Opinions On The New Death Star

75159 Death Star Leak Thumb

You may not be aware of this, but right now there are images floating around online that claim to be the new 75159 Death Star set. I’m not going to repost the images, but for those interested they can be found on reddit, in various threads.

The images may be fake but they do seem to line up with other reports about the set – 75159 is nearly identical to the most recent Death Star set 10188.

It seems that LEGO and Disney are using the same logic as Emperor Palpatine himself – just build the same thing again.

If you talk to any adult LEGO fan long enough there will always be one set that they wish they’d been able to get, and the conversation often goes to remakes or re-releases. AFOLs seem to be generally in favour of remakes but the online reaction to 75159 has been really negative. Should we be happy that LEGO seem open to reproducing a set, or is this just a lazy cash grab and a bad sign for the future? I think there are a few issues at play here…

People are still pissed off about Assault on Hoth

A lot of people hate the Assault on Hoth set. Various reviews made that clear, and there are a lot of reasons for that hate. The general consensus seems to be that Assault on Hoth is a badly designed collection of small sets stuck together. Something that cheapens the UCS label.

I don’t have the set myself, but I have seen enough to completely understand those negative opinions. People are mad that LEGO have released a big playset and put the UCS label on it. That UCS badge felt like LEGO were making things for the adult community, essentially telling AFOLs that they were valuable customers too. A UCS set wasn’t for kids, it was something different. Assault on Hoth cheapened that for a lot of people. Then LEGO follow that up with a near identical remake of another playset. I totally get that frustration as an AFOL.

Remakes are great, just don’t remake that!

This is undoubtedly the opinion that I read the most often. People love the idea of LEGO reproducing a large set that isn’t available any more. They just wish it wasn’t that set. To be honest I kind of get it. 10188 was still available until very recently. It was also on the market for a long time. People who have been interested in LEGO for any decent amount of time have had plenty of opportunity to get the set.

Perhaps LEGO could have remade something nearly impossible to get these days? Remake the early modulars or I’m sure nobody would complain about a new UCS Millennium Falcon.

This argument might be a little bit of a selfish one. There are absolutely going to be people who buy 75159 because they never had the chance to get 10188. I don’t own 10188 and may just be a little bit interested in seeing what this new set has to offer. It’s important to remember that LEGO doesn’t give a damn about you and what sets you already own, they only care about what is going to sell well.

“But she’s got a new hat!”

There is a classic episode of the Simpsons where Lisa designs a doll to inspire young girls. When her doll gets some media attention the makers of the previous top doll spend hours trying to work out how to fix their Malibu Stacey doll and compete. Eventually they come up with the brilliant idea to release the same old doll with a new hat.

The scene in question perfectly satirises the kind of corporate thinking that treats consumers like idiots.

Some people see 75159 as the same old doll with a new hat, which seems fair – one of the very few changes seems to be new prints and hair pieces.

Is this new set LEGO appealing to the desires of the market, or is it the result of some uninspired meeting between Disney suits and uninterested designers. It’s impossible to know the inner workings of what went in to this set, but it’s very easy to be cynical and call it out as laziness.

The mouse made them do it

This one might be a bit of a conspiracy theory, but it’s hardly outside the realm of possibility. Here’s the general gist of it – Disney know that 10188 was popular. They want it back on the market, just with a Disney logo on it. Disney paid good money for Star Wars.

For this theory to be true then you would have to accept that Disney have enough power to dictate terms to The LEGO Group. The Star Wars licence pretty much saved LEGO, so maybe they are willing to let Disney call the shots a little.

An elaborate hoax

The images and information seems fairly legitimate, but until we have an official announcement from LEGO there remains the possibility that this is an elaborate hoax. If so it’s been well done.

Maybe the images being a hoax is the best possible outcome? It means that the actual set still has a chance to avoid all of these issues that are making people so angry.


In the next few days or weeks LEGO are going to release the official details of 75159 The Death Star. There will be press releases, lots of pictures, pricing and maybe even a designer video.

When that happens some of you are going to be angry and some of you are going to think it’s a great set. The thing to remember is that neither one of those groups are exactly wrong. There are people who have 10188 and think this is a waste of time and takes away something awesome that might have been. There are also going to be people who were saving up to buy a 10188 on bricklink that are going to be ecstatic. Let’s have the discussion so LEGO can see both sides of it.

11 Responses to Opinions On The New Death Star

  1. Michael says:

    It makes perfect sense for LEGO to release a Death Star late in 2016 as it coincides with the release of Rogue One which is all about the Death Star.

