What is the biggest surprise in the history of LEGO?

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Leicester City FC has pulled off one of the biggest shocks in sporting history this week by winning the Premier League title and beating the 5000-1 odds of such a success at the start of the season.

News outlets around the world have been trying to find a suitable point of comparison for this incredible achievement which led me to wonder, what has been the biggest surprise, pleasant or otherwise, in the history of The LEGO Group?

It is difficult to imagine LEGO without Star Wars but its arrival in 1999 was met with a great deal of surprise and scepticism. Warfare is central to the range and this conflicts directly with the brand values laid out by the company but a judgement was obviously made which deemed Star Wars sufficiently fantastical to avoid LEGO breaching their own product guidelines. I think some fans maintain a degree of disdain for licensed themes and not without cause as there have been several questionable endeavours since 1999, although there have been more successes than failures.

The flesh skin tones introduced in 2003's NBA theme were also something of a surprise and we have experienced similar reactions to the development of minifigures in recent years as in the case of the Angry Birds range. It is strange to think that something which we now take for granted was once so schismatic and I am sure that the same will be true as we look back at the present in future years.

Beyond actual sets, the financial status of LEGO and its affiliates has also been surprising at times, most notably during the late 1990s and early 2000s when LEGO posted substantial losses for several years running. This culminated in 2004 as Jørgen Vig Knudstorp became the CEO and the LEGOLAND parks were sold to Merlin in 2005, allowing LEGO to focus on their primary product. This troubled period came as a shock to many fans and the company's subsequent resurgence is even more incredible. LEGO is now the biggest toy company in the world, something which could not have been imagined at the turn of the millennium.

The transition between LEGO piece colours has also been an unpleasant surprise from time to time, but never more so than in 2004 when light and dark grey were replaced by light bluish grey and dark bluish grey. This was reported on Lugnet at the time and created an enormous furore among fans. The transition from brown to reddish brown was similarly alarming and the more recent introduction of bright green baseplates which replaced the standard green baseplates also resulted in significant concern among some fans.

Exo-Force was a very popular theme when it was first released in 2006 but sales quickly slumped and the range was brought to an abrupt end in 2008, to the shock and disappointment of many fans. The sudden demise of Ultra Agents in 2015 received a more subdued response but it came as a surprise to find that the final wave would be limited to sale in North America.

The release of both DC and Marvel sets in 2012 was almost unimaginable given the fierce rivalry between the two brands and its announcement in 2011 was therefore a huge surprise. Super Heroes has since become one of the most popular themes and the sets continue to surprise us today, for better or for worse.

One surprise which has proven very popular is the return of BIONICLE, announced in 2014. BIONICLE has a devoted fan base and its return was therefore a delightful revelation for many. Since then the theme seems to have grown in popularity and the variety of Constraction parts has increased exponentially, along with the number of MOCs.

The announcement of The Simpsons as an official LEGO theme counts among the biggest surprises in the recent history of the company and the relevant article still holds the record for the highest number of comments. This was a hugely divisive issue at the time and it is easy to see why. An argument could certainly be made that the animated series relies heavily on content which does not suit the LEGO brand values, so to see a licensing agreement come to fruition was an enormous surprise.

It came as a shock to fans of LEGO and movies alike when The LEGO Movie was snubbed for a nomination for the Best Animated Feature Oscar at the 2015 Academy Awards ceremony. Although there was some good competition for the award, The LEGO Movie was undoubtedly worthy of a nomination and it was disappointing to see it was ignored.

There have also been instances of smaller scale surprises as individual sets appear on shelves before we were even aware of their existence! The most recent example I can think of relates to 60070 Water Plane Chase which was first discovered on shelves in a Walmart store by the team at The Brick Show, before images or even a set number had been officially revealed.


I hope that surprises like these continue as they certainly keep the world of LEGO interesting even if they are sometimes unpleasant for fans of particular themes or inconvenient for collectors.

What do you think has been the biggest surprise in the history of LEGO and did we leave any out? Let us know in the comments below and we will update this article with the best suggestions.

