31107 Space Rover Explorer is not an officially licensed set related to the book or film The Martian. It kind of feels like there was some inspiration though.
Be warned – this article is going to contain spoilers for The Martian so if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book you might want to go do that first.
The Martian tells the story of Mark Watney. An astronaut who is stranded on Mars when his crewmates leave the planet without him, assuming that he was killed by a storm. Mark is completely alone.
31107 Space Rover Explorer comes with a single male minifigure. Does that minifigure look like Matt Damon? It doesn’t not look like Matt Damon.
A key plot point of The Martian is Mark growing potatoes using human waste to transform the dead Martian soil. Is this a potato plant?
Another plot point of the book/movie is Mark figuring out a way to travel long distances in the rover. He needs to figure out a way to generate additional heat in order to survive the cold nights. To do this he digs up some radioactive material. That kind of looks like what is happening here in 31107 RIGHT?!
Why does Mark need to travel long distances in the rover? Initially it is because he has come up with a plan that would potentially allow him to communicate with Earth. That plan is to travel to where the Pathfinder rover is located, and bring it back with him. 31107 Space Rover Explorer comes with a small rover. It’s a bit more complex than pathfinder but to me it still feels like it lines up pretty well with the plot.
The main part that doesn’t line up is the alien included in the set. The Martian doesn’t include any cool green aliens. But that’s just an extra for the kids. Us adults can see this as the unofficial The Martian set that it really is.
While it’s not a full The Martian set I honestly think the designer had to have that in the back of their mind when creating this set. There’s a lot of similarities and to be honest I can’t say I’d blame them. The Martian is one of my favourite films and books.
This set was provided to me by LEGO at my request. Opinions expressed are my own.