Lego David

Why is LEGO so hesitant about bringing back classic themes?

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Just now, Brandon Pea said:

Because Star Wars has a story behind it. Its also a well known franchise and extremely popular. Not just among KFOLs and TFOLs, but also AFOLs as well. That's why it sells. Classic Space didn't suck, but it didn't have any of the traits that Star Wars has besides the fact that they are both science fiction. 

LEGO could very easily integrate a story into a original Space theme. They did that with Bionicle, Ninjago, and so on. So I don't see how a new Space wouldn't be successful nowdays if they did that.

 

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@Lego David Listen buddy..... Its general common sense. We won't always get what we want. Sometimes, Lego doesn't even see the point in making certain things so they don't. Even though we think its worth it. Lego does things we don't like all the time. Just live with it. 

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4 minutes ago, Brandon Pea said:

@Lego David Listen buddy..... Its general common sense. We won't always get what we want. Sometimes, Lego doesn't even see the point in making certain things so they don't. Even though we think its worth it. Lego does things we don't like all the time. Just live with it. 

That kind of goes against the point is discussing it at all doesn't it? Like, why bother to provide feedback to Lego, or share frustrations with other fans?

You two disagree, I can see, but everybody's opinion here comes from a place of love for Lego, so it's not helpful to say "just live with it".

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@leafan We have to keep what we want within reason. Look at my posts about City sets. I know my ideas on how to improve the theme and subtheme ideas for the theme will most likely not happen. But they are still within reason. Asking Lego to revive a dead theme when children have plenty of similar themes, if not better ones to play with, isn't a reasonable wish. 

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4 minutes ago, Brandon Pea said:

revive a dead theme when children have plenty of similar themes, if not better ones

That's part of the issue you are not seeing anyone else's point of view on.

There are no similar themes to pirates, nor are there better ones.

There are two similar themes to Space if you count Star Wars and City Space. Those being better or worse is entirely subjective to the individual. If Star Wars was the definitive best iteration of a Space theme, you would not have ANY City Space. Since it isn't and since Space is a temporary setting for City there is definite room in the lineup for an inhouse Space Theme that can co-exist with the latest iteration of X-Wing, Sandspeeder, Snowspeeder, AT-ST, Tie-Fighter and 15 Millennium Falcons.

There is no theme similar to Castle. Harry Potter comes the closest but aside from Hogwarts being a "Castle" it has nothing to do with what we mean when we talk about Castle. It has been useful as a source of parts for Castle MOCs here and there but that's about it.

 

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43 minutes ago, Brandon Pea said:

 Asking Lego to revive a dead theme when children have plenty of similar themes, if not better ones to play with, isn't a reasonable wish. 

There are no Castle or Pirate themes right now.

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Just now, TeriXeri said:

There are no Castle or Pirate themes right now.

I was talking about classic space. 

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1 hour ago, Lego David said:

Saying that modern kids prefer realistic space over sci-fi space is just ridiculous to be honest. After all, if that's the case, than why in the world is Star Wars still one of the top selling LEGO themes? 

Because Star Wars is more of a cultural phenomenon rather than just futuristic or sci-fi space. Kids know about Star Wars from a very young age and not because it is sci-fi space, it is because we pass it down to them. Why do they know about SW from the late 70s / early 80s and not another similar age sci-fi space brand such as the original Battlestar Galactica? We show them SW characters and ships in many ways. My kids knew who Darth Vader was probably 5-6 years before I first let them watch Star Wars. It is similar with Batman, many young Western kids will know who he is without having seen a movie or read a comic book.

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4 minutes ago, Brandon Pea said:

I was talking about classic space. 

Well, then I agree that recent times have been better for those :

2019 was a Space year for sure, outside of Star Wars, both City and LEGO MOVIE 2 provided sets there.

Party Bus, Emmet House&Rocket / Rexplorer / Rexcelsior / Systar Starship / Benny's Squad / Benny's Repairshop / Wyld-Mayhem Star Fighter all had Spaceships.

Edited by TeriXeri

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1 hour ago, Masked Mini said:

Well point one is refuted by point two isn't it? Star Wars is "futuristic views from 30-40 years ago."

Not really, as Star Wars is heavily driven by merchandising today just as it was in the 1970s. Star Wars is so much more than just futuristic space.

