This decade can surely be described by the word “controversy”—surely you see the word thrown around in the entertainment industry, but who would’ve thought that word would leak into our Lego sets? Well, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself—Lego isn’t involved in some TMZ-style gossip in 2018, yet the toy company has received a lot of backlash over the years for their supposed controversial sets.
Whether it be sets that offended specific groups of people or ones that parents deemed too wicked for their children, Lego has fought off controversy since their inception back in 1932. Some of that controversy definitely seems justified, especially when you’re staring down a set that’s extremely reminiscent of a certain camp back in the day (yeah... they kind of went there once).
If some of these sets showed up on the shelves of your local toy store, you’d likely raise an eyebrow or two. But some of these sets are soaked in hidden controversies that only hardcore Lego fans would know—like how some sets were severely underproduced due to Lego being on the brink of financial ruin back in the early 2000s. Today, however, not only are we going to look at the sets that probably couldn’t be made in 2018, but we’ll also be looking at the sets that received so much backlash from fans for being poorly designed, or downright cheap. Lego is a company that prides themselves on the quality of their sets, so it was striking to see how over the years they’ve released products that fringed upon dollar store quality—so let’s take a look at the worse Lego has to offer.
25 Lego Breaking Bad Makes Parents Really Sad
First off, and yes, you will hate me for saying this if you’ve heard it before, but seriously watch some Breaking Bad if you haven’t already—it’s on Netflix too. Alright, with that out of the way, a Lego version of Breaking Bad is undoubtedly cool but is just asking for controversy.
This is a custom-made set, so we have to let Lego off the hook with this one, unfortunately.
But Lego made it clear they wanted nothing to do with it, and that technically earns it a spot as a set they’d never release today.
24 Lego Construction Worker Shows Kids How To Speak To Women
For the uninformed, a “catcall” is when a guy calls out to a girl and more often than not it involves a pretty gross compliment. It’s popular amongst construction workers, and it seemed that Lego wanted to play on this trope.
Here, the Lego construction worker just says “Hey, babe” on a sticker, and it seems pretty innocent and kind of funny.
It’s the type of thing that will definitely go over kids' heads and give adults a chuckle, but one dad was furious with the joke and it wasn’t long before this turned into a controversy.
23 Lego Simpsons Is Great, But Many Parents Don’t Think So
Some of these sets you’re personally unlikely to have an issue with, and for many fans of the insanely popular, and somehow still-running show The Simpsons, you’re likely to scratch your head wondering what was the problem here.
Well, even though The Simpsons is a great show, it’s obvious that parents would have a problem seeing their kids exposed to a program of this nature. The Simpsons' sets are just so cool that I kind of wish parents would leave this one alone, but it’s easy to understand their anger.
22 Jabba’s Palace Was Accused Of Being Insensitive
Don’t get me wrong, Jabba’s Palace is a pretty scummy place—I’m pretty sure it’s the equivalent to one of those sketchy-down-a-dark-alley clubs that always seem like a bad idea to go to. That being said, prejudice is the last issue I’d think people would have with the place.
Well, popular communities apparently found the set prejudiced because it supposedly resembles one of Istanbul’s most revered places. The community asked for Lego to release a public apology and Lego had to eventually pull the set.
21 An Eerie Rendition Of A Camp
Yeah, we’re kind of cheating with this one again because this wasn’t a product featured in a store, but Lego still was involved in it. Polish artist Zbigniew Libera had some sort of partnership with Lego and built a set that was a bit jarring to many.
Libera built a camp out of Legos and one that resembled one specific, known camp.
From an artistic perspective, this is actually pretty captivating, so much so that the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Poland displayed it—just don’t expect it to be on the shelves of your local Walmart.
20 A Bunny That Is Likely Missing A Few Cells
What you are staring at isn’t some "masterpiece" created by my 11-year-old sister. Nope, what you’re seeing is an official set from Lego themselves. And if you’re asking “How? Just how?!” then you’re right there with me on this one.
This just couldn’t be released today simply because it’s just so terrible. I mean, just look at it!
Even if my little sister came to me with this, I’d have to hide some disappointment in my voice, but knowing this was Lego makes it a failure of spectacular proportions.
19 Lego Clone Wars' Twilight Set Brings Back Bad Memories
I just want to forget this particular era of Star Wars, not that I’m enjoying this one that much more (sorry, episode 8 fans), but this particular era where this set is from brings back only the worst memories. And apparently, fans hated this set just as much as the show that it was based on.