 

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85 comments on this article

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By in New Zealand,

In 2004 the LEGOLAND parks were sold to Merlin in the next year. Huw's comments of his recent visit and my visit to LEGOLAND Windsor last year left me significantly underwhelmed. Run down, tired and significantly from "only the best" standard that LEGO culture is based upon.

In 2004 when light and dark grey were replaced by light bluish grey and dark bluish grey. This was reported on Lugnet at the time and created an enormous furore among fans. This still bugs me.

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By in Norway,

Very nice surprising article.

The first release of StarWars set was the biggest surprise for me and I was pretty excited back then.

I am not a fan of superheroes Sets at all.

...and only one super hero I have in my collection is BatMan, just because he was amazing in The LEGO Movie.

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By in United Kingdom,

The two biggest surprises in LEGO history are

- The announcement in September 1998 about forthcoming Star Wars sets. Licensing a major property was not something LEGO had done before.
- The colour change, discovered in November 2003

I think the latter had the most impact on AFOLs and its reverberations are still felt today. In hindsight, it was the right thing to do, the new colours are so much more attractive.

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By in United Kingdom,

The announcement of the Marvel AND dc sets in 2011 came as a big surprise. I remember the news being announced back to back and people just couldn't believe it.

Lord of the Rings had been rumoured and dismissed by many as rumour for a while before it was officially announced which came as a surprise. Especially so long after the films had been released (10 years?).

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By in United Kingdom,

Biggest surprise and genuine Panic was when I realised they had discontinued the Lonely Mountain set...... I had waited over a year for a significant discount and then no-where was selling it.......Paid full price plus delivery from Argos......... I suppose surprises, or possible lack of forethought would have to include Mr Gold to frustrate collectors and give the 2nd hand market a massive markup.... I too have been to LLW recently and Miniland is very tired, hardly any section is complete, working or not got the plastic peeling off bricks (if that's what it is)

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By in Germany,

It is more of a question of what were the greatest shocks:
- grey color change (panic!)
- remote controlled trains, discontinuing the metal tracks (panic!)
- CMF Mr. Gold (what an awful thing to do!)
- how bad Lego Dimensions is as a video game compared to other Lego games (especially Lego City Undercover)

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By in United Kingdom,

I agree, the announcement of both Marvel and DC sets was a huge surprise. I was relatively new to the LEGO community back then but I remember the absolute shock and delight from many AFOLs.
(read about the whole thing here on Brickset of course!).

I was in my trans.-black (semi-dark) ages when Star Wars Lego was released but I remember being so happy though as a life-long SW fan and picking up a couple of the smaller sets upon release.

And well-deserved congratulations to Leicester by the way!

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By in Netherlands,

I currently have three UCS sets in my collection. In the 90's I never would have thought LEGO would release sets aimed at an older age group but they did and continue to do so. LEGO Cuusoo/Ideas also comes to mind because it gave us a lot of cool sets we would not have gotten as regular released sets.

A negative surprise to me was the hiatus of LotR in favour of The Hobbit. The general public seemed unimpressed by these sets and I think it reflected badly on LotR leading to the line being cancelled.

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By in Australia,

I grew up with both the old and new grey more or less equally, although a good deal of my Lego was second hand, so I always just assumed the old greys were discoloured. As a result, they'll never look like anything else to me, so I kinda really don't like them. It really came as quite a shock to me when in maybe 2008ish I opened a MISP 4486, that the greys all looked discoloured.

I think the biggest surprise for me was Cuusoo. As someone who just generally has a poor opinion of large companies, and has no expectation from them to care in the slightest about what their customers want (the video games industry 'll do that to you, haha), it really came as a surprise to me to see Lego taking in to consideration in such a way what the fans wanted.

As for the bionicle reboot, how has that been recieved by the bionicle community? I'm really not a fan, since it doesn't have the same biomechanical aesthetic, and I really dislike the aesthetic of CCBS. I understand its advantages, with it being way less specialised, and (I assume) it doesn't break all over the place (seriously for me a bionicle piece breaking was more common than it not breaking. I didn't even build with them that much) but it just doesn't look good.

