LEGO’s brand new original theme, DreamZzz was unveiled last week, showcasing one of LEGO’s big new focuses for 2023 and beyond.
You’re invited to explore the Dream World, a realm filled with wonders, and nightmares, and follow the tales of Mateo, and his friends as they navigate the world.
It’s a bold new theme, and to help better understand what to expect, I got to participate in a roundtable with some of the key architects of LEGO DreamZzz – Cerim Manovi, the LEGO Dreamzzz Creative Lead and design director, as well as Keith Malone, Head of Entertainment at The LEGO Group
Keith has an extensive resume, and is in charge of working on shows like Ninjago, City, Star Wars and LEGO Masters, and has been working on LEGO Dreamzzz for the last 4 years, which tells you just deep in development this theme has been.
Cerim also has an equally incredibly resume – he first worked with Keith on Bionicle Gen 2, and he’s also spent 4-5 years on LEGO Ninjago.
To learn more about the development and concept of DreamZzz, and what fans can expect from the theme, check out some of the key highlights and snippets from LEGO DreamZzz below!
How many LEGO DreamZzz sets will be released and when will they be available?
There will be a total of 11 LEGO DreamZzz sets that will be part of the first wave, and the sets will be available from 1 August 2023.
- 71453 Izzie and Bunchu the Bunny – US$20.99 / AU$34.99 / £18.99 / €20.99 / CAD$24.99
- 71454 Mateo and Z-Blob the Robot – US$20.99 / AU$34.99 / £18.99 / €20.99 / CAD$24.99
- 40657 Dream Village – US$29.99 / AU$44.99 / £25.99 / €29.99 / CAD$39.99
- 71455 Grimkeeper the Cage Monster – US$37.99 / AU$62.99 / £31.99 / €37.99 / CAD$49.99
- 71456 Mrs. Castillo’s Turtle Van – US$47.99 / AU$72.99 / £42.99 / €47.99 / CAD$59.99
- 71457 Pegasus Flying Horse – US$52.99 / AU$84.99 / £46.99 / €52.99 / CAD$64.99
- 71458 Crocodile Car – US$62.99 / AU$104.99 / £57.99 / €62.99 / CAD$79.99
- 71459 Stable of Dream Creatures – US$84.99 / AU$139.99 / £74.99 / €84.99 / CAD$99.99
- 71460 Mr. Oz’s Spacebus – US$99.99 / AU$159.99 / £84.99 / €99.99 / CAD$119.99
- 71461 Fantastical Tree House – US$104.99 / AU$179.99 / £94.99 / €104.99 / CAD$139.99
- 71469 Nightmare Shark Ship – US$139.99 / AU$239.99 / £119.99 / €139.99 / CAD$179.99
How did the concept of LEGO DreamZzz come about?
Keith: The concept began with “ what if we just started telling kids stories”. So we gathered some of the best storytellers from all over – we gathered folks from gaming, to theatrical, to normal animated series to publishing and we had them pitch us on ideas.
We then took the ones that we thought were valuable, then started pitching them to kids, and we let them tell us the things that made them excited and they wanted to talk about.
It became apparent pretty quickly that this whole idea of dreams, and what they told each other about their dreams, was super powerful, which started us thinking that this could be our next big IP (intellectual property).
We then talked to experts, we talked to dream psychologists, and again, tons and tons of kids, and Cherim and his team began iterating on the things we were being told.
Cherim: It was a lot more complex – we had about 50 ideas, and from those, we got it down to 3, which we felt had great potential. We (product development) then collaborated with the story team to bring it to life.
We wanted to do something that’s uniquely LEGO, and focusing on the core part of LEGO, which was the joy of creation, imagination, creativity as its forefront.
We felt strongly that the world of dreams had everything we wanted to offer to the kids – a wild world that lets you do whatever you want.
There was something in this world that allows you to break out of the constraints of normality
Keith: One of the people who worked on the was a Dream Psychologist, which is a really interesting job where he’d help kids who were having severe problems with nightmares.
When he told us that, that was our “aha!” moment, where you basically try to teach kids to take control of their dreams, to be able to affect their nightmares. That over time helps them to become aware dreamers where they can take control of their dreams and no longer have nightmares.
That essentially was the core of our story.
What can LEGO fans expect from the animated series?
Keith: The story is about a group of kids, who are normal middle school kids who live in Brooklyn, New York. They’re very reflective of kids today – some of them are outgoing, or athletes. Our main character Mateo is shy and likes to draw and is very unsure of himself.
We definitely wanted to create a series that reflected what kids go through during that Middle School time.
Season 1 is a 20-episode series that airs in May, ahead of the product launch in August. Then Season 2 begins in 2024. Each episode goes on for about 22 minutes.
There will be 2 drops of Season 1, split into two batches of 10 episodes.
We really adopted a strategy of trying to get the story out as far and wide as we possibly can. We will have all the major broadcast partners, and Youtube as well where people can find DreamZzz.
What’s with the Hourglass we see on so many of the characters?
It’s a magical artifact that they get in the Dream World to then channel their imagination to create anything.
It gives them almost like an energy bar, so as much sand as you have in your hourglass, that’s as much as you can create. At some point, the sand runs low, you wake up and get kicked out of the dream world.
It’s a cool kind of game mechanic that we have in there, but that is their main power. Anything they love, they can transform into something real in the dream world.
LEGO DreamZzz introduces a new choose your own adventure mechanic
Cherim: We spiced up our building instructions, introducing a simplified story that we can tell. For example, the dreamer falls asleep, goes into the dream world and something bad like a nightmare happens, and our dreamer then needs to build a solution to help free their friends from it.
It’s like a comic book, and this is what makes it LEGO because you can build your own adventure. There’s a choice moment in most of the sets, where you build the model to a certain point. For example, letting kids build the Crocodile Car, or the Battle Car.
Only about 20% of the bricks are used to change and alter it, in something I like to call “guided creativity”.
We want to give kids the tools to be okay to create something on their own and give them creative confidence.
Can we expect other LEGO theme crossovers with DreamZzz?
Keith: The short answer is yes, there is content that will crossover with other themes!
Will there be digital experiences connected to LEGO DreamZzz, like apps, video games etc?
Keith: Yes, but let’s unpack it. From a play perspective, there is this idea that you have something that contains your power within the Dream World, so it can be stolen, and hidden.
From a storytelling perspective, it’s basically our ticking clock, and there’s loads of things that we can do there.
But we’re starting with a TV series first before any digital experiences.
How have previous themes influenced the development of DreamZzz?
Cerim: It’s hard to compare it with themes like Nexo Knights, which had a sci-fi, tech component to it and with the knights, it was clearly aimed more towards boys.
For Hidden Side, it was more about the tech and the AR experience compared to the storyline.
It was useful to also go back and look at all the things at worked, like with Chima, Nexo Knights, Hidden Side, take those lessons and put it into the context of LEGO-first, and story-first which is why the content is rolling out two months prior, so that kids can experience the first 10 episodes before there’s any sets available
What can AFOLs look forward to with DreamZzz?
Cerim: We have some fun nudges with Dr Oswald and the Space Suit. I think the Nightmare Shark Ship is such a cool build, which the AFOL audience will enjoy. Another thing is that we’re trying to make building “spicy”.
What was super cool for us as a team – we had a very interesting and diverse team of designers that worked on this. We had male, female designers, rookies, but also super senior designers who have spent 25 years with LEGO. We also had 2 or 3 AFOL designers that worked with us on the team.
LEGO DreamZzz will be released on 1 August 2023 from LEGO.com, and will also be available at all LEGO Stores, and most toy stores.
Let me know in the comments if you’re excited for LEGO DreamZzz and if you’d like to find out anything else from the theme!
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It came out on Netflix today (May 15th)
It will be interesting to see these sets once reviews come out. This theme looks very interesting, especially with its focus on animals and being able to build things that would make no sense in the real world that other Lego sets occupy.
Jay Ong says
Hopefully I’ll be able to share them with you guys!
José Carlos says
Will AFOL’s get the characters normal day outfit as pictured by their profile description? 🙂
Sounds like a cerebral Pixar movie.