There was no shortage of exclusives at New York Comic Con 2017. Among the coolest? This brand-new Lego BrickHeadz set featuring two of Star Wars’ biggest characters, the bounty hunter Boba Fett, and Han Solo in carbonite from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi!
In addition to seeing this must have BrickHeadz set up close, we had the privilege of interviewing its designer, Marcos Bessa, who spoke about designing each character.
What has the fan response been to Lego BrickHeadz?
Let me take you back to where it all started. First, we came out with four San Diego Comic Con exclusives in 2016, and at the time they were classic superheroes.
There was a lot of buzz around it. People were excited about a new form of collectible from Lego. Not only a new collectible, but one that was targeting an older audience. The response was so good that in 2017, we came out with the first 12 BrickHeadz products at retail. We have some superhero stuff, but we started branching out a bit with the big franchises, namely Beauty and the Beast and Pirates of the Caribbean. That was just the start. We wanted to warm up the waters and get the message out there that BrickHeadz is growing.
I can tell you already that 2018 will be a killer year for BrickHeadz.
Tell us more about this new Lego set, with Boba Fett and Han Solo.
This New York Comic Con exclusive is a product that I designed, and I am very happy about it. When I first started thinking about what we could do for Comic Con, and New York in particular, we toyed around with some ideas. At the time, negotiations were happening with Star Wars in order to bring that franchise into the Lego BrickHeadz family. We saw this as a great chance to bring the first Lego Star Wars BrickHeadz to the market.
Boba Fett is a winner because he’s such a fan favorite. We also wanted to provide something truly exclusive and unique. Therefore, Han Solo in carbonite and Boba Fett!
How many did you produce for New York Comic Con?
It’s a limited run of 5,000 copies and they are all individually numbered. Everyone gets a unique number to him or herself.
What’s the best part of seeing these iconic Star Wars characters come to life as Lego BrickHeadz?
I love stylization of characters, and I’ve done a lot of that with work but also in my personal time. With Lego, I was much more involved with building the bigger playsets, so to get involved in this project, and to be able to work on the stylization of such iconic characters… it’s personally a big satisfaction and realization as a professional.
It’s so fun and challenging at the same time. There are so many details that need to stay out of this design because it is a minimalistic representation of a character. But the challenge is right there… finding the key ones to keep in order to stay true to both the reference and the BrickHeadz style.
What are some of those important details that have to remain?
With Boba Fett, it’s really important to keep his iconic helmet as true as possible. But then again, it’s very BrickHeadz like to have this huge forehead and the eyes far apart. Playing with the proportions is always the biggest challenge. Boba Fett makes my life easier because he has such a strong color scheme and defining shapes. Once I got those shapes working and recognizable, the job was done.
Han Solo was a whole different challenge. This is the first Lego BrickHeadz character that doesn’t stand on its own. It’s part of this whole carbonite platform, and built in a way that makes it look like he is laying down, so it has a whole different build.
When you received the all-clear from the Star Wars people, how long did it take until you had the final version on your desk?
With this one, it was a quick process compared to some of our other timelines because we were moving quite fast in order to make this event. Once we started the dialogue with Star Wars and we agreed that this pairing would be a good opportunity for New York Comic Con, it took me maybe two to three weeks to get it finalized and approved through the partner. It took a lot of effort on both sides to make things happen, from production to being here today.
One more question. How does Lego continue to be popular for so many years? Can you speak about its legacy?
The fact that Lego is so much a synonym of reinvention, that’s what allowed us to shape and mold ourselves in a way that we stay relevant. I was playing with Lego as a kid. It was my number one toy through every stage of my childhood. Then when I grew up and was thinking about what I wanted to do with my life, Lego was a main reference and my dream job.
You can literally pick up any bricks, and it’s up to your imagination to make anything up. It gives you that sense of power that few things can. That’s the key ingredient to making Lego relevant and so versatile.