Through the Ages
The release of "Solo: A Star Wars Story" on May 25 and Lego's new Kessel Run Millennium Falcon set in April provide a welcome invitation to reminisce about the many incarnations of an iconic "Star Wars" ship.
From the 7,541-piece, hyper-realistic, Ultimate Collector's Series set to the 87-brick minifighter, Lego has provided fans with ample opportunities to build, display and play with Han and Chewie's Corellian freighter.
Lego Millennium Falcons have delighted fans for nearly two decades now, making appearances in at least 13 standard sets as well as in several promotional items. And the ship has evolved alongside the bricks that compose it, growing sleeker as Lego developed new rounded and sloped pieces; and gradually becoming more accurate as its part count increased. [Look Inside the Lego Kessel Run Millennium Falcon!]
2000: Lego's 1st Millennium Falcon
Lego first released a Millennium Falcon set in 2000, shortly after licensing the "Star Wars" merchandise franchise in 1998. Like many first attempts, the model left much to be desired: Off-color structural pieces peeked through the ship's gray exterior, and a low brick count (663 pieces) gave the set a remarkably blocky appearance overall. However, this first model introduced one appealing aspect that has continued to appear in later sets: the removable roof, which allows fans to reconstruct their favorite scenes within the starship. The set also introduced the Princess Leia and C-3PO minifigures, and it also included Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca and R2-D2. It retailed for $100 when it came out.
2003: A Mini Falcon
In 2003, Lego launched a miniature version of the Millennium Falcon as part of its miniature building-set theme. At only $7, the 87-piece set provided an affordable opportunity for fans to reenact scenes from the movies. It also included the pieces for a mini Y-wing bomber that could be constructed with additional parts from three other sets in this line.
2004: Minifig-Scale Falcon
Lego's second, minifigure-scale version of the ship in 2004 was a drastic improvement over the company's previous model. The now 985-piece starship sported a streamlined cockpit and more accurate detail. Additionally, most of the unsightly structural elements were tucked farther into the ship's interior. Lego's engineers also redesigned the ship's roof to open like a blooming flower, rather than come off as one solid piece. However, the price point remained unchanged at $100.
2007: 1st Ultimate Collector's Series Falcon
Lego outdid itself in 2007, when the company released the Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon. The model was the largest set released at that time, according to the fan-written website Brickipedia, comprising 5,197 pieces and measuring 33 inches long by 22 inches wide by 8.3 inches tall. It was also the first Ultimate Collector's Series set built to minifigure scale. In contrast, the previous minifigure-scale versions of the ship had reproduced the ship smaller than it would truly have been based on its appearance in the movies. And unfortunately, aside from the cockpit, which was designed for the five minifigures to inhabit, the ship did not feature any interior compartments. The model was truly astounding, though: It featured movable laser turrets, incredible detail and a smoother, more refined appearance than the ship's previous incarnations. The set's $500 price tag reflected its ambitious aspirations. [In Photos: Lego's Kessel Run Millennium Falcon from "Solo: A Star Wars Story"]
2007: Tiny Millennium Falcon Charm
The year 2007 also saw the release of Lego's smallest Millennium Falcon product, a bag charm version of the starship. Lego bag charms and key chains come prebuilt and glued together, so the product has no official part count. However, it was likely built from about 35 pieces. It cost $10.
2009: More Detail, No Minifigs
In 2009, Lego launched a 356-piece, midscale Millennium Falcon. The set was meant to bridge the gap between the miniature- and minifigure-scale models. As such, it included more detail than the miniatures, but did not come with minifigure characters. The set sold for $35 exclusively at Walmart, where it was joined a year later by theImperial Star Destroyer, the company's only other midscale set.
2011: New Minifig-Scale Falcon
Lego's next Millennium Falcon appeared in 2011, following the company's trend of releasing a new model of the ship every two to three years. The set included almost one-third again as many pieces as the last minifigure-scale set (from 2004), bringing the part count to 1,254 bricks. This version was a tad larger and more stable than its predecessor, according to one fan; however, aside from extra detail, there don't seem to be many differences between the two in the sets' overall design. The extra pieces did contribute to a higher cost, though: The 2011 version sold for $140.
2011: A Tiny Falcon
Lego also released a miniscule version of the Falcon in its 2011 Star Wars Advent Calendar set, which sold for $40. In that version, Lego's master builders were able to coax the likeness of Han Solo's ship from just 13 bricks.
2014: Micro Fighter Millennium Falcon
The year 2014 saw a return of miniature Lego star fighters to toy store shelves. Unlike the 2003 miniature ships, however, these microfighters were caricatured versions of the ships they were meant to represent. The 94-piece, $10 Millennium Falcon microfighter included a Han Solo minifigure that could sit atop its shrunken ship, lending it an overall appearance of a passenger in a motorcycle sidecar.
2015: The Force Awakens
Lego fans received an updated version of the beat-up Corellian freighter alongside the release of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in 2015. The 1,329-piece starship sports a new, rectangular dish seen in the movie as well as a modified crew consisting of Han, Chewie, Rey, Finn, BB-8, the criminal Tasu Leech and one of his gang members. Again, the model boasted more detail thanks to its increased part count; however, the basic design remained the same as the previous two minifigure-scale sets. In fact, all three appear to use the same two transparent cockpit pieces. This set sold for $140 when it came out, reflecting the increasing number of pieces included in Lego's standard Millennium Falcon sets.