Friends Reimagining

The LEGO® Group officially revealed the first wave of sets for January 2023 today. Along with it comes the news of a theme refresh. Friends gets a new look and direction next year. Following hot on the heels of the ethnically diverse Table Football set, the Friends reimagining is markedly woke for a new generation. Gone are the days of Andrea, Mia, Emma, Olivia, and Stephanie. 2023 ushers in a new crew featuring Paisley, Autumn, Aliya, Leo, Liann, Olly, Zac, and Nova. It kind of feels like Degrassi: the Next Generation. Perhaps the old crew will show up in elderly cameos 😉

LEGO Friends reimagined.
The new LEGO® Friends. Image used with permission, ©2022 The LEGO® Group.

All joking aside, I have long felt Friends was a tired theme. It needed a refresh for sure. Additionally, the LEGO® Group supposedly did their research on this one. The press release relies heavily on the results of the 2022 Play Well Study. Conducted by the LEGO® Group, the study results include information gathered from 32,781 parents and 24,593 children. Among the findings, the press release cites that 73% of children feel under represented in toys. Meanwhile, 80% want more toy characters that look like them.

73% of children feel under represented in toys.

Aliya, Autumn, Leo, and Zac from the Friends Reimagining.
Image used with permission. ©2022 The LEGO® Group.

The press release offers the following concerning the host of new characters:

The brand-new universe of authentic, interesting, passionate, and diverse characters includes additions of multiple skin tones, cultures, physical and non-visible disabilities, and neurodiversity. The new sets and series will feature characters with limb difference, Downs Syndrome, anxiety, vitiligo, and a dog with a wheelchair. The new friends also explore and work to overcome modern challenges that they face, passions, obstacles, and differences, all while trying to create friendships.

Liann, Olly, Paisley, and Nova from the new Friends.
Image used with permission, ©2022 The LEGO® Group.

So what about the new sets? Are they any different from the “old” Friends? Well, so far we have a school, a dog rescue center, two houses, and a diner. While the characters might seem like a breath of fresh air, the sets do not. If you have a video game streamer, why not showcase her gaming room? If you have a martial arts expert, why not give us a dojo set? Friends was already moving towards more diverse characters with sets like Main Street Building. That particular set was also a step up in terms of concept and design. These sets strike me with a been-there-done-that vibe. Of course, we are probably not seeing the full 2023 offering here. However, to really showcase a Friends reimagining, you should really showcase some reimagined set ideas too. With that said, let’s take a look at the lineup so far.

Paisley’s House

  • SET #: 41724
  • COST: $49.99 CAD ($39.99 USD)
  • BRICK COUNT: TBD
  • MINI-DOLLS: 2 + 1 child
  • RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2023
  • COST/BRICK: TBD
  • BRICK-TO-FIG RATIO: TBD
Paisley's House from the Friends reimagined sets.
Image used with permission. ©2022 The LEGO® Group.

Dog Rescue Center

  • SET #: 41727
  • COST: $74.99 CAD ($59.99 USD)
  • BRICK COUNT: TBD
  • MINI-DOLLS: 3
  • RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2023
  • COST/BRICK: TBD
  • BRICK-TO-FIG RATIO: TBD
Image used with permission. ©2022 The LEGO® Group.

Heartlake Downtown Diner

  • SET #: 41728
  • COST: $39.99 CAD ($29.99 USD)
  • BRICK COUNT: TBD
  • MINI-DOLLS: 3
  • RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2023
  • COST/BRICK: TBD
  • BRICK-TO-FIG RATIO: TBD
Image used with permission. ©2022 The LEGO® Group.

Autumn’s House

  • SET #: 41730
  • COST: $89.99 CAD ($69.99 USD)
  • BRICK COUNT: TBD
  • MINI-DOLLS: 4
  • RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2023
  • COST/BRICK: TBD
  • BRICK-TO-FIG RATIO: TBD

Heartlake International School

  • SET #: 41731
  • COST: $139.99 CAD ($99.99 USD)
  • BRICK COUNT: TBD
  • MINI-DOLLS: 3
  • RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2023
  • COST/BRICK: TBD
  • BRICK-TO-FIG RATIO: TBD
Image used with permission. ©2022 The LEGO® Group.

If you watch the video above, you’ll see a few more details about these sets. While I remain largely underwhelmed with the set concepts, I will give the International School some props. It appears to take after Main Street Building with modular, customizable style. The Friends reimagining also brings great new characters and accessories. I hope to see some of these hairpieces bleed into the regular world of minifigures as well. While I commend the move towards greater diversity and inclusion, part of me laments the level of detail put into the character stories (see the lovely graphics I made below). It kind of tells kids how to play with these characters instead of promoting imagination. Thankfully, they maintain their customizable potential. What do you think of the Friends reboot? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

Until next time,

-Tom

CHARACTER BIOS

Friends reimagining: Aliya Bio
Autumn Bio
Friends reimagining: Leo bio
Zac Bio

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6 Comments

  1. J.S. Pailly says:

    I don’t generally buy the Friends sets. I did see the Friends space shuttle in Target the other day, and I kind of like the look of the Friends-style astronauts. I probably won’t buy the set, but I might order a bunch of those mini-dolls on Bricklink. And with that in mind, if I can get a more diverse collection of heads for those mini-doll astronauts, that’s a win for me.

    1. Tom K says:

      I was also intrigued by the Friends Space Shuttle… I thought it was such a pleasant departure from the usual Heartlake City shops… Also will probably not buy it unless heavily discounted though…

  2. someone says:

    Off topic but does anyone have any experience with the shoptoysale site? Claims to be Canadian, but prices seem to good to be true.

    1. Tom K says:

      In my experience, if it seems too good to be true, it is.

      1. Tom K says:

        Just Googled it. The reviews and trust rating are terrible. I recommend sticking to known sources.

Comments are closed.