Now that some set box images have been leaked I almost feel like it's not worth moving on with Return of the King.  Plus, the Hobbit movie adaptation(s) is going to be different from the book so that will weigh on the design of the sets.

But, I'm nothing if not a glutton for completion so here we go.

Our first scene is Smeagol and Deagol (I'm not typing in the é every time, sorry) fishing and then fighting and then dying/killing over the ring.  Probably not a good set.  Followed by a meeting of the remaining Fellowship at Isengard to have a last word with Saruman.  Seeing as Grima stabs him, then he plummets to die on a spiked wheel, it's probably not a good set.  However, that scene isn't in the theatrical version so it may not make it to a Lego set.

Meduseld - The first thing I can see being a set is the hall of Meduseld in Edoras.  The group is back together for the most part, they are hailing their victory at Helm's Deep, Merry and Pippen are dancing and everyone is drinking.  Lego likes to make medieval houses so having one with a lot of Rohirrim and neat cups would be cool.

Gollum, Sam and Frodo - The three travel through many wastes and rocky outcroppings, there are only going to be a couple of times that a good set might come up.  Early one we'll skip their travels.

Pippen sneaks a peak at the Palantir, gets in trouble, he and Gandalf leave.  Arwen is leaving for Valinor but has a vision and comes back to Rivendell.  Sadly, I can see her leaving with all her house accouterments and elf friends/servants as being a set.  Lots of elves, some horses and trees.  They don't do anything, but I bet you TLG will try to get some girls out of this by making an Arwen set or two.  (See Fellowship)

Steward - The sword of Narsil is reforged and Gandalf and Pippen meet Denethor, which I can see as a set.  Three minigifs, a guard, the throne and the steward's chair.  Also, Denethor might have the broken Horn of Gondor.  Denethor is a crazy person so I wouldn't be surprised if he had an Emperor Palpetine type face.

Also, just realized.  Star Wars did flesh colored minifigs, I wonder if LOTR will do the same?

The Beacon is lit.  This will probably be a set.  Merry climbing up a little tower with some thatch and pitch while two guards look on.

After this there's a lot of fighting in this so let's just quickly sum up what's left so I can get back to work.

The Rohirrim assemble, Frodo and Sam go past Minas Morgul up the stairs to Shellob.  Frodo is captured but Sam rescues him.  Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli leave Theoden and take the Dimholt road to the Dwimoberg mountain and recruit the King of the Dead.  (I'll have to look this up officially, the movie script just calls him the king of the dead.)  Orcs attack Osgilliath, Denethor hates Faramir and sends him back to basically get killed and then the Orcs attack Minas Tirath.  The Rohirrim show up and attack, the army's of the south show up and then the army of the dead arrive and wipe out the remaining bits of the Army of Mordor.  Eowyn takes out the Witch King of Agmar with Merry's help.

Sets out of this will be:

Shellob - Sam and Frodo vs. a giant spider.

Osgilliath - A few orcs, Faramir and some ruined buildings.

Minas Tirith - Aside from a throne room, there will be at least three battle sets for the Battle of Pellenor Fields/Breach of Minas Tirith.  I see one set with Gothmog (that disfigured orc) on a warg with a siege machine or catapult.  A big set with the outer wall of Minas Tirith, some Gondorian soldiers and orcs.  And an interior fight set with Pippen, Gandalf and the Witch King.  Finally two concluding sets, one with Theoden on a horse, maybe with Eomer, as well as at least one Oliphaunt.  The other being some dead warriors engaged in battle with Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn.

Although the corsairs from the south have ships and Lego likes boats, I don't know that these are important enough to make into sets, but I could be really wrong.

Dwimoberg - A set of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli in the kingdom of the dead would be awesome.  A trans-green castle, lots of skull minifig heads and neon green soldiers.  Wicked.

Cirith Ungol - Frodo is capture, Sam goes to save him.  Sam's luck holds as the orcs end up killing themselves.  But the tower would be a good set, plus some uruk-hai, orcs, Frodo and Sam.

Frodo and Sam in Orc Gear - Marching into the vast emptiness leading up to Mount Doom and past the Eye of Sauron, the two hobbits dress as orcs to get past the last of the army.