 

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4 minutes ago, TeriXeri said:

Well, then I agree that recent times have been better for those :

2019 was a Space year for sure, outside of Star Wars, both City and LEGO MOVIE provided there.

Exactly! 

35 minutes ago, Masked Mini said:

That's part of the issue you are not seeing anyone else's point of view on.

HEY!!!! I bring up points that are just as good as everyone else's on this forum. If certain scenarios are already being covered with a substantial amount of sets, I just don't think its necessary to beg for more or to have more on top of those until they have been killed off. Why do you think I say what I say about certain City sets? All the same, I think I'm done here. 

Edited by Brandon Pea

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1 hour ago, leafan said:

Yeah, these market research companies do not come cheap. Doesn't invalidate what I said though.

Not at all what I was implying, I agree with mostly everything you said. At the end of the day Lego is guessing what kids want, just like us, but they're educated guesses.

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3 hours ago, MAB said:

Star Wars is heavily driven by merchandising *snip*. Star Wars is so much more than just futuristic space.

Yeah, you're right. You also made an excellent point above re: passing down through folklore rather than the actual sci-fi substance.

 

3 hours ago, Brandon Pea said:

If certain scenarios are already being covered with a substantial amount of sets, I just don't think its necessary to beg for more or to have more on top of those until they have been killed off.

The only scenario here "already being covered by substantial amounts of sets" is space with star wars. Anyone not into Star Wars or who already owns a fleet of Alphabet fighters or who wants a spaceship that isn't DBG or LBG is brick out of luck. Especially as Star Wars is highly unlikely to be killed off until 50 years after the heat death of the universe. It never hurts to ask for or demonstrate a want for a Space theme that is not set in a Galaxy far away and a long time ago. I find it puzzling that you are arguing so hard against it. Especially since this is not a case of "It's either Classic Castle/Space/Pirate OR more CITY." You lose nothing by other people getting a revival of their fandom themes. 

 

3 hours ago, Brandon Pea said:

All the same, I think I'm done here. 

Maybe a good idea. You seem to be taking this discourse as a personal attack and I assure you it is not. We are all fellow Fans here, though we may not see eye to eye on this topic.

 

 

2 hours ago, gza said:

At the end of the day Lego is guessing what kids want, just like us, but they're educated guesses.

Utterly agree with you. I wish they'd share more of their educated guesses but then that'd be handing their competitors a free leg up. ::sigh::
Back to Plan B: Finish my M.BA and get hired into TLG management, then advocate internally for Classic Themes. Look for them on shelves around 2050, just in time for my retirement.

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Oh dear! The "personal attack" card again! 

I'm going to say this and I hope I never have to say this again. Stop playing that card just because someone is frustrated over the fact that they can't get you to understand why Lego won't do certain themes again. Its annoying and pretty irrelevant. 

No one is even angry here. But a little word of wisdom: You can't provoke someone to frustration and then act like they are the ones in the wrong. 

Edited by Brandon Pea

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6 hours ago, Lego David said:

Saying that modern kids prefer realistic space over sci-fi space is just ridiculous to be honest. After all, if that's the case, than why in the world is Star Wars still one of the top selling LEGO themes? 

I did ... does that make me older than dirt? :) If one of the supposed reasons for the enduring presence of Star Wars in Lego's portfolio is its rich storyline and world-building, well - real-life space has that in spades, doesn't it? A dramatic storyline, memorable heroes, a whole world beyond what makes it to the big screen, and a plethora of source material to adapt into Lego sets or build as MOCs.  That's why real-life space does so well on Ideas, in  part.  The main groups of sets that my parents bought for me and that I bought with my chore money were Star Wars and real-life space (Town, City, Discovery), and they're still the main groups I buy today.  Most of Lego's in-house space themes when I was growing up, and those in the past that I was aware of, didn't appeal to me because they were just generic neon-colored swooshies with a bunch of chaotic angles and bits and bobs sticking out everywhere, not connected to any sci-fi franchise I cared about.  If that was my attitude 20 years ago, I wouldn't be too surprised if today's kids had similar opinions.  My appreciation for the older Space themes has grown as I've become more of an AFOL, but I agree that the lack of well-known stories was probably holding in-house Space back in the late 1990s.  However, I can certainly appreciate the fact that many kids, then and now, would find realistic space incredibly boring, and would strongly prefer sci-fi space of any kind to a space shuttle or space capsule.

As licensed spaceships of all kinds have come to entirely displace in-house spaceships outside the niche of City Space and one-offs for the Lego Movies, though, I do lament the relative lack of creativity and the relative homogeneity of the offerings.  It would be nice if Lego had a strong, sustainable in-house Space theme with multiple recurring factions as in the 1980s, and I think it would be wise for Lego to invest in that direction to prepare for the eventual cultural obsolescence of Star Wars, whenever that occurs.

55 minutes ago, Brandon Pea said:

Oh dear! The "personal attack" card again! You and the various others who are complaining over the fact that classic space is dead and not coming back are the ones who are really triggered. You're the ones who can't get it through your heads that it's dead and gone. 

I won't name names, but I have thought it ironic how often certain forum members who strongly miss Classic Space, or who strongly dislike Star Wars, seem to take it as a personal insult when others don't share their strong viewpoints.  These members dismiss any and all attempts at reasonable (for Eurobricks) discussion about the present state of things as malicious attacks intended to quash their views, without considering that their intensely personal reactions often have the effect of silencing or toxifying the discussion and shutting down those of differing views.  This lends such a repetitive, cyclical air to the threads that it's not usually worthwhile to participate.

Paragraph added in edit: I hope the paragraph above doesn't come across as passive aggressive or dismissive, since I myself hate it when other people's posts come across that way.  All I'm trying to say is that I can appreciate both sides of the typical Eurobricks Star Wars vs Classic Space arguments, and I wish we would just all get along and take each other's posts in good faith without anybody getting triggered, taking things personally, or acting dismissive towards anybody. Since most of us don't have any professional experience with decision making at Lego headquarters, nor with sales data nor with market research, either for Lego or for its competitors, we're all on equally speculative ground.  Now excuse me while I go spend a bunch of money on secondhand classic sets and brand new Star Wars ... if my wallet will let me.

Edited by icm
Edited themes mentioned in the paragraph later quoted by Brandon Pea, added a paragraph.

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24 minutes ago, icm said:

I won't name names, but I have thought it ironic how often certain forum members who strongly miss Classic Space, Castle, and Pirates seem to take it as a personal insult when others don't share their strong viewpoints.  These members dismiss any and all attempts at reasonable (for Eurobricks) discussion about the present state of things as malicious attacks intended to quash their views, without considering that their intensely personal reactions often have the effect of silencing or toxifying the discussion and shutting down those of differing views.  This lends such a repetitive, cyclical air to the threads that it's not usually worthwhile to participate.

Uh....ok

Edited by Brandon Pea

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16 hours ago, gza said:

"Research and development activities:

Each year, new product launches account for approximately 60% of the LEGO Group’s sales to consumers. More than 250 designers from more than 40 different countries make up the creative core of product development within the company, with the majority being based in the company’s headquarters in Billund, Denmark. The development activities that enable such an extensive degree of innovation comprise a wide range of initiatives from trend spotting and anthropological studies to the development of specific products and campaigns. The LEGO Group also co-operates with a number of educational institutions concerning various research projects within, among other topics, children’s play and new technologies."

I used to teach at a university that had a school of early childhood education and we were lucky enough to have a Lego lab.  Every year TLG gave us thousands of dollars worth of parts and, in exchange we sent them reports on curriculum development, kids' levels of interest and attention span, demographics of the kids involved, etc.  We even had a big play room with a mirror/window for unobtrusive observation of free play (and reps from Lego Education - with prior notice and parental authorization could come and covertly observe how kids in various age groups where relating to various elements/animal designs/story narratives, etc).

Most of that work just went into what sort of teacher curriculum suggestion cards where going to get bundled with a given Lego Education classroom kit.  I have to believe that if they went to that level of expense and effort just for a few printed bits of card stock to stick in a tub of bricks destined for a pre-school (or a high school in the case of our robotics stuff), they must be taking the question of market research and focus group seriously when it mainstream commercial products.

As for the actual question at hand, I think there's certainly something to the argument that they don't want Star Wars to cannibalize Space or Castle to undermine Harry Potter, but, as has been pointed out, that can't be the whole story because there's nothing competing with Pirates and Nexo-Knights managed to co-exist with Star Wars for years.  

Personally, I think it all about controlling the narrative.  When I was young(er) and mini-figures were new, they were all generic, the only backstories they had were the ones I invented for them.  Outside of CITY, we've really kinda lost that these days.  Everything seems to be heading in the direction of a pre-packaged franchise.  Generic pirates were a blank slate, but TLG seems to be gun-shy about making large commitments to blank slates.  They've found a formula that (generally) works for them (hell, Bionicle probably saved them) of controlling a standardized narrative with shows, comics, merchandizing and kits.  That level of world building takes time, and once you've down the groundwork you want to reap the rewards for some time as well.  They don't want to be fours years into development for a new pirate theme/show/movie with the first kits hitting the shelves in a years and then find out that the year after that a new PotC movie is coming out and if they want to license _that_  IP Disney wants them to drop any in-house pirate stuff for the duration of the contract.

Personally, I'd love to see a return of Pirates, but I'm afraid that if it ever were to happen, every crew member would have a name and a backstory and the kits would center around recreating popular episodes of the obligatory Nickelodeon show.  Free play just ain't what it was anymore. 

On a side note for the Thomas followers: I think "Big World Big Adventures" is too hyper, I appreciate the more diverse (gender/ethnicity) representation of the various engines, but I strongly prefer Thomas and Friends seasons 15-20 (CGI animation without going over the top) and miss Toby, Henry and many of the recurring characters from Sodor.

 

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9 minutes ago, ShaydDeGrai said:

On a side note for the Thomas followers: I think "Big World Big Adventures" is too hyper, I appreciate the more diverse (gender/ethnicity) representation of the various engines, but I strongly prefer Thomas and Friends seasons 15-20 (CGI animation without going over the top) and miss Toby, Henry and many of the recurring characters from Sodor.

I agree! I'm not the biggest fan of BWBA either. My favorite seasons of the CGI era are 17 to 21. 

@ShaydDeGrai On another note...so that's true! Tests do have to be done on the children. Well it would make sense. 

1 hour ago, icm said:

I hope the paragraph above doesn't come across as passive aggressive or dismissive, since I myself hate it when other people's posts come across that way.  All I'm trying to say is that I can appreciate both sides of the typical Eurobricks Star Wars vs Classic Space arguments, and I wish we would just all get along and take each other's posts in good faith without anybody getting triggered, taking things personally, or acting dismissive towards anybody. Since most of us don't have any professional experience with decision making at Lego headquarters, nor with sales data nor with market research, either for Lego or for its competitors, we're all on equally speculative ground.  Now excuse me while I go spend a bunch of money on secondhand classic sets and brand new Star Wars ... if my wallet will let me.

I can attest to that. 

Edited by Brandon Pea

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4 hours ago, gza said:

Not at all what I was implying, I agree with mostly everything you said. At the end of the day Lego is guessing what kids want, just like us, but they're educated guesses.

Fair enough; we agree :grin:

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2 minutes ago, ShaydDeGrai said:

They don't want to be fours years into development for a new pirate theme/show/movie with the first kits hitting the shelves in a years and then find out that the year after that a new PotC movie is coming out and if they want to license _that_  IP Disney wants them to drop any in-house pirate stuff for the duration of the contract.

That is an excellent point! I don't recall anyone else making that connection, I sure didn't.
Wasn't there talk of Disney rebooting PotC without Johnny Depp after the Amber Heard domestic violence fraud/hoax? They (Disney) would be neckdeep in pre-production at the same time as TLG if TLG was going to give us inhouse Pirates in time for the anniversary. Personally I don't see PotC without Depp's Captain Sparrow to be a viable success, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't try. After all the other movies all made bank and Disney never leaves a franchise idle while it's still milkable.

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It appears PotC 6 is still in the works (after significant delays). And still without Depp.
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/chernobyl-creator-tackling-pirates-caribbean-reboot-1250029
So we may just get more Pirates (of the Caribbean) in 2-3 years. Or however long they need to develop story, cast, shoot, pre and post-prod.
Even if we did get Lego Pirates in the meantime it'd end up being a short(ened) release so they don't cannibalize each other.

I don't really care which Pirates I get... so long as I get Pirate ships and maybe docks/buildings. I have at least one of each classic ship, five Black Pearls (don't ask how I keep stumbling into these) and two Queen Anne's. The Silent Mary was garbage for my purposes and too pricey to buy and "restore" to a non-ghost ship state. And a Destiny's Bounty. ::shrugs:: I like sail ships.