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By in United Kingdom,

Licensing decisions were not a surprise for me. However seeing sets for adults was a big one. Never thought it would ever happen. My wallet could sue LEGO for damages...

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By in Bulgaria,

Ninjago exploding in popularity to become an 'evergreen' theme is pretty surprising too. Who thought we would still be getting massive waves of sets and a theatrical movie 5-6 years after it first came out?

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By in Switzerland,

I suppose the release of the Friends theme and minidols is a huge surprise for many.

A few examples of recent surprises for me were the re-release of the Winter toy shop (who would have thought?), the early retirement of the Town Hall (so early and out of sync!), the issue with the WALL-E neck (how did that ever pass through quality control) and the fact that they put together such a poor Assault on Hoth set (this is not worth the price and UCS label).

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By in Australia,

I think my biggest surprise that I can remember is Brent Waller's ECTO-1 actually being chosen as the Ideas release. As cool as it was, I was not expecting an IP like that to make it.

On the negative side, finding out that The Disney Series Minifigures became a single drop without replenishment in Australia is quite a surprise considering it is so far the most anticipated CMF release to date.

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By in United States,

Honestly, the return of BIONICLE didn't surprise me that much, as I kinda figured they would do something of the sort due to the theme's popularity.

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By in Netherlands,

The biggest surprise for me was the end of FABULAND. I've never understood why the funny animals had left. I always thought it was a great step between Duplo and Lego.

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By in Argentina,

The death star actually retiring, by far

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By in United Kingdom,

Town hall was retired, not sticking to the usual time schedule of retiring sets surprised alot of people.

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By in Canada,

I would say Steven Spielberg teaming up with LEGO to create the Studios line, and an interactive filming program should be on that list somewhere. I'm not 100% sure of this, but I believe he was the first official big name celebrity to be linked to LEGO before licensing IPs became a thing. Which means he has the distinction of being the first real world person to become a LEGO Minifigure, as the Director in the Studios Theme is definitely based off of him.

Correct me if I am wrong.

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By in United States,

The biggest surprise for me was Marvel Super Heroes, but cause I heard nothing about it, since I wasn't on websites like this at the time. So once I was just at a Toys R Us, and I see Avengers sets on the walls, and you can imagine my surprise, especially being an MCU fan.

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By in United Kingdom,

My biggest Lego surprise was when my, then, 7 year old son picked up his first Series 10 minifigure bag and said "Daddy, I think this is Mr Gold"...and it was! He still has it proudly on display in his room to this day, very lucky.

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By in United States,

Well, I've really only been an active LEGO fan for about 3 years, but the fact that LEGO actually updated LDD again after an 18-month hiatus was shocking and amazing.

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By in Czech Republic,

Huw about: a relatively "quiet" official release of one from Jamie Berards MOCs (the 10182 CC) in spring of 2007 and what it started then...

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By in Australia,

Biggest Lego surprise for me:

Hearing that people actually bought any Jack Stone sets.

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By in Israel,

As a kid in the 70s, the biggest surprise for me was Lego Space. It was absolutely amazing! I was stunned, immediately inspired, and couldn't wait for an occasion to ask for a new Lego.
Such sweet memories...

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By in United Kingdom,

Biggest surprise for me was that The Lego Movie was actually any good, I really had my doubts about it but turns out I loved it

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By in United Kingdom,

For me the biggest surprises were
The anoncetment of Starwars sets
Moving away from 9V to RC trains
The colour of minifigure heads ie starwars, marvel, dc, Lord of the rings etc. Moving away from the yellow heads.

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By in New Zealand,

One of them would have to be the minidolls in the Friends range. In fact it was surprising that they created the Friends range at all, since I always felt that Lego was never divided along gender lines like that. Even the Paradisa sets I had when I was a kid I never really thought of as 'girls' Lego, whereas Friends seems directly targeted at girls and often put in a separate section from the regular Lego.

At the time, I defended Lego - all they did was research the demographic of girls and deliver to them exactly what they had asked for. But lately I realised that the fact that they deliberately researched 'girl's' Lego at all, instead of just 'children's' Lego, is problematic.