The Eye of Sauron - It's the most iconic symbol in the whole of the movie and should only be dealt with here.  How they'd build it I have no idea, but it has been done.  The thing is, Lego won't build on that scale.  Much like the Republic Y-Wing I built, TLG group isn't worried about scale.  The tower will be big the same way the Death Star was big.  It's big enough to be the biggest thing in the series, but not stupid enough to preclude actually buying it.  The same will go for The Eye of Sauron and possibly a Minas Tirith set.

Mount Doom - All their marching and trudging and fighting off Gollum will ultimately pay off by their scene inside the volcano of Mt. Doom.  Lots of trans-orange and brown, disheveled Frodo and Sam minifigs and Gollum.  How they're going to do the ring I have no idea.  Maybe a gold 1x1 rounded plate?

The Black Gate - As a distraction, Aragorn leads a last distraction to the black gate where they fight to give Frodo more time.  It's not really a needed set but I can see it happening, especially as it'll now be the new Aragorn in his king minifig printing.

Rescue by the Eagles - I think an exterior of Mt. Doom with Frodo, Sam, Gandlaf and a couple Eagles would be a good set.

After that the movie is over as far as playsets are concerned.  There's the recovery, the crowing ceremony and the march back to the Shire.  There's the marriage of Rosie and Sam and the eventual departure of Gandalf, Celeborn, Galadriel, Elrond, Bilbo and Frodo.

So, my guess is there will be a lot of Castle line like playsets for LOTR.  Which means the sets will be either really big or really small.  As you can see from the leaked images, there are already sets with a LOT of figures and minifigs drive up prices.  This will be an expensive line but it's only a preview of the minifig smorgasbord that is The Hobbit.  Along with Bilbo and Gandalf, there are 13 dwarves and for the most part they are all doing everything together!

If I were Lego, I'd release the Twelve Dwarves and the Nine Fellowship Companions (as well as maybe the Nazgul, because technically there are nine of them as well) as their own sets and then go light on the figure count per each set.  I feel that'd be the best way for everyone to enjoy the sets but not feel like they are missing anything from the story itself.

I hope you enjoyed reading all this and if you have any suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them.

Carry on.



In the previous post, we discussed my hesitation at jumping on the Joy Bandwagon that is running driverless around the internet.  LEGO and Warner Brothers have teamed up to bring Lord of the Rings to life via Lego.

My fellow Lego nerd (and girlfriend) Tiger Lily had some things to say about it.  She is actually quite excited about the prospect and enjoys the idea of Lego bringing their castle knowledge to LOTR.  Rivendell and Helm's Deep were of special mention.  While we disagreed on some aspects, I agree that the larger areas would be really fun to set up.  I'm thinking mostly of Minas Tirith, but we'll get to that later.

At any rate, here are some things I think TLG will do for the second film, The Two Towers.  Now, keep in mind, there's no reason they couldn't just release everything under The Lord of the Rings title and be done with it.  In fact, I fully expect them not to differentiate between movies.  Star Wars did that to some extent by not necessarily saying that the Imperial Shuttle was in fact a Lambda Class Shuttle first seen in Empire Strikes Back but made more popular in Return of the Jedi.  Similarly, an Orc Battle set could be avoid being tied to any specific point.  But therein lies the difference.  A TIE Fighter shows up all over the place in Star Wars, but the Balrog shows up for just a few minutes in The Fellowship.  Not that that has anything to do with anything, just pointing something out.

The first non recap moment is with Sam and Frodo hiking through Emyn Muil and finally being approached by Gollum.  You could have two or three small scenes with them hiking through different areas.  Rocky, marshy, mountainous, etc.  I won't dwell on those.

The next set could be the Uruk-hai carrying Merry and Pippen around.  But again, lots of minifigs, little set pieces.  It's a major story point but hardly worth building.

Edoras - Next is our introduction to Rohan.  The Rohirrim live in Edoras, a hard scrabble town on top of a rocky outcropping in the middle of the plains of Rohan.  Two sets here, maybe.  One, the Great Hall and the town itself.  The later is only slightly featured, the former might be a good place to introduce Eowyn and Grima and maybe the possessed Theoden.

