The Rumors Are Out Of Control!

The guessing game always begins when a new LEGO Star Wars wave is released, and this year’s speculation on what 2021 will bring is no different. Except for the fact that this time one popular YouTuber has been given an infringement notice by LEGO and has been threatened with a copyright strike.

Before getting into that, let’s consider what we know is coming.

The first Winter Wave 2021 predictions came early when a rumor list began circulating in September 2020. This hearsay coalesced when, following the official Winter Wave press release, a European retailer’s trade catalog got passed around in November, and confirmed that a 4+ Resistance X-Wing Fighter (75297), Tauntaun & AT-AT Microfighter (75298), and an Imperial Shuttle (75302) would be released in the first half of the year.

Since then a Bulgarian online toy retailer accidentally posted hi-resolution images of the post-Winter Wave sets (though no product descriptions were released), giving us clear pictures of 75297 4+ Resistance X-Wing, 75298 Tauntaun & AT-AT Microfighter and 75302 Imperial Shuttle – giving us assurances that the blue lightsaber that Luke Skywalker could be seen holding in the November images had been corrected.

The rest of the year, should the rumors hold true, will include the following:

  • 75304 Darth Vader buildable helmet (release: unknown/$59.99/721 pieces)
  • 75305 Imperial Biker Scout buildable helmet (release: unknown/$49.99/467 pieces)
  • 75306 Unknown buildable helmet (release: unknown/$??.??/?? pieces)
  • 75307 Advent calendar (release: September/$39.99/?? pieces)
  • 75308 UCS R2-D2 (release: May/$199.99/2127 pieces)
  • 75309 UCS Republic Gunship (release: unknown/$349.99/3292 pieces)
  • 75310 Mandalore Throne & Vault (release: unknown/$19.99/147 pieces)
  • 75311 Imperial Troop Transport (release: unknown/$39.99/478 pieces)
  • 75312 Slave I (release: ??/$49.99/?? pieces)
  • 75313 UCS AT-AT (release: October/$799.99/6782 pieces)
  • 75314 Bad Batch Shuttle (release: ??/$99.99/969 pieces)
  • 75315 Moff Gideon’s Cruiser (release: ??/$159.99/?? pieces)
  • 75316 Mandalorian Fighter (release: ??/$59.99/?? pieces)
  • 75369 Darth Vader’s Meditation Chamber (release: ??/$??.??/?? pieces)

The first three sets, which have been on the 2021 rumor list for a number of months, also included an Imperial Probe Droid sculpture. This set’s number has now been assigned to the next LEGO Star Wars Advent calendar.

Fans of the Clone Wars: The Bad Batch spinoff series can see the expected shuttle in the official trailer, while fans of The Mandalorian can rewatch the second season of the show to see Slave I, Moff Gideon’s Cruiser and the Mandalorian Fighter (likely a re-release of 9525 Pre Vizsla’s Mandalorian Fighter) and the Imperial Troop Transport. The only playset on the list – 75310 Mandalore Throne & Vault – is believed to depict the showdown between Ahsoka Tano and Lord Maul in the tenth episode of the seventh season of The Clone Wars series.

The rest of the list, while very exciting, should be considered speculative – particularly the legitimacy of three Ultimate Collector Series sets. Earlier rumors – which have now been debunked – suggested that the October release would be a Death Star II. The existence of a Republic Gunship shouldn’t come as a surprise as it won the LEGO Ideas poll ran in February 2020. That it is coming out so soon after it was announced does come as a shock though.

Perhaps most enticing of all is Darth Vader’s meditation chamber. This is reported to be aimed at fans over 18 and will be along the same lines as the canceled Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 75294 Bespin Duel, which came out in the summer of 2020.

If this isn’t enough the rumored May The 4th Be With You gift with purchase (which will be attached to the UCS R2-D2) is a Tatooine Homestead. This is expected to be along the lines of the three microbuild battle vignettes that came out in 2019 and 2020, and not a repeat of Tatooine Mini-build exclusives that came out at Fan Expo and San Diego Comic-Con in 2015.

All of this came to light when MandR Productions – aka Ryan McCullough – posted a video to Youtube detailing the list of sets that had been shared on the legobob35 Instagram account (a thinly veiled attempt to disguise his own activity). Given the nature of the Internet, it didn’t take long for LEGO to spot the video and their response was to immediately issue a take-down notice. Well and truly keeping himself in the limelight, McCollough posted an answerback on Twitter.

Pointing out that this take-down notice confirms the validity of Ryan’s video, opined that “no copyrights were violated in the video” as Ryan didn’t show any confidential or explicit content and only provided a verbal description.

This is hardly unprecedented – take it from an AFOL who has received enough cease and desist orders from LEGO to wallpaper a room and has had a Facebook account closed as a result of an official complaint – and any blogger (particularly when a certain someone is a Recognised LEGO Fan Media outlet and enjoys the benefits of LEGO Ambassador Network membership) who earns money and gains attention from providing scandalous content should not be surprised at the outcome of these events.

Regardless of the actual validity of the above list, the point made by Promobricks that LEGO has unwittingly provided proof that the current rumor list is accurate – and is a perfect example of the Streisand effect – is being taken with less than a pinch of salt by the LEGO Star Wars collecting community and money is being set aside accordingly.

Only time will tell whether fans are ultimately rewarded – or get let down – by the LEGO grapevine. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Entertainment Earth

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