Posted by Jeremy on September 23, 2019 at 11:12 PM CST
Ever since LEGO introduced the Ultimate Collector Series range of models for adult collectors and builders in 2000, the subtheme has been surrounded by an air of intrigue and debate, particularly concerning the loose use of the Ultimate Collector Series branding over the years.
What is not up for scrutiny is the application of the Ultimate Collector Series label on the new 75252 Imperial Star Destroyer set. When asked what does the LEGO Star Wars team thinks about the debate over what counts as a UCS set Henrik Andersen, who designed the aforementioned model, commented that "It might not always be totally clear what is a Ultimate Collector Model, and what is not. The new Imperial Star Destroyer definitely is in that category!! It is a display model on a stand with a data label!", clarifying that the minimum ingredients needed for calling it a UCS model were met.
Aside from the long-standing arguement over what defines a UCS set, there is another source of controversy over these made-for-display builds: what are the hidden messages contained in the graphics printed on the box?
For some the box is as interesting as the set itself, and while it is agreed that the photography and artwork that goes into decorating the packaging is worthy of note, whether there is a series of Easter Eggs or breadcrumbs leading fans towards the next UCS release is debatable.
The so-called tradition that imagery on a UCS box has isn't a new one, says Stonewars.de, who point out that the meme has only been in the conscience of the collector since it was noted that 75159 Death Star had the shadowed outline of the Millennium Falcon on it. Though older sets have images appropriate to the environment that they are being depicted in, it's the silhouette that is said to be the foreshadower.
Since the release of 75159 Death Star on September 15th, 2016 the theory has taken on a life of its own with each UCS release getting a good going over with occular scanners.
When the next UCS set was revealed it turned out to be 75181 Y-Wing Starfighter, and this set's box had a TIE Fighter and a Millennium Falcon on it. Which clue mattered though? Seeing as 75095 TIE Fighter had already been released in May, 2015 it was clear that LEGO was trolling fans with a Millennium Falcon set...
Lo and behold the next UCS set to be sold was a re-release of 10179 UCS Millennium Falcon, and accordingly the box art for 75192 Millennium Falcon meant that the next UCS release would give us the a new Cloud City. While this did occur in the form of the inaugral (and only) Master Builder Series set 75222 Betrayal At Cloud City in October 2018, it wasn't a UCS set in the true sense. The Easter Egg theory was cracked wide open when it was realised that this pseudo-UCS set didn't have any hidden iconography in its art work.
Since the 75252 Imperial Star Destroyer press release came out, we've had three weeks to enjoy the details of the set and the effort put into the packaging. Asked about the Corellian backdrop that LEGO gave the Imperial Star Destroyer, Senior Model Designer Henrik Andersen shared that the photo on the back of the box was an idea he came up after watching Solo: A Star Wars Story because "in the movie we clearly see the Star Destroyers being built at the Correlian Shipyards, this was at the same time as I was designing the model, so I could really relate to this movie scene."
Taking a close look at the back of the box, since the front only has a view of the surface of Tatooine, a forensic analysis and repeatedly saying "enhance" reveals three possible upcoming Ultimate Collector Series sets.
From upper right to lower left we have what seems to be a Rebel Transport, a Corellian Corvette and an AT-AT under construction, which Stonewars.de correctly reveals to be a Heavy Hauler Crane Walker. This last clue can be discounted because the Crane Walker was only revealed in concept art and didn't make the final cut of Solo, as can the Corellian Corvette since it was released as 75244 Tantive IV in April, 2019.
Therefore the next UCS set LEGO will release, in 2020, will be a large scale version of the transport ship that the Rebels used to flee Echo Base during the Battle of Hoth. A ship that had less than 5 seconds of screen time during The Empire Strikes Back. As next year is the 40th birthday of the fifth Star Wars episode you can take it for a given.
And if that's not enough for you, take a close look at the distribution of clues on the rear of 75252 Imperial Star Destroyer's box - it's in the exact same pattern as the Great Pyramids of Giza and the stars in Orion's Belt as the appeared in the night sky over Billund in 1980. Still skeptical? The link between the Egyptian pyramids and the constellation of Orion was made famous in The Message of the Sphinx, written by Graham Hancock, which is the name of the Brick Fanatics editor.
When this theory was put to LEGO the immediate response from Jens Kronvold Frederiksen, the Creative Director for LEGO Star Wars and the leader of the LEGO Star Wars Design team at LEGO HQ in Billund, told us that "There are no hidden clues to future models in our box art. We place our models in an environment that makes sense. Sometimes it means that there are other space ships in the background, but it is just part of the setting, nothing else!"
But he would say that, wouldn't he? And don't get me started on his initials!
As for buried pirate treaure on Oak Island? Who knows...