There are some more bits with Uruk-hai and Merry and Pippen, as well as Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn meeting  the outcast Eomer and his riders, but nothing that you couldn't do on your own with all the minifigs.  I think the biggest next set would have to be...

Treebeard - Now, you could build a lot of ents, in fact someone already has, and done it quite well.  But this would be a good first set.  Treebeard, Merry, Pippen and an orc.  Put in some background trees for scene building.

Next is some more of Frodo and Sam walking around with Gollum.  Next good scene would be when Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli meeting Gandalf the White.  I only say this because the fight with the Balrog on Durin's Tower that Gandalf talks about would be an epic set.

At this point we have the Black Gate.  This could go back and forth.  The black gate shows up twice, right now when Sam and Frodo almost go inside, and then later in The Return of the King in which now King Aragorn leads a pitiful army against it.

Warg Riders - It may seem I've jumped a lot but between the Black Gate and the Warg Rider attack on the caravan, there really isn't anything new.  It's a lot of talking in established locations.  The wargs would be great mounts for minifigs, but I imagine they'd need a special mold not unlike the dewbacks from Star Wars. I can see a set like that with three wargs with orcs, three horses with Theoden, Aragorn and maybe Legolas/Gimli.

Helm's Deep - Get this out of the way now.  Helm's Deep is THE set piece of this film.  Deforested Isengard with attacking ents aside, this is the big battle.  Now, everything in LOTR is epic, so it's not like you can have a set with a giant castle, 300 elves, 1,000 men and 10,000 uruk-hai.  My guess is it'll be a large castle set with a minifigure representing each race.  Haldir would be there, or at least an elf.  You'd have a couple uruk-hai, maybe a couple orcs.  The castle itself would be really big, but you'd have to leave room for a couple points.  1) The wall.  2)  The ramp to the gate.  3)  The side door next to the ramp.  4)  A way to bring down the wall.  You also might want to include those rad grappling catapults Saruman's army used to bring up the big ladders.  Yes the battle doesn't take place till later, but I don't think chronology is going to be important.

Meeting with the ents - Merry and Pippen should be around while the tree herders say "Good Morning."

I jumped around a little but the next set I think would be doable would be where Frodo and Sam run into Faramir while his Gondorian Rangers ambush some southland soldiers and their Oliphaunts.  Now, Oliphaunts would be great to build, but it'd be like building an AT-AT.  These aren't just elephants, they'd need to be able to hold several solders on their back, and stomp on a horse.  The creator series Lego put out had some dinosaurs so I think that could be done.

Ranger hideout - Faramir takes Frodo and Sam back to their cave HQ, grill them about their mission, and capture Gollum.  Maybe a nice pool with some rocks around it and a few minifigs.

Osgiliath - The river garrison can be used many times.  First Faramir shows up with Sam and Frodo and later releases them.  There's the flashback when Boromir retakes the city.  Then there's the battle in Return of the King in which Faramir and his troops are over run from the east.  But the "city" is a ruins of what once was a fortress sitting across the Anduin.  It was there to prevent anything coming out of Mordor from reaching Minas Tirith.  So what can a set be?  It can be full of Gondorian soldiers or rangers.  It can have Frodo and Sam and Gollum and a few Nazgul and Faramir.  It can have a river setting with orcs and boats.  You could probably get a couple sets out of it.

Which leads to two final battles scenes.  Helm's Deep in which the Rohirrim riders arrive with Gandalf and Isengard where the ents lay siege to a vacated Orthanc.

To me these are all so epic that you could spend years building little one off sets that display moments of the story, but in order to truly capture the quality of the story, even the scene sets would have to be epic.

(continued next in part 3, Return of the King.)


It was announced today that The Lego Group has entered into a partnership with Warner Brothers to produce construction toys based on the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.

This comes as little or no surprise to Lego aficionados and fans of both the toy and the films.  Ever since TLG picked up the rights to do Star Wars back in 1999, it's been a foregone conclusion that successful and geek related media were going to be rendered in studded brick and minifigures.  Since then, we've seen Spider-Man, Batman, Spongebob, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, even Winnie the Pooh and Bob the Builder.

