Some collectors out there are concerned about the new shift to licensed themes for the Collectible Minifigures line. The theme based on The LEGO Movie has upset certain collectors who enjoy the random, whimsical and imaginative nature of each original series of Minifigures. They feel that a series based entirely on The LEGO Movie will not only look out of place alongside the rest of their Minifigures collection, but that it will also limit the scope of what the line can offer.
But many of those fans who would much prefer that Minifigures stuck to the established format will still end up picking up the new series in January. The curse of the completest is that the longer a collector buys one-of-everything, the harder it is not to keep going. After 145 Collectible Minifigures, it would seem a shame to have a gap in the collection.
The LEGO Movie taking up a full series if Minifigures may bother a few fans, but on the whole most will see this as a perfectly acceptable extension of the line. After all, The LEGO Movie has come about from the toys in the first place. The real test for how far Minifigures completists will go will be The Simpsons series. This series will follow The LEGO Movie series, and will feature 16 characters from the long-running animated series. These mini-figures will have moulded heads, looking completely out of place alongside regular mini-figures. It will no longer be a case of a minority of Minifigures collectors doing some careful thinking about whether to continue, but a majority. Any collector who is isn’t a huge fan of The Simpsons will have to decide whether to have a complete collection and buy them anyway, or skip them because Minifigures should not be licensed.
With LEGO Minifigures still outselling any other toy by volume in the UK, it seems surprising that LEGO would have felt any need to change up the formula. Competitors to LEGO have failed miserably to introduce licensed knock off mini-figures, so why would LEO opt to emulate the licensed approach? With The LEGO Movie series it makes a lot of sense. The movie is so linked to LEGO that it’s a natural fit, and too good a cross-marketing opportunity to pass up. When it comes to The Simpsons, however, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to risk upsetting the magic formula and losing those customers who like LEGO but not The Simpsons.
Long time Minifigures collectors have until next April to make their decision, and no doubt the message boards will be lit up with discussion between now and then. Sales may increase and LEGO may have made a brilliant decision – or one of the most inspired LEGO off-shoot products of recent years may be on its last (blocky) legs.