The set garnered a ton of hate from hardcore fans for being seriously overpriced and just being a poor set to come out of the popular Star Wars series of Legos. The reviews of it definitely show that.
18 Gender Controversy Surrounds Lego Friends
Lego Friends does bend our rules a little as the sets are out today and are quite popular. But we wanted to highlight the controversy that surrounded these sets, because it was quite a heated one. Back in 2012, Lego introduced Lego Friends, a set that was obviously targeted towards their female market. A lot of people didn’t like that.
The people at the forefront of this controversy were women’s groups arguing that Lego was in a way marginalizing girls and dictating which Legos they should play with—a petition even went out that gained 47 thousand signatures to remove the sets.
17 Podracing Has Never Looked More Awful
Whether you love or hate the prequels (we’ll assume mostly hate), many agree on a few things—Darth Maul was great, the memes were great, and podracing was awesome.
Lego, however, found a way to ax the fun out of podracing and they did it by making this set.
Obviously, this thing isn’t as bad as Mr. Bunny up there, but that isn’t saying much, because this thing still looks like yesterday’s trash. In the words of the great Anakin Skywalker, “I don’t like bad Lego sets. They’re cheap and rough and irritating and look terrible”.
16 Spider-Man Rides A Trike Now... “Say What!?”
I’m not the biggest Spider-Man fan, despite very much enjoying the recent game. That being said, though, I don’t ever remember our web-slinging friend chasing baddies on a motorized tricycle.
Hate to be that guy, but why on Earth would someone like Spider-Man ever need a trike when he probably could go faster swinging around the city by himself? It just doesn’t make any sense at all—like maybe if Spidey fought crime in the Sahara Desert then I could get on board with this set, but as it is now, it’s just terribly bad.
15 Lego Galidor Is Unbelievably Bad
There was a period in the early 2000s when Lego wasn’t doing too hot—the company had just filed for financial issues and it really looked like they just weren’t going to bounce back. Luckily, sets like Bionicle and Lego Star Wars saved the company, but ones like Lego Galidor were making their rebound even tougher.
Lego Galidor was introduced back in 2002 and was based on a kids' show that used to broadcast on Fox. Lego’s version of Galidor was some awful hybrid between action figures and Legos and truly highlights the low point for the company.
14 Lego’s Failed “Cool Guy” Character
Well, back to the on-the-verge-of-going-broke years, because those times were just so much fun for Lego (and by fun, we hope you know we mean bad). Another bad idea that Lego came up with during this desperate period was trying to push out a “cool guy” character.
[In Cool Movie Guy Voice] “His name... Jack Stone… and his mission... to work all the average jobs in the city only to return to his one bedroom apartment by night."
Lego tried to make this guy out to be a James Bond-type, yet he was stuck doing local city jobs in all his sets.
13 This Fire Chief Deserves A Pay Raise
There’s something all too perfect about the dismal, cheapy sets that Lego has released over the years. While I’ve been told many times as a child that folks older than me only had rocks and sticks to play with, I highly doubt even they would be excited by this set.
This fire chief is equipped with a megaphone, a walkie-talkie, and one dinky-looking fire truck.
Lego sets are supposed to inspire kids to dream big especially when it comes to what they want to be when they grow up; so I’m guessing this one failed spectacularly in that department.
12 The Mandarin Could Use A New Set Of Wheels
The Mandarin might be the most iconic villain to come out of the Iron Man universe, but his ride definitely needs an upgrade here. Reminiscent of the dinky vehicle we saw in the last entry, The Mandarin just looks downright pathetic in his whip.
It kind of looks like Lego created one of those motorized scooters at a grocery store and just tacked on some dingy missiles.
Nobody could sit in that vehicle and not feel the utmost amount of embarrassment, so it’s easy to see why fans complained about this one.
11 Lego Mixels Have Likely Shown Up In The Dreams Of Children
It’s anyone’s guess as to what Lego was thinking with these—lucky for them they didn’t come up with the idea, but they still released the set so we’re not letting them off the hook. Mixels is a 2014 cartoon series that aired on Cartoon Network and one that you likely forgot, or at least hope to forget soon.
The show wasn’t completely bad, though, and lasted a couple years. The Lego sets should’ve been sent to the shadow realm ages ago. Mixels are just too deranged to translate well into Lego and it really shows with these freak show-type sets.
10 Greenpeace Attacks Lego’s Partnership With Shell
Growing up I remember a ton of Lego sets featuring the prominent oil company Shell—so what happened to them? Well, environmental activist group Greenpeace actually ran a campaign protesting Lego’s partnership with the company.