As exciting as this news is, and as much as I knew it was coming, I have some trepidation about seeing the Tolkien universe in Lego form.  With Star Wars it made sense.  Even with Harry Potter and Pirates it made sense.  Even with Spongebob it made sense.  What sense am I talking about?  Well, it's hard to describe, but it comes down to playability, or the Swoosh Factor.

As a fan and builder and collector of Lego since 1979 (go ahead and look it up, there's nothing supporting that) I've come to expect Lego to give me a sense of modular playability.  I want there to be a theme, but items within that theme that can do as well by themselves as they can within the group.  I'd like there to be a single set that's really cool and something I can play with, but that also is in line with other sets that are cool and can be played with.  Some of my favorite sets are space themed.  They are ships that you can fly through the house, land in the back yard, explore a bit, then fly off again.  Cars and trucks and planes from the City line are equally as enjoyable.  Star Wars spaceships (with some design problems) are of the same ilk.

The sets I have a problem with are scene sets with little function.  Sets that have a couple minifigs and a set behind them.  Two Jedi and a door.  A ninja, a skeleton and a tree.  A couple pirates and a treasure chest.  Sure it still promotes building and creative playing, but the piece count is really small and at that point the playability is limited.  There's only so much you can do with a tree or a door.  Those types of things are backgrounds, the things the main characters and the cool vehicles or ships go PAST on their way to the fun stuff.

In this same vein, I think Star Trek would make a horrible Lego line.  Star Trek in all forms is a giant hotel in space.  Rather than the drama coming and going from the single location, the location now moves from story to story.  Sure a giant model of the Enterprise or Deep Space Nine or a few shuttles would be kinda cool, but outside of that what you do?  Random Vulcan locations?  Starfleet Academy barracks?  Iowa?  Star Wars was perfect for Lego because the ships and robots were just as much part of the story as the characters.

The Lord of the Rings is a great story and was the best fantasy movie ever.  However, when this discussion came up a while back, I found myself trying to get excited about Lego versions and failing.  Sure the property is a treasure trove of minifigures and the games themselves will undoubtedly be insanely enjoyable (you can bet your plastic-molded ass I'll be getting them) but in terms of sets I'm not sure what will happen.  I think it'll be somewhere between the Castle line and the annoying small scene sets.  Let's break down a likely list of sets they might have.

Bag End - You have to know that from the beginning there's going to be a small round door set in a hillock.  You'll be able to remove the roof and see inside and play with Bilbo and Frodo, or Bilbo and Gandalf.

Gandalf's Cart - As much as making minifigs of hobbit children will require legs that are too small even for Lego to mold, this is a great scene set for Gandalf.  Some fireworks and Frodo to go along with it.

Bilbo's Party - A tent, some benches, some random hobbits, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Frodo and Bilbo.

Bucklebury Ferry - I've skipped Farmer Maggot because we don't see him in the movie.  Right to the small skiff that takes the hobbits across the Brandywine.  All four, plus a Nazgul.

Bree - Or at least the Inn of the Prancing Pony.  Since no other places in Bree were mentioned in the movie, and since the Barrow Downs were skipped entirely, the only place in between the Shire and Rivendell worth mentioning is Bree, and the only place in Bree worth mentioning is the Inn.  So, basically you'd have a tavern, but it's the first sighting of the minifig Strider/Aragorn.

Weathertop - This might be one of the best sets so far.  At the top of a large hill lies the ruins of the watchtower of Amon Sul.  Now, the Lego group will call it Weathertop, but just remember it's not.  The hill itself is Weathertop, the ruins are Amon Sul.  Either way, we'll have Aragorn, all four hobbits and all the Nazgul on foot.  The set would be a pretty nice Stonehenge type scene.

The ride to Rivendell - Frodo is hurt and needs to be carried swiftly by Arwen.  So you'd have her, a scene with a river and trees, some Nazgul and a way to build water horses out of Lego.

