Day 18 of the 2023 Star Wars LEGO Advent Calendar features the 74-Z speeder bike, better known as the Imperial speeder bike.
But hold up—before we go claiming this is solely an Imperial speeder bike, it’s worth noting that these bikes were first built for the Grand Army of the Republic by Aratech Repulsor Company. They saw plenty of use throughout the Clone Wars. In one fateful scene, part of the Order 66 montage in Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith, Jedi Master Stass Allie was gunned down by a pair of clone troopers while the three rode Biker Advanced Recon Commando (BARC) speeders across the planet Saleucami—the BARC was the predecessor to the 74-Z.
We all likely best know these speeder bikes from Star Wars: Episode VI—Return of the Jedi, where they first appeared as part of the Battle of Endor. Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa famously stole a bike and chased a handful of Imperial Scout Troopers through the forest moon in one of the most iconic scenes in the whole saga. It’s so iconic, in fact, that you can build a much larger version of the scene with the 608-piece “Endor Speeder Chase Diorma” LEGO set.
Based on the previous days’ builds—the Endor Leia minifigure, an Ewok village, the deflector shield generator, the AT-ST—it’s clear we’re meant to put this new mini speeder bike at the service of the Empