20 Years of Lego Star Wars Minifigures
The annual "Star Wars Day" holiday, May the Fourth, is a wonderful time to look back at the 40-plus years of franchise history that has inspired fans throughout the world. We now have three sets of Hollywood movies, several television shows, and countless comic books, costumes and other merchandise to inspire us.
And of course, there are the Lego Star Wars building sets and minifigures — dozens upon dozens of them. Just like the Lego Millennium Falcon has changed with time, so have the minifigures that represent Luke Skywalker and his fellow characters from a galaxy far, far away.
Click through this gallery to see how some of the most iconic Lego Star Wars minifigures have evolved over the last 20 years.
Related: The History of Lego's Millennium Falcon: A Photo Timeline (opens in new tab)
Let's start with the star of the original movie series (1977 to 1983): Luke Skywalker. As long-time fans will know, Skywalker grows up on the world of Tatooine. He begins as a young man obsessed with the glory of being a pilot, but this set of figurines mainly shows him matured as a Jedi knight. In "Return of the Jedi" (1983), Skywalker dons a black suit. There's a lot of rumors surrounding why the drab colors; some conspiracy theories suggest it's because fans thought Skywalker might turn to the Dark Side in the last film.
Here you can see the many roles of Luke Skywalker. The white clothing represents what he used to wear on Tatooine, presumably because it's so warm on that double-sunned planet. Orange shows his fighter pilot clothes, and black is more representative of what he wore after he became a Jedi knight. As for the brown? It's close to what Skywalker wore in Dagobah, where he received personal training from Jedi knight Yoda.
As Skywalker grows in maturity as a Jedi knight, he also grows as a person. His innocent white clothes from the time he was in Tatooine gradually turn into more colors, representing the complexity of his character. He becomes an accomplished pilot, a steady warrior and a leader for the resistance.
As an action hero, Skywalker picks up accessories and a few bruises. A couple of figurines here prominently show his lightsaber, that famous glowing sword that the Jedi used in combat. It can cut you in half if you're not careful, so stay out of the way! You can also see Skywalker here with a black eye, which he picks up in "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) during an epic fight with villain Darth Vader.
Among the minifigures in this set, you may be wondering: why is Skywalker carrying a bone? This is a nod to "Return of the Jedi" (1983), when Skywalker and his buddies Han Solo and Chewbacca are trapped in a sewer-like basement with a rancor, one of Jabba the Hutt's monsters. With few weapons available to them, Skywalker creatively uses the bone from some previous victim to defend himself and his friends.
This set of figurines contrasts Skywalker as an innocent young man (the ones with short hair) and Skywalker as the grizzled, cynical veteran who features in "The Last Jedi" (2017). Skywalker is asked for help once again in fighting against the Dark Side, and is reluctant to do so because he has faced a lot of losses over the years. He lives on a remote island and in some ways, wishes he could change the past.
Yoda is a Jedi Master well known for helping the resistance during the Clone Wars featured in the "Star Wars" prequel films (1999-2005), and also when the Empire is at its height during the original series (1977-1983). In this series of minifigures, he shows his skill with a lightsaber. However, Yoda used another weapon – his mind – during combat and also to formulate strategy.
Chewbacca is a Wookie who is a strong warrior, an excellent co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon, and somebody who is renowned for loyalty to his companions. Most of the figurines show Chewbacca carrying a bowcaster, which is best explained as a laser crossbow. However, Chewbacca is a formidable opponent even with only his hands.
Don't be fooled by the teddy bear-like appearance of these creatures; they are just at good as fighting as they are at holding peaceful discussions. Ewoks are hunter-gatherers who appeared in "Return of the Jedi" (1983) as well as a couple of stand-alone made-for-television films. They are also adept at using their environment to help them, through fashioning weapons and even making treetop passages.
It doesn't matter what Darth Vader is wearing — he is a formidable foe who even his allies fear. Here you can see him in various iterations of his classic black costume, usually holding a lightsaber. Don't be fooled by all that armor; Vader is not only strong, but able to adapt to the circumstances through martial arts moves and implementing chokeholds remotely through "The Force."