Rivendell!! - Oh what to do, what to do.  It's such a pretty place and so sparsely populated.  You almost never see anyone there, but when the elves are leaving for Valinor there are dozens just marching along the forest paths.  Here is our first look at the minifig of Elrond.  Rivendell could have at least two sets, a recovery room for Frodo and a meeting place for the secret council.  The secret council would just be an orgy of minifigs (including now Legolas and Gimli and Boromir) around a round table.  Throw some arched backgrounds and voila!

I realize at this point were I to keep going I'd have way too many sets, but considering how many Star Wars had, I think I'll at least finish The Fellowship of the Ring.

The nine companions leave Rivendell (and don't think there wouldn't be just a set released of just nine minifigs) and head east.  Their ultimate goal is of course getting the ring to Mordor to have it destroyed, but their most immediate destination is Moria.  If you remember the movie, they couldn't go south and the other passes over the Misty Mountains were watched.  So at first they tried to go over...

Redhorn Pass -  In the movie Gandalf calls it the Pass of Caradhras, but good luck getting kids to say that.  This is the snowy pass in which Saruman sends a blizzard to try and kill the Fellowship.  Good excuse to include a lot of white bricks for a snowy path and an "action" event causing an avalanche.

The Gates of Moria - Moria is going to have a lot of sets, lots of battles, lots of monsters.  Our first is the Western Gate.  This is the riddle magic door that stymies the party for a while and then they are attacked by the Watcher in the Water; a giant tentacled beast that nearly kills a few hobbits and ends up trapping the Fellowship in the mines.  Based on Lego's Atlantis line, I think they've got tentacles licked.

The Chamber of Mazarbul - This is the room in which the Fellowship fights a horde of orcs and a cave troll. It's a records room and has the tomb of Balin, Gimli's cousin.  This could be a very big set with lots of little traps and stuff.  Also a minifig heavy set.  Come to think of it, through most of this movie, you'd be getting at least 9 minifigures.  Maybe they'll do the Fellowship as their own set and then you just take them with you through all these other sets.

Durin's Bridge - Or the Bridge of Kazhad-dûm is a narrow stone bridge.  It is here that the party must cross to get to the Eastern Gate and out of the mountain.  It is here that Gandalf faces off against the Balrog (which should be an epic construct in Lego) and is dragged down into the abyss after he shatters the bridge sending the Balrog down.  The set would of course collapse when triggered.

* There's also a scene in the movie built for suspense and comic lines.  The stair way scene after they encounter the host of orcs and the first tremors of the Balrog's steps.  The stairs are precarious and they end up crumbling as orcs fire arrows at the party.  Would make for a good Lego set.

After this the 8 travel to Lothlórien.  They meet Haldir who takes them to Caras Galadhon to meet Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn.  There could be some sets here, Lorien Encounter in which we meet Haldir and a couple elves.  The Great Tree where they meet Galadriel and Celeborn, the mirror in the water scene with just Frodo and Galadriel (in which she's tempted and totally freaks out) and the departing scene in which all the party get cool gifts.

Argonoth - They take their boats down the Anduin to the Argonath, two enormous statues of kings warning travelers.  No action here, but man it'd be cool to build those two statues.

Battle on the Anduin - Although they are away from the river, there are a couple scenes here.  One is with Frodo and Aragorn on top of a weird structure that has no name in the movie but seems perfect for holding one of the seeing stones.  It's here Frodo flees and Aragorn starts fighting Uruk-hai.  The other is Boromir valiantly defending Merry and Pippin.

Then finally we have Sam almost drowning in the Anduin.

So, not a bad selection of sets, but I think they're going to be HEAVILY influenced by the minifigures, which means, for those not to up on Lego prices, they will be very expensive.  Licensed product line + Lots of minifigs = money I don't have.

(continued later for The Two Towers, The Return of the King, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and There and Back Again.)


Yes, I realize I'd completely forgot about Saruman and Gandalf's fight in Orthanc.  I think there could be a few Orthanc sets but the one where they grow Urak-hai from interbreeding men and orcs should probably be left off.  However, a giant eagle saving Gandalf would be pretty awesome.