But yeah. My favourite surprise would have to be the 10210 Imperial Flagship. It's like they made a set specifically for me, the adult who missed out on the Pirate ships as a child.

Also, as someone who came out of his Dark Age just as the bluish grey revolution was taking place, it never really affected me, in fact I actually prefer the new grey to the old grey...

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By in United States,

The disapproval of the Little Prince and the Discworld Ideas.

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By in United States,

I am surprised by how much I continue to spend on new sets, and the resultant storage dilemma that follows. I love Lego, but I must learn to be much more strict about which sets I buy. Star Wars sets being constantly updated is both happy and sad for me - how many times will I buy the same set? Just once more, as always...

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By in United States,

For me it was the discovery of stud-less Technic pieces. I had played with Expert Builder Sets (Chassis, Helicopter, Tractor, Engine, Harvester) before the name Technic was even heard of in the States. Then, years later during my dark period, I saw a SW battle droid (probably set 8001) made predominantly out of Technic parts on a coworker's desk. Only after recognizing a few familiar parts did I finally realize that it was even made of Lego. I remember thinking that it was "cheating" that there were so many specialized parts used in the model. Now years later, I am very glad that there are more than just the original Technic beams, gears and axles because you can do so much more with them.

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By in Poland,

Star Wars in general was, and still is, a biggest disappointment for me. It contributed to the beginning of my Dark Ages in 1999-2000 (along with Bionicle), not because those early sets were bad, but because I never really cared for the franchise. Actually, the better those sets were, the more impatient I grew, because no other theme attracted so much attention from designers and fans alike.

Personally, I have nothing against licensed themes. On the contrary, I think that short-living ones like The Lone Ranger, The Simpsons or, as it appears, Scooby-Doo, introduce always welcome variety and colour to the product range. I just wish that other themes were treated with such a care (ok, Hoth "UCS" aside, but who said it's beginning of an end?). Maybe Marvel Super Heroes, with sets like Helicarrier, will get a larger piece of cake sometime.

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By in United States,

For me by far the biggest surprise was shopping at the base PX in Germany and seeing SW Lego sets. I was long into my Dark Ages and had no idea (somewhat living in a bubble between beer and field exercises) that Lego would be doing SW. Also probably more surprised were my buddies, who couldn't believe I had bought a couple hundred dollars worth of Lego sets at the PX. I remember them saying "dude! You could've bought so much booze w/that money." If they had only known, drink is short lived and plastic is forever!

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By in United Kingdom,

Seeing classic Star Wars sets on shop shelves for the first time - particularly the SnowSpeeder with its orange bricks and minifigure. I'd read reports that LEGO were signed up to make merchandise for Episode 1, but the early appearance of the original movie sets still bowled me over.

Just behind that must be the first appearance of minifigures in 1978, in town sets and later, to trump that, Spacemen.

The final scenes of The LEGO Movie were pretty unexpected too.

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By in United States,

I was surprised to see the release of a massive $500 UCS Millennium Falcon! We have grown accustomed to $200+ sets nowadays, but not back then. Even so, we haven't seen a $500 set since!

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By in Canada,

The Portal 2 LEGO Dimension Level Pack is also a really nice surprise!

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By in United States,

Please LEGO! PLEASE! Make a UCS Starkiller Base.

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By in United States,

If we're comparing to Leicester City, it's got to be LEGO's near bankruptcy in 2004, while holding the Star Wars license. That would have made them the first company to go bankrupt on Star Wars products, I believe.

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By in Greece,

A big positive surprise for me was the announcement of the new 2016 summer technic sets...the excavator is huge and the claas tractor so realistic...I had never imagined that technic would have in it's catalog a so big(and wonderful set)...compared to the awesome but much smaller and different,concerning the theme,sets of the very previous years...The announcement of the technic porsche was the most surprising of them,for me.An old and sad surprise was the end of the production of model-team sets:(

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By in Netherlands,

And another big surprise for me was the day I discovered the internet and discovered that the thing I 've got has actually a name. I am an AFOL and I am not alone!!!! For me this was a big surprise and also I felt enleightened. I'm just a guy like many others loving people.

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By in Canada,

I think one of the biggest thing we're going to look back on as a big change is the recent slump of AFOL products; Hoth set, Batcave, and upcoming Minecraft exclusive. All these sets have been very underwhelming and overpriced. To me it seems like an inflection point.

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By in United States,

The sudden, unexplained disappearance of CMF 15.

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By in United States,

^^ I really think only one of those (Hoth) is that bad, but to each his own I guess.

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By in United States,

This are my top shocks:
1. The color change.
This one still has mad as hell and makes me seethe.

2. The discontinuation of the Pirate line in 1998.
Pirate is one of my all time favorite themes and the shock and disappointment at realizing that would be no new sets in '98 was profound.

3. Flesh colored Star Wars mini-figures.
When HP and SW went to flesh colored mini-figures I deeply disappointed. The NBA figures had been simply awful and I hoped was a one off. I've largely grown accustom to this change.

4. The original Pirate theme.
The original Pirate theme had such a profound impact on the Lego and the changes it heralded in are hard to understate.

Honorable mention: Star Wars
This an honorable mention because it wasn't so much a shock as it was a surprise to me. As a long time fan of both I could hardly contain my joy that these two things were coming together.

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By in United States,

The biggest surprise is the fact that in 2014 Lego became the largest, most profitable, toy company in the world; beating out Mattel. No doubt the Lego Movie helped greatly with this in terms of sales but also in public awareness. Even a more impressive feet when you consider Lego was headed towards bankruptcy only a decade earlier.

All the other stuff about sets and opinions on failures are just background noise. Lego becoming the largest toy manufacturer in the world is what's going to be in all the history books.

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By in United States,

Very few of Lego's recent IPs have failed to surprise me.
The January 2004 catalog was a big disappointment, with no new themes and few inspiring new offerings in existing themes. We know now that this was near the climax of Lego's troubles.
A more pleasant (though gradual) surprise to me, having grown up on City Center and World City, is the City line. There's more than rescue and construction, the models look good, and now it takes more than ten pieces to build a truck cab!

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By in United Kingdom,

The demise of old grey was a big deal to me back in the day, and I remember being really shocked, albeit pleasantly, when they picked up the Star Wars licence...

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By in Denmark,

The colour change may have been a big issue bag then but today it appears to me it was one of the most important decisions made by TLG.

I may exagerate a bit, but I think in todays market especially the old dark gray would actually turn people away from LEGO.

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By in Canada,

Wait, Water Plane Chase?

Oh man, I need that set.

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By in United Kingdom,

I think the introduction of the technic sets for Christmas 1977. With only the odd technic looking piece in the Lego range up to this point, it was a huge surprise. It certainly helped the demise of Meccano, which I guess it was meant to rival.

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By in United States,

I think the fact that The Lego Movie turned out as good as it did was a huge surprise in itself. For all intents and purposes, it could've just been a giant toy commercial with a mediocre story that only appeals to kids and just came and went, kind of like Clutch Powers did, but nobody expected it to ever be this good and popular.

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By in United States,

A lot of the surprises of the late 90s and early naughts kind of went over my head because I was just a kid/teenager so I wasn't really involved in the online community or anything. Sure, LEGO Star Wars was a surprise for me, but at that time just about ALL new themes came as a surprise to me, so the novelty of it being the LEGO Group's first pop-culture license or being more overtly "warlike" than previous themes didn't really faze me.

The 2004 color change was also somewhat surprising, but I guess it didn't have a huge impact on me at the time — after all, at that time LEGO had been introducing new colors all over the place, so actually REPLACING some of their old ones mostly just made me go "huh". It helped that right away I appreciated how much better the new gray and brown colors looked than the grody-looking old ones. Seriously, compared to the new ones, the old grays and browns looked almost like they had smoke damage as soon as you took them out of the package. Even with a very substantial collection of old grey parts, I was glad to transition to the new colors that replaced them.