After Greenpeace showcased a small video featuring Lego minifigures sinking in thick, black oil, the partnership then came to a swift close in 2014. Lego initially argued with Greenpeace stating their problem lay with Shell, not them. Ultimately they decided ending the partnership was best.
9 Mr. Gold Makes Fans Go Crazy
Remember that iconic scene in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory when five golden tickets are placed in random candy bars around the world? What am I saying, of course you do. Well, Lego decided to give their own spin on this promotion.
Lego placed 5,000 figures of Mr. Gold in random minifigure packs across the globe and you can imagine that fans absolutely freaked.
Not only did it send the fanbase into an overly-aggressive race to find the figure, but collectors were disappointed to see it was also cheaply made.
8 Lego Fabuland Hurts My Eyes
This looks like something pulled out of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine film and a lot less like something I’d get for a child to play with. Lego Fabuland dropped in the late 70s and featured a set of anthropomorphic farm animals.
My question is: “How do you even begin to play with a set like this?”
Sure, we can give it the old "it’s from an earlier time" defense, but some of these sets in this series were just plain dismal and it’s hard to blame age for that.
7 The Dollar Store Version Of The Final Duel
Hmm... not sure, but it seems like Lego forgot to complete this set. Or if this really was their idea, we don’t get why it wasn’t scrapped. This set is part of a three-set-series but that’s no excuse for what we see here.
Just look at the Imperial Officer proceeding to step into a bottomless pit all with that generic and poorly placed smile on his face. This shouldn’t even be worth money—Lego should consider just throwing this in for free with any $5 dollar purchase and it might feel a tad more worth it.
6 "Znap-Jet Car" Is The Worst Thing Lego Has Ever Put Out
Sure we’ve seen our fair share of gross sets on this list, but this just has to take the dumpster cake. Where to begin? Well, a good place is to ask the question, “What even?” Yeah, just “What even?”
It gets even worse when you realize that this set was released in 1998, a period when something like this is inexcusable for a company like Lego. Truthfully, I’d probably take those sticks and rocks that my Grandpa supposedly played with as a kid over this poor excuse for a set.
5 Lego Forgot That Almost None Of These Characters Make It
Oh boy, more Star Wars prequels. This time we’re looking at Episode III and the infamous scene where Anakin turns Vader. From an action standpoint, it’s a pretty cool part, but it seems like Lego forgot that all the heroes in it are completely wiped out.
No one in this set makes it out alive except for the villains, yet Lego says that the heroes apparently “have a chance.”
Nope, none of them make it and any kid who saw the movie would probably know that—maybe I’m giving kids too much credit though.
4 The Prince Charming That You Never Wanted
Lego has had some serious bad luck when they've crossed into the doll market, and this set, Belville Prince Justin, is probably the best example of it. Yet another attempt to appeal to their female market, Lego fails in all the best ways with this one.
It’s like they found the cheapest action figure at a Five Below and then proceeded to repackage it with the words “Lego” all over.
I just don’t know what kid anywhere would ever pick this up and say “This one, this one!”.
3 "Tusken Raider Encounter" Is A Weird Scene To Be A Kids' Toy
Star Wars is filled with its fair share of dark moments—Luke learning the truth of his father, Han Solo taking the plunge in VII, and almost every scene from the latter half of Episode III. But do you remember that Tusken Raider scene in Episode II?
Apparently, Lego remembered and for some reason, decided to make a set out of the harsh scene…
There’s no aspect of enjoyment at all in this entire part, yet Lego decided to cash in on it anyways—yeah, money!
2 "Jungle Duel" Is Another Scene Lego Should’ve Skipped
First off, this set is terrible from a quality standpoint—it retails for almost $100 and it only comes with 90 pieces, including minifigures. Besides that, though, it’s another example of Lego picking a really weird scene for a kid’s toy.
In case you don’t remember Crystal Skull, this scene is where Indy fights two dudes only for them to be devoured by fire ants.
And it’s gross too, like one dude literally has the ants go into his mouth... guess that’s why Lego left them out here.
1 The Most Overpriced Set, According To Fans
Upon first look, you probably don’t see much wrong with our number one entry, and I didn’t really get it at first either. But according to longtime fans of the Lego Star Wars sets, this thing was a huge disappointment.
It retails for a ridiculous $250 and doesn’t feature much you’d want to display as a collector, instead giving fans more “play pieces.”
This means more minifigures and more of an emphasis on pieces you can play with, so basically, everything a collector would abhor—well, Will Ferrell in The Lego Movie would definitely hate it.