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I have noticed that LEGO sets from the past few years of their Star Wars theme include a prominent, or at least noticeable, Disney logo, typically in one of the corners. For example, see this Imperial AT Hauler set, with the trademark quasi-signature Disney logo in the lower right corner:

LEGO Imperial AT Hauler

On the other hand, Marvel Super Heroes sets (e.g. the Thanos: Ultimate Battle set below) do not seem to include a Disney logo, despite the fact that both Lucasfilm/Star Wars (since 2012) and Marvel Comics (since 2009) are owned by Disney.

LEGO Thanos: Ultimate Battle

Why is this? Is this primarily a result of different contractual clauses in the specific licensing agreements for Star Wars and Marvel (i.e. this is done for legal reasons), or is this primarily a marketing decision by LEGO? I could easily see how they might do this to make it seem less violent and more appealing to parents with small children - "No, son, Star Wars is a really violent series about a father and son that are always fighting and chop each others' hands off, then team up to throw a local politician down a pit - wait a minute, it's Disney? Ok then!", but then that doesn't explain why they wouldn't do the same with Marvel, which also has a lot of young fans.

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    This is a guess: It would be too much. Star Wars is just one subtitle, so there is space to put the owner's name (Disney) very small in one corner. With Marvel, you would have MARVEL, Super Heroes, Avengers AND Disney on the box. In 4 different prominent fonts! I think this is a design issue, not a legal issue.
    – Metalbeard
    Mar 4, 2019 at 20:30
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    It's more likely to be that the Marvel films are distributed by Marvel Studios (a wholly owned division of The Walt Disney company) whilst the Star Wars films are now distributed by Walt Disney Studios - so the Marvel sets already have the appropriate logo on them (Marvel). Mar 11, 2019 at 11:44

2 Answers 2

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I emailed TLG:

These changes are different as it is how Disney would like it be displayed. Prior to a set release, each set goes through a number of reviews. One of these, is our designers show Disney the boxes for them to sign off on and approve, after they review the boxes. For each set, they said the boxes were approved for release!

It does appear that for the Marvel, they were ok with the Disney Logo not included on the exterior but they did want the Disney Logo on the Star Wars sets!

I also talked with a customer service representative. He took ~5 minutes to "do research." Here's a portion of (only) what he said (comment and ping me in chat if you want the full transcript):

I'm sorry, but we don't have a clear answer on why the boxes differ. What we do know is that the designers create the artwork for the boxes that the sets come in [sic; in] and after that the parent company (Disney) signs off on the designs!

That's it exactly! We provide the images to the parent company and they do have a say in what appears on the box, once we get the okay from them we print them off. With the Marvel and Star Wars TM they were both approved, but have the different printing.

He suggested reaching out to Disney. Unfortunately, I am still in the process of doing so.

What the above replies mean is that (1) designer decided to design a box a certain way (possibly for aesthetic reasons), (2) Disney approved the design, (3) this is the design you see on your boxes. As such, there is no "real reason" the boxes were designed this way.

I will be updating the answer with a reply from Disney.

The (second) reply from Disney; the first was a generic "thanks for the feedback":

That is actually a good question for LEGO- there is a contact page in the links you sent us. This is not something we could answer...

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That is very strange indeed that Disney themselves are not exactly clear on this decision and say that it should be directed towards the Lego Group alone. For some time it has bugged me, and I have been seeking an honest answer. So maybe I should contact Lego/Disney myself (3 years later). I have always thought that this decision was taken by the merchandise department of Star Wars (since it was bought by The Walt Disney Company in October 2012), this addition to branding is because of contractual agreements since becoming part of Disney, and that comes through Disney tax. It has indeed seemed that a majority of Marvel merchandise (wherever sold) has been generally more affordable by a small margin and a big factor of this is Lego sets - Lego Marvel sets value Vs Lego Star Wars sets value. The Force Awakens had the biggest amount of merchandise a film ever had (even with a big amount of merch not even based off the film) because it was Disney's time to shine big, and additional Disney Tax on Star Wars merch has especially been clear across the 5 Disney Star Wars films from 2015 to 2019. Also, we notice that Lego Star Wars sets typically have to have accuracy to the franchise, and I know there are officials at Lego who consult with Disney on what exactly to put in every main set, from build to minifigures. That is not as much the case with Lego Marvel, and their often off-comic/film builds.

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    Hi Pranav and welcome to Bricks.SE! Your answer seems to be comprised entirely of personal opinion and speculation - could you per chance add any facts or information from official sources?
    – zovits
    Nov 23, 2022 at 10:27

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