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.)