Saturday, July 25, 2015

Flashback - The LEGO and Star Wars collaboration - part 1

A color layout of the minifigs behind the Star Wars logo

Back in late 1997 I got one of those phone calls that you can only dream about. 
At that time we at ADVANCE only dared to dream about what would happen if LEGO started to work together with some of the big film IP’s of the world like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, any of the Superheroes or others. But that was only wild fantasy.

Working at ADVANCE I had been doing many different LEGO launches until then and was heading the Art Direction of LEGO Technic . I had done some concept development on different new projects including my own test project “Cybots”. 

But then one morning this call came through!. I can’t remember the exact words but it was something like “Would you like to start working on the design for a new project we are starting up? It includes travling to San Francisco to have the first meeting with Lucas arts at The Skywalker Ranch to have design discussions and see the first glimpse of the new film “Episode 1”. 
“Wh-wh-What….YES!!! of cause” was my prompt answer.

As this was the first collaboration with a major IP we needed to make a clear connection between the 2 brands LEGO and Star Wars. I suggested to make a mini figure logo where the 2 sides of the conflict meet behind the Star Wars logo. That would blend the 2 brands perfectly. My good friend Jan Kjær who was then my assistent made the final version of the logo.

I might have forgotten the details but the approval process went extremely easy and both Lucas and LEGO were happy with the layouts. So it was just to go and put it on paper and cardboard (the web was not up and running yet). 

One thing is certain. My experience with Star Wars gave me a lot of inspiration for what came later in the form of Bionicle.

The very early logo sketch together with
my treasured Skywalker Ranch mug:).
The final box front design of the 1999 LEGO X-Wing Fighter
with the minifig logo in the upper right corner