I'll echo Bumblepants in saying that Ninjago's surging momentum is somewhat of a surprise. From all appearances the 2013 range was going to be its swan song. That in and of itself WOULDN'T have been a surprise, since few non-evergreen themes go on longer than three years, and I genuinely went to great effort to calm people down, reminding them that this was normal and that Ninjago had gotten a pretty good run, all things considered. But by the end of 2012 it turned out that the fanbase was larger and more passionate than anybody, even the LEGO Group, had counted on, so they went ahead and confirmed the 2014 continuation on social media more than a full year in advance! Now THAT was unexpected!

If you had told me then that three years later Ninjago would be an evergreen theme like LEGO City, and that four years later it'd have a theatrical film, I'd have been shocked. Of course, by the time those subsequent developments was announced they weren't quite so surprising in context. But seriously, even as a fan of the theme since 2011 it's greatly surpassed my expectations. I'm hesitant to say there's anything Ninjago can't manage at this point, lest it surprise me again!

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By in United Kingdom,

I agree that the Simpsons announcement was a huge surprise and I would add the switch from 9V track to Power Functions.

Good choice for the image at the top by the way, Emmet looks appropriately shocked!

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By in United Kingdom,

This article has prompted an excellent discussion. Thank you all for contributing.

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By in United Kingdom,

I never realised at the time in the early 2000s how close lego came to bankruptcy, I'm so glad they turned things round to become the powerhouse it is today. I was also greatly surprised when I found sites like this and lugnet and I wasn't on my own being an AFOL!!!

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By in Australia,

I can't really think of any moments when Lego gave me a, "What the hell?!" moment. I remember being really shocked when I first learned about Emerald Night (but that was a good, happy, surprised shock).

Also, I remember a moment where I walked into a shop in '98 and saw the RESQ theme, and the big hovercraft set was just totally mind-blowing. City/Town was terrible in the late 90s, so seeing such an awesome set in a classic city setting was amazing. I never did buy that one, but I wished I did.

The grey change in 2004 was annoying in small ways, to me personally, but it didn't shock me or bother me that much.

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By in United States,

A lot of interesting thoughts and preferences that only vaguely border true surprise, from a functional corporate point of view.

I wonder if one of the biggest surprises hasn't been mentioned, because it happened before us, and we're not entirely capable of processing the magnitude of what it actually was.

Very few, respectively, have gotten to tour the Idea House/Ole Kirks House, in Billund. When you do, you're transported to a very intimate part of the company where, you get to actually see the basis for the innovation that we seek out today. But that innovation is largely based on wood, not plastic. It was only after [multiple] factory fires that the full switch to plastics was made, and in doing so, the creation of the previously unexplored world of System(s) of Play.

Frustrating: The seemingly short release of Emerald Night and not getting to own one.
Perplexing: Simpsons and Adventure Time.
Awkward Stage: Jack Stone. Or licensed sets before Fleshy Figs.
All Out Surprise: LEGO, rebuilding the factory for a THIRD time, deciding to bring the first molding machine to Denmark.

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By in Canada,

I think the biggest surprise to me was the LEGO Movie. I some how didn't hear about it till it was nearly in theaters and I scoffed at it as I couldn't see how it was going to work.

When my son and I saw it as a matinee on a Saturday I was overwhelmed with how wrong I was about the ability of LEGO to make a good movie. Not only did I enjoy the movie wholeheartedly but it also made me think about how I "played" with my 2 boys and how I was close to being Lord Business.

The funniest thing, I kinda scoffed at the idea of making a LEGO Batman movie too. But the trailer looks like it is going to be an awesome movie as well.

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By in United States,

Gonna go with Green Classic Space man (and woman!) in the Exosuit. We all figured it'd be a great set, but seeing that fig in green for the first time ever... that was pretty awesome, and nobody knew it was coming. Pete managed to keep the secret until launch!

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By in Norway,

I hink some of the biggest surprises must have been the turn around after the nearly bankrupt.
At the time the Licensing of Star Wars begun, I was on my way to the dark age. I did not fall to mutch for Star Wars Lego back then and may have thought that it was a bad move for the original Lego sets in all. But we know how that ended.
Other surprise was after the release of the Ghostbuster Ecto-1, that they actually released the HQ this year.

