to capitalise on this. Avengers: Endgame made over $1 billion at the box office, so it seems only right that they try their best to get as many sales as they can out of the film itself, along with the rest of the Marvel franchises.
Reason 2: A lack of child friendly films from DC recently
Naturally, with a film will come toys – those things that the LEGO Group churns out. Toys can only be released if the film is child friendly, like pretty much all of the Marvel films. DC films on the other hand tend to have darker implications. The LEGO Group released a singular set for Wonder Woman 1984 and no sets at all for Birds of Prey (which also released last year), no sets for Zack Snyder’s Justice League and there aren’t likely to be any The Suicide Squad sets. One can only assume that the LEGO Group and DC are waiting for a time to strike when the iron is hot. While DC isn’t releasing many movies, it may not be the best time to release sets.
Reason 3: Coronavirus mucking up the schedule
There were rumours flying around late last year and early this year that there would be at least three sets based on the upcoming The Batman film starring Robert Pattinson, which was scheduled for release this year. The sets would have coincided with the release of the blockbuster, which has been pushed back to 2022. We would have had at least three sets releasing this year on top of the Juniors sets, the 1960s Batmobile and the character pack, but they’re likely coming next year now.
This isn’t the end of the DC-LEGO partnership. It has been amongst the quietest brick years for the Batman property itself and certainly the quietest year since the LEGO Group began the DC theme in 2012. Where we’re seeing leaks for upcoming Marvel sets almost daily and multiple rumours around future Star Wars sets, it feels that DC is being somewhat neglected. As a huge DC fan, I’m certainly keeping my fingers crossed for a better 2022, where hopefully we can see some sets featuring other DC characters alongside Batman, including Black Adam, The Flash and Aquaman – all of who have highly-anticipated movies releasing next year.