What Went Wrong With LEGO CON?

For fans of the Star Wars theme, LEGO CON was a disappointment. The expected reveals and updates didn’t materialize and many felt that the presentation and content was too young for the theme’s largely adult fan base.

So why are so many LEGO Star Wars fans crying into their blue milk?

When the announcement of the first online LEGO CON reached our collective ears we began to establish – in our own heads – what subject matter would be included, and certain words and phrases were picked apart. The most dissected statement seemed to suggest that an adult-oriented set was going to be revealed.

According to Brick Fanatics, who attended the Fan Media Days last week, Matt Guenigault (Associate Creative Director at LEGO and experienced digital events putter-onner) said the live-streamed event will include a “very special reveal for [adult fans] to look forward to,” before dropping a tantalizing teaser.

“I hope you’re gonna find that really exciting. What we’ve got for Star Wars is pretty epic.” he shared.

These thoughts were then shared and discussed with members of the many online LEGO social media groups so that shared predictions became hard and fast expectations.

Some community-ites were convinced that we would get to see the new Republic Gunship, while others were of the firm belief that an unknown Ultimate Collector Series set would be announced. There were even some who hoped that an update of The Skywalker Saga video game would get slipped into the highly anticipated Star Wars segment of the live-streamed convention, and a few who were still holding out that LEGO would finally own up to a Star Wars collectible minifigure series.

These three points on the fan agenda – and another hundred more – were discussed, debated and deciphered to such an extent that their inclusion in the show’s running order became accepted to be solid fact.

After all, what else could LEGO share with us that we didn’t know already? Multiple rumor lists had been proven true, leaked catalogues had shown us the extent of the Summer wave and recent Fan Media Days round table interviews had shed light on even more sets that LEGO thought we didn’t know about.

At the end of the day the LEGO Star Wars community is more aware of the inner workings of the theme than any other section of the LEGO or Star Wars fan community, right? So it came as quite the shock that LEGO had other intentions than proving how in-the-know the community is.

Looking back it was clear that LEGO was never going to fulfill all our desires and share updates on products that a) are half a year away, b) don’t exist and c) aren’t in their scope of control.

The slow drip-feed of information we’ve received on the fan-voted UCS Republic Gunship isn’t the norm and now, in a world where information is fast and free, fans have come to expect the full developmental story of a set.

The same is true for the commemorative BrickHeadz minifigure that the Star Wars community voted in enough numbers to put Star Wars over the top so that the 150th BrickHeadz will come from George’s galaxy of characters.

Unfortunately, the two community votes that LEGO has run in recent years have created a situation amongst LEGO Star Wars fans that has led to the expectation that their insight is vital to the success of the line and are due an insight into its progress. And while it is true that LEGO is aware of trends in its community and keeps its ear to the ground to gauge fan reaction, it is not entirely beholden to those who support the line with their dollars, pounds, and euros.

Those fans that felt let down because LEGO didn’t announce the UCS AT-AT – which a good proportion of the collecting community has come to believe is real – should stop and remind themselves that hearing a rumor ten times a day, repeated by ten different sources doesn’t change a myth into reality.

And in the case of the inexplicable delays to The Skywalker Saga video game, the explanation for the lack of any updated info during LEGO CON is simple: it’s up to Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment/Tt Games – and not LEGO – to share news on the progress of the game.

For these reasons – as well as a few others – many LEGO Star Wars fans consider the convention a flop. However, it has to be said, that most of the disappointment felt by the community is self-generated and is the result of over-active and over-privileged imaginations.

A modicum of research would have led fans to the understanding that the target audience was not from the typical age group that most LEGO Star Wars fans fall into, and the realization that the format LEGO was aiming at was an emulation of the highly successful Minecraft Live online conventions.

Having spent 10 months working on the project, Emma Perkins (Senior Director at The LEGO Agency) said that LEGO was “absolutely thrilled to see the engagement from fans who fully emerged[sic] themselves in the event” and shared that plans for a second LEGO CON were already being discussed.

If there is a lesson to be learned, it’s this: LEGO already sets an extremely high benchmark and to force them to raise it to meet the assumptions of every LEGO Star Wars fan is only going to end in frustration.

Entertainment Earth

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