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By in Poland,


I previously commented on my biggest disappointment in Lego, which is Star Wars in general. But I forgot this article focused on surprises, both good and bad.

So on the positive note, my biggest surprise which is being sustained to this day, is AFOL community and all things shared through it. Brickset, BrickLink and various LUGs. I'm still amazed how it all grew when I was still in DA. And of course, how large sets have become during that time. There's always a question of price, but... how many of us would come out of DA if not for modulars, UCS, Architecture, D2C?

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By in Czech Republic,

What about MINDSTORMS?

Even at universities students still learn basics of robotics using LEGO Mindstorms. Not to mention the competitions in programing, robot matches, racing etc. All those possibilities thanks to IR sensor, pressure sensor, camera and other hi-tech components.

I think that was an interesting step from simple toy manufacturer.

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By in Australia,

Probably the announcement of Lord of the Rings Lego for me, such a shame it kinda got just slipped under the rug and not much has really been heard of since... Still hoping for a couple of the last main characters to come through with Lego Dimensions...

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By in United Kingdom,

The Lego brick being invented must have been a big surprise at the time.

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By in United States,

I would say another shock for LEGO is how after Ninjago was supposed to end in 2013, a huge reaction from its growing fan base convinced them to bring it back in 2014.

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By in Belgium,

For me:

The orginal pirates and LOTR

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By in Canada,

^^ MOL I'm actually not too surprised of it's success. I have two sons and the oldest son loved Ninjago when it first came out and still does. His younger brother latched onto it over a year ago and that theme is by far the most beloved in our house. I find now it's a great way for Lego to push a theme they otherwise might not (eg Sky Pirates) as they now have a built in fanbase to buy these sets.

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By in United Kingdom,

Another big surprise for me came in 2001 with the rerelease of the Guarded Inn as a Lego legend and the subsequent legend sets which followed it. I was also surprised by the black and white boxes the early legend sets came in, several other exclusive sets back then also came in black and white boxes. I wish they would release more legend sets but as they were a product of Legos own dark ages they probably won't go back there. Another surprise was the closure of the Birmingham Lego retail store especially with how many there are now and how successful they are.

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By in United States,

Woohooo Bionicle made the list. That makes me happy. It was also quite a shock when Lego Abruptly announced it's demise in 2010 as well though. That took us all by surprise. Its return however was a little less shocking as for fans it was a gradual trail of breadcrumbs that lead up to the announcement, and we all figured it would return eventually. But I imagine that for most AFOLs it was quite a surprise.

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By in United Kingdom,

A BIG surprise for me would be Lego focusing back on Town and making a bigger, varied and better line than the currently repetitive City theme...affordable pocket money style sets and sets of varying sizes...oh and a return of Classic Castle, Classic Space and Fabuland along those lines...while we're at it, hows about studded Technic? Technic Figures and Universal Sets making a comeback? Ps, 9v trains???

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By in Puerto Rico,

The announcement that both Lego and Tt would not work on the third and final The Hobbit movie as DLC content for their already released game that came with two movies (they better not pull a similiar stunt with the Lego The Force Awakens game.

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By in United States,

Biggest good surprises:
The Lego Movie is actually good.
Licensed Lego (Lego Star Wars).
Video Games based on licensed Lego (starting with Lego Star Wars) are actually good.

Biggest bad surprise:
The removal of studs from Technic sets. I have a hard time qualifying them as Lego anymore.

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By in United States,

Biggest surprise for me was hearing how close LEGO was to bankrupcy. Second, I guess, would be the Gray color change.

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By in Ireland,

The biggest surprises for me would have to be:
Mindstorms. Just as I was rediscovering Lego they released programmable Lego robots!
The colour change. I wasn't as dramatic about at the time as some (I didn't declare my entire collection useless...) but it still came as a big surprise.
The end of 9V trains... As much as I like building steam trains using PF motors, this was a technological step back. A bit like the end of Concorde...

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By in United States,

For me the biggest surprise for Lego was when the decided to go digital with Lego Mindstorm and the Lego video games genres (Star Wars, Marvel, DC...). Some would say it was only inevitable at the time for a company like Lego, that only specialized in toys, to stay alive that it would have to compete with the video game market. I think what is even more surprising was the success of the games for how simple they were given the gaming market was dominated by more complex involved games that wowed players by graphics and story lines. The industry had shifted away from the, "just pick up a controller and anyone could play" feel like the NES days. Yet the Star wars games for PS2 were very fun and the games are still fun today given their competition in the video game industry.

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By in Canada,

My biggest surprise was lego technic. I remember when it was announced in the spring of 1977. I was talking with my friend about it, and I told him I am never going to by that stuff. When it came out I liked it specially because of the gears. I bought the 851 tractor because it did not have so much technic bricks. Bought more technic sets after that,the last set about 2 weeks ago.

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By in China,

Speaking of the police plane,isn't it a surprise that now ever since 2011 there's always police sets in LEGO city every year?

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By in United States,

I'm always surprised that in 2016 the LEGO website still didn't ever run correctly. Thankfully I think they finally fix it.

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By in United States,

I think it was Star Wars Lego's Longest Running Licensed Theme yet because the plane thing was just a mistake one lego's part it was not meant to be a surprise and I guess Superheros was kind of Surprise when they brought it back after the spider-man and batman sets from the early 2000s

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By in United States,

imagine going back in time to 1999 and show someone a star wars set and say They're gonna make these for at least 17 years imagine their face

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By in Australia,

The change in grey happened in my dark years. Once I returned to lego I raided my old toy box and found some of the Old dark grey pieces. I have to say I love them both, and have taken advantage of their very subtle difference, which is generally not possible with many lego colours. e.g. grey rock layering. I've also found that the two (dark) grey tones can be used in different ways. It is a pity that the "old dark grey" is not produced anymore, but there is still lots available. I have not had the same experience with the light grey, and prefer the new colour to the old.

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By in Australia,

My biggest surprise is the shots actual Lego fans take at Lego themes they don't like, if it's Lego it's great either way, I don't give a dam what theme it is, I never judge another person for the theme they like, my two favourite themes are Ninjago and Bionicle, they are the only themes I purchase sets from, but for some reason they cop a lot of flak from other Lego fans because it isn't what they like or the classic one "Bionicle doesn't look like Lego so therefore it isn't Lego"......... really....... k
Last I heard Bionicle was the theme that brought Lego out of it's financial crisis at the turn of the century when it was introduced in 2001, the top selling theme for the next decade (2000's), everyone of my friends owned at least one Bionicle when I was in primary school, just appreciate it!
Ninjago has been the top selling theme so far in the 2010's I just don't get the flak they take as themes!
For example, I dislike Superhero Movies all together, but the Lego sets are great, I don't see issues in them, that's me as a Teenage Fan of Lego being appreciative of all themes and the hard work designers put in to make the themes sets as good as possible!
That's my greatest surprise...

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By in United Kingdom,

Positive surprise: the advent of articulated minifigures in the 1970s. Until then, there had only been static, hands-in-pockets, faceless minifigures. I thought the articulated minifigures were revolutionary back then and am still a fan today. At the time, there was no internet to spread rumours so seeing posable minifigures for the first time came as a delightful surprise.

Second most positive surprise: the Lord of the Rings range. There had been rumours flying around the net for a while but nothing had been confirmed and then it seemed all my birthdays had come at once when TLG announced: LEGO and Tolkien combined - wow!

Negative surprise: the introduction of fleshy minifigures. Maybe it's a generational thing, but fleshies came as a horrible shock. The article claims we've gotten used to them. I haven't. To me, they are and always will be detestable.

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By in Netherlands,

I think the succes of the LEGO Friends series is a big surprise. When I first saw the images I thought the little dolls looked just awfull. But ik appears that the are hugely loved by little girls all over the world. Well done LEGO

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By in Netherlands,

I think that for a lot of people in the United States it was a surprise when they learned that LEGO is not an American invention but a European one ;)

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