The first The Phantom Menace toys hit shelves in May 1999, and from that moment on the prospect of being the first to own the latest collectible from a galaxy far, far away has caused fans to go to great lengths to grab their spot in line.
Those willing to brave the crowd, long waits, and the cold have been rewarded with being some of the first owners of each new item. In some instances, more than just the item of interest has been at stake, and early birds could snag an exclusive piece for themselves.
LEGO is no stranger to gift-with-purchase inclusions, but special opening events are relatively new. The first of these occurred in 2017 with the release of 75192 Millennium Falcon followed by the second for 75252 Imperial Star Destroyer’s release in 2019. Both events were held in London’s Leicester Square.
Last week’s midnight events for the launch of 75313 AT-AT were the next in the biennial tradition. Improving upon past experience, the events were held in six countries across Europe with The Netherlands’ event canceled unfortunately due to concerns of rising COVID cases.
Although all were official events, there was some variation between countries. Leicester Square had the benefit of Anthony Daniels’ attendance where he signed photos that were part of the giveaway. Although it was not a LEGO version of C-3PO, the photo does contain a mark in the bottom corner with the Midnight Opening and yellow AT-AT silhouette that was used to advertise the event. Just below this is written LEGO Store Leicester Square. Some optimistic fans took other items in hopes that they would be signed, but this was not allowed for the event.
Other exclusives for the night were a black and white wristband with the event’s date on it and a numbered Certificate of Authenticity which came signed by the set’s designer, Henrik Andersen. Each store that participated in the event had a dedicated number of spots available with the Leicester Square store receiving the largest amount. Both the German and Italian launches have been confirmed to give out the CoA as well, but it appears that the Paris LEGO store did not. The remaining locations have not been confirmed as of yet. The quantities for each event are listed below:
- Copenhagen (Denmark) – 100
- Milan (Italy) – 60
- Stockholm (Sweden) – 60
- London (United Kingdom) – 200
- Paris (France) – 75
- Berlin (Germany) – 85
- Amsterdam (The Netherlands) – cancelled
Of course, every purchase of the AT-AT also came with 40483 Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber! In addition to these exclusives were some other reused LEGO goodies including 40451 Tatooine Homestead which this year’s May The 4th GWP, 30624 Obi-Wan Kenobi – Collectible Minifigure polybag which was first available as a GWP in December 2019, and a three-pack of The Empire Strikes Back cards which were a GWP in June 2020. The final inclusion was a bagged version of a mini-scale Tantive IV. The same model was originally available as a make and take in LEGO brand stores in May 2019.
For anyone looking to purchase the AT-AT and close enough to one of these locations, this was quite the package and made the wait worth it. Hopefully, more of these events will be hosted in the future and include those in Australia and North America.
As founding partner and the chief archivist, Kevin Downard maintains and curates the library catalog.
Getting in at the ground floor when the LEGO Star Wars theme first launched, Kevin has been collecting ever since. He is a self-proclaimed minifigure guru and has a passion for tracking down and cataloging every minifig variation – no matter how obscure. He has assisted Rebrickable and Bricklink in maintaining their set inventories, helped overhaul the rebelscum.com LEGO forum, and created the LSW Collector mobile app.