The Force is strong with those innovative engineers at Lego.
In fact, it’s never been stronger.
With the impending release of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens in December, representatives from the world’s greatest building block biz have teamed with ambassadors from DK Publishing on a new book that presents the Star Wars universe like you’ve never seen it before.
Lego Star Wars in 100 Scenes is a fun folio wherein the clever mini-figure creators reimagine your favorite movie moments from that galaxy far, far away using only the company’s iconic stick ‘n’ stack toys. The 220-page book covers the entire saga (thus far), from 1977’s Episode IV – A New Hope through 2005’s prequel-capping Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, with macro-photographs of over a dozen craftily-arranged scenes devoted to each cinematic installment in eye-popping foldouts.
Overseen by project editor Sharon Last—and boasting funny text (and fascinating Lego trivia) by Daniel Liplowitz)—100 Scenes is both a celebration of George Lucas’ blockbuster series and memory-tickling testament to the power of boundless imagination of kids (and parents) everywhere. Each gatefold image contains amusing inset commentary from that pessimistic protocol droid, C3PO, and captions detailing Lego Star Wars factotum that probably escaped you…till now.
Oh, and the bookmakers have added comic book cartoon bubbles to the proceedings to liven things up (not that the colorful images aren’t enough on their own). Most character quotes are good for a laugh. Others will have readers scratching their heads over little movie glitches that shot past us (even after hundreds of viewings) or which should’ve seemed obvious to our plucky heroes in the Rebel Alliance. For example, in the Episode I – Phantom Menace scene recreating Darth Maul’s desert ambush on Jedi knight Qui-Gon Jinn, the scarlet-faced Sith addresses his lack of dialogue in the 1999 film:
“I’ve only got two lines in this movie…I’m not wasting them now!”
Bringing levity to an otherwise depressing Cloud City set, a flash-frozen Han Solo debunks his cool carbonite condition with a defiant wisecrack: “It’s s-s-still warmer than Hoth!” Or how about the grisly Episode II sequence where an impulsive Anakin slays his mother’s Tusken captors?
“I am so CROSS right now!” he says.
During the climactic Episode V duel wherein Darth Vader reveals the nature of his relationship with Luke Skywalker, the injured young combatant notes the “awfully coincidental” turn of events. Another Empire Strikes Back scene with Luke (in his X-Wing) and Han and Leia (in the Millennium Falcon) going their separate ways (after abandoning Hoth) has the Dagobah-bound Luke deadpan: “You keep those Star Destroyers occupied while I go get magic powers.”
We never saw the film’s inequitable division of labor in quite that light, but there’s no refuting Han’s run of bad luck at the end of that picture.
Heck, each new chapter even commences with a yellow space scroll—just like in the movies—that brings us up-to-speed on current events on Naboo, Coruscant, Tatooine, and elsewhere:
“Civil War, blah…blah…blah,” reads the intro paragraph for Episode IV—A New Hope.
Then, more to the point: “The Empire has a Death Star!”
“Hey, there’s a lot of yellow text floating around out here,” observes one star pilot mini-figure—in the first of many funny instances of characters shattering the fourth wall that exists between us and them in theatres.
The editors go with logic and present scenes from the six films in chronological order rather than the sequence of their release dates—which is to say they begin with Episode I (the prequel trilogy) and end with Episode VI—Return of the Jedi (the original space opera). We’re treated to recreations of Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon’s diplomatic mission with the treacherous trade federation, their detour on Tatooine with Padme, Anakin’s pod race, and the electrifying light saber duel between the Jedi and Darth Maul in the Naboo plasma refinery complex Pages for Episode II bring us Obi-Wan’s fight with Jango Fett on Kamino, their subsequent dogfight among the asteroids, the arena battle on Geonosis, the standoff between Mace Windu and Jango (“Don’t lose your head!”), and Yoda’s confrontation with Dooku.
The chapter on Episode III memorializes the fight between Anakin and Dooku, the Battle of Kashyyyk (with Lego wookies and camouflage biker scouts), Obi-Wan’s faceoff with the four-armed General Grievous, Palpatine vs. Mace Windu, the execution of Order 66, and the lava-hot showdown between Obi-Wan and Anakin on Mustafar (which leaves the near-dead Anakin ready for his Darth Vader makeover).
Shots from the original trilogy relive the droid’s escape to Tatooine, their imprisonment by the Jawas (and sale to moisture farmer Owen Lars), Luke and Ben’s visit to Mos Eisley cantina (with the Modal Nodes Band, dewbacks, and myriad creatures on display), the close call in the trash compactor, and destruction of the Death Star.
“Hey, shouldn’t Chewie get a medal, too?” asks Luke in the throne room.
We’re biased toward the Empire Strikes Back, whose Lego-modified shots present Echo Base, the Wampa’s lair, the AT-AT attack, the asteroid pursuit, and Luke’s swampy visit with Yoda. We also get a nifty plate showing a “Bounty Hunter Party” on Darth’s Star Destroyer, with Boba Fett, Bossk, IG-88 and Dengar in attendance (no 4-LOM or Zuckuss, however). The segment on Episode VI takes us to Jabba’s palace, the struggle at the Great Pit of Carkoon (with the Sarlaac), Yoda’s final moments, the rebel briefing with Mon Mothma and Admiral Ackbar (“It’s a trap!”), speeder bike chase on Endor, a trip to the Ewok village in the trees, the bunker gunfight / shield generator gambit, the Death Star II onslaught, and final skirmish between Luke and Vader (and the evil Emperor, whose expressionless mini-figure is shown falling down a reactor shaft).
If you’re not careful, you just may learn a thing or two, like the names of a few aliens (Logray, Chirpa), vehicles (The Invisible Hand, The Radiant, Punworcca), and accessories shown in the flicks but never mentioned aloud. Did you know the name of Zam Wessell’s airspeeder from Attack of the Clones? Or what the sand people call their spiked metal weapons? Or the name of Obi-Wan’s reptilian steed in Episode III?
In the penultimate panes, our victorious “Force Friends” ponder their next adventure:
“I guess we’ll find out in Episode VII!” marvels Luke.
“There’s going to be an Episode VII?” blurts Han. “How come nobody tells me these things?!”
It becomes apparent flipping through 100 Scenes that Lego has manufactured figures, vehicles, and playsets for more Star Wars vignettes than we remember. Fortunately, the book comes off as more of a tribute than deluxe sales advert. If your tots subscribe to Lego’s monthly magazine, you’ve seen some of these nifty items before. But it’s a nostalgic trip down memory lane for adult readers, too.
We certainly enjoyed the glossies of these intrepid, brick-bound reinterpretations, and for less than twenty bucks, it’s a nice warm-up for The Force Awakens.