    What is annoying for me is that if the rumours and leaked images are true, there has been no effort made to include any minifigures or scenes relating to the new movie to properly integrate it and provide a fair enough reason to explain why the set is back on the market again.

    • Glen says:

      Not to mention the rumoured $100 USD price increase. I think that is personally my biggest fear and frusteation with this set. The idea they can pull something from market do sone minor adjustments and then raise the price unreasonably.

  2. Ed says:

    Although I think the price increase is out of order (if it happens and it is unjustifiable). I will still be happy to see what is effectively the same set come out for a rerelease. It Seemed to be a very desirable set and I would love to see what it does to the bottom line of unscrupulous resellers. I wish Lego rereleased only slightly different variations of all their higher end items periodically for this very purpose.

    I know there are resellers out there who don’t just buy out the entire stock of retailers during sales however, this is the kind of strategy that could really hurt the bad eggs.

  3. Monty says:

    I could be wrong, but I thought this Death Star would be a UCS version, not a play version.

    So, even though I have not seen the images (avoid images until Lego release them), I had expected the new Death Star to be more like 10143 rather than 10188. The first seems a little meh to me, I am more of a ship fan – but would absolutely purchase for the build experience alone,, and the second was, I thought, a playable version – which I didn’t purchase as it personally wasn’t aesthetically pleasing to me a display piece.

    It will therefore be interesting to see the new Death Star and I really hope it is not like 10188, not because that wasn’t a great model, but rather it indicates a new direction for the UCS branding – Battle of Hoth I can forgive as a misjudgment in the target audience, to repeat that indicates a decision to refocus the brand away from the AFOL for UCS. Having said that I did find that the Ewok Village, which is a superb set and which did not have UCS branding was certainly of such a high calibre that it could have.

    In essence, for me personally, if it is like 10188 it shouldn’t have a UCS title, and, if it does, I will find it very disappointing.

    Remakes do not bother me in the slightest, as I find Lego designs in general are much better today (especially with the incorporation of interior Technic techniques in complex models) than their historical counterparts, not withstanding the nostalgia, (and of course there’s a couple of sets I would love to own).

    TL/DR: Here’s hoping, it is not a remake of 10188 with UCS branding.

    • Ed says:

      I agree it shouldn’t have UCS branding if it is 95% the same. To be honest though IMO none of the Death Star sets are really worth it. All they are is big and repetitive to me. Regardless I would bet that it will be tied in with the new movie anyway, so at least the interior scenes should be different.

  4. Mark says:

    All excellent points Michael. I would say the disaster that was Assault on Hoth has AFOLs with pitchforks at the ready, particularly as we haven’t had a real UCS release since May 2015. If the leaked info does prove to be accurate then it would seem a fresh lick of ABS is just an excuse to charge a considerable amount more for essentially the same thing. TLG appear to be testing the market of late, the price of all the new waves have jumped considerably. It will be interesting to see what effect it has on the value of retired sets…imagine how many people stockpiled 10188 over the eight or so years it was available. Bring on 10179 version 2.0 in 2017 I say!

  5. Adam says:

    I think Lego are a mature enough company to manage consumer and social media expectations, if its a re release of 10188 they have no one to blame but themselves for a backlash. They have hyped a new set.

  6. Andrew says:

    How funny, I remember reading an article last year, where the community were crying out to Lego, that they need to update the Death Star, that the minifigs looked dated compared to recent releases, which seemed reasonable considering how long the set had been on the market, If I had purchased the original, then I would not consider getting one, but i would still love to get one, and suffer to anyone trying to make a profit on the old retired set.

  7. Jarratt says:

    Well just my 2 cents… I may now have to take my two mint condition boxed lego Death Stars and if the new rumored one is released and instead make it into a giant Star Killer moc instead!

  8. Mark says:

    There are now “leaked” images of a Lego store employee putting one together, as well as an image of the side of the box showing the minifig lineup. For what is essentially a minifig update even they are disappointing! A lot of them are non-exclusive and I don’t think Lord Vader would be too pleased with the number of absentee imperial officers at the meeting table!

  9. Anthony says:

    As an AFOL and a UCS Star Wars collector this year has been super disappointing. If the awful hoth set wasn’t bad enough (I own it and it’s crap). Lego back up with a rehash of the Death Star that retired less than 12 months ago. It will be the first time ever I will pass on a Star Wars UCS set. I can’t justify going out and spending $800+ on a few updated mini figures and a repeat of a death star which I already own.

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