The LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary: From Bricks to Books

StarWars.com Team | July 23, 2009

lego_cov.jpgHard to believe it’s been 10 years since Lucasfilm and LEGO entered into a partnership to feed the world’s astonishing appetite for Star Wars-themed LEGO bricks. When that deal, brokered around the release of The Phantom Menace, came to light, it felt like a natural to many — a match made in collector and kid heaven. But it’s doubtful anyone would have predicted a future filled with smash hit video games, animated shorts and now, a book dedicated to LEGO Star Wars, due out from DK Publishing on October 10, 2009.

Due out in October, the LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary may seem like an odd venture at first, given that previous Star Wars Visual Dictionaries have explored the in-universe details of the saga, applying names and histories to the various bit players, widgets, greeblies and what-have-yous of the visually dense props and costumes. This LEGO edition serves a visually rich guide to the fantastic sets and figures produced by LEGO, a sort of plussed out collector’s bible of the past ten years.

On-hand to discuss it at Comic-Con International were Jonathan Rinzler, Executive Editor at LucasBooks; Rob Johnson, Art Director for the LEGO Group, and Simon Beecroft, author of the book and Publishing Manager for DK Publishing.

“I’ve been championing some kind of LEGO book for years,” said Rinzler. “And finally it all came together… Putting it all together was in many ways a puzzle piece.”

lego03_sm.jpgBeecroft clarified that the book is not merely a catalog of LEGO products, though every set to date is indeed included. “It does follow along the lines of our Visual Dictionaries, in that it attempts to explain things from the universe it occupies. So this takes the point of view from within the LEGO Star Wars universe of sorts.” This is best expressed through themed spreads within the book that often explore a character or faction and its evolution across multiple LEGO sets.

Rinzler explained the narrative voice does switch gears from in-universe, to our universe, occasionally breaking the wall to explain the history of a set or its features as a product. The book includes a timeline of LEGO works, a look behind-the-scenes on the development of sets and mini-figs, as well as a look at LEGO fans. In fact, it was through the generous contributions of one fan, Jeremy Beckett, that the book ended up being as well illustrated as it is.

“We did get a lot of photos. Many from LEGO, but Jeremy also provided so many as well,” said Beecroft.

lego02_sm.jpgJohnson, from LEGO, fielded questions from fans eager to pry any details of future sets, though he remained tight-lipped on specifics. He did say that more Expanded Universe sets — like the Rogue Shadow from The Force Unleashed – were a possibility. He stated that sets dedicated simply to mini-figs were not a possibility due to licensing restrictions — the license to produce Star Wars figures is owned by Hasbro, while LEGO focuses on construction sets. “But, that said, we look to include as many figures as we can in our sets,” he said.

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LEGO Designer Rob Johnson (left); Author Simon Beecroft (Right)

At the end of the presentation, DK Publishing was able to reveal the mini-figure that will be included in the book. “Early in the project, there were a lot of emails flying back and forth between LEGO, Lucasfilm and DK, and one of the subjects that came out was including a mini-figure,” said Rinzler. Of the many suggestions, one stood out as perfectly fitting; click the image below to play the reveal video.

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