 

16 minutes ago, ShaydDeGrai said:

Generic pirates were a blank slate,

Not really. Though Tie-ins were easy to ignore or weren't even marketed in many countries.

16 minutes ago, ShaydDeGrai said:

 every crew member would have a name and a backstory and the kits would center around recreating popular episodes

That was already the case in Germany with Classic Pirates. I still have and listen to the Audio Dramas. Capt. Roger of the Black Shark (BSB), Bo'sun Willie, Rumpot the Helmsman, Lt. DeMartinez, Gov. Broadside, his Niece Camilla (Willies love interest), his sister Rebecca, Evil Capt. Baddock (can't remember the German ship name - Skulls Eye Schooner)… even the monkey and the parrot had names and a part to play.

And the UK had the Ladybird books with similar story arcs and names.

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17 hours ago, Lego David said:

Before Ninjago, were Ninjas that popular among kids?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1984), Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993) Are two massive media properties that have been trundling on full of Ninja. G.I. Joe had Ninja characters in the 80's with the action figures. Ninja have been a massive part of Pop Culture for decades and certainly a subject for toys and children's media since the 80's if not the 70'ss. But it was the 80's when US advertising laws meant that there was an explosion of 25 minute toy commercial shows (That had everything from the action figure it was created to promote right down to paper party cups and plates).

Ninjago just drew on the tropes of what came before it, knowing full well that boys of their target demographic loved Ninja, Colour Coding and Elemental Powers. The discussion at the time when the first leaks of the new Ninja theme (and was upsetting to castle fans who wanted the 1998 Ninja Theme back and saw the Ninja figure in CMF series 1 as a sign of this) actually called it LEGO Power Rangers from time to time. (I would know, I became forum staff because someone needed to look after Action Themes now a major new theme was up-coming that "belonged" in that sub-forum).

That LEGO have created a real success that even survived something of a "bomb" of a Movie tells us a lot of what kids seem to like playing.

Also, to stick my oar in on the Thomas The Tank Engine debate: If Ringo Starr is not narrating and doing all the voices, it just is not Thomas!

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Just now, Peppermint_M said:

Also, to stick my oar in on the Thomas The Tank Engine debate: If Ringo Starr is not narrating and doing all the voices, it just is not Thomas!

Wut? Are you kidding me? George Carlin is the man when it comes to narrating Thomas. Carlin brought Thomas to life. :wink:

Edited by Brandon Pea

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5 hours ago, Peppermint_M said:

That LEGO have created a real success that even survived something of a "bomb" of a Movie tells us a lot of what kids seem to like playing.

Great points here all around. Just a couple of thoughts further into the subject... What I find peculiar is how the Ninjago being a successful theme is usually perceived as that kids are drawn to the subject matter. Like kids are into SW /Harry Potter these days or kids are into smartphones, or kids are just different these days. I think they are no different in terms of what they like or not like, they are just given different options by... us... adults.

When I was a young boy (80s-90s), Ninjas were very popular. TMNT, Ninja movies in theatres, ninjas on TV, lots of Ninja toys, costumes, etc. They were everywhere! And I loved them. But it doesn't seem to be the case anymore, yet the theme lives and thrives. Which makes me believe that it's purely Lego's combination of efforts from marketing to the sets themselves are what selling it, and not that kids are different and they like different things now. As was mentioned above, they have no idea what they like - they like what adults are showing to them. Be that their parents who like Star Wars (and liked Ninjas when they were young) or the tv show makers and toymakers. What I'm trying to say here (and I was saying that before), is that if Lego put a similar effort into a completely different theme - it would sell well, be that SciFi/Pirates/Western/Castle or basically anything else that suggests adventure.

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7 hours ago, Peppermint_M said:

That LEGO have created a real success that even survived something of a "bomb" of a Movie tells us a lot of what kids seem to like playing.

Ninjago has as much to do with "ninjas" as apples with cucumbers. To attribute its success to that just seems more than a stretch of the imagination. More to the point it's perhaps that Ninjago somehow managed to play on different themes like robot mangas, a tiny bit of ninja-esque fighting and a lot of other influences. Point in case: It's definitely not about the ninjas.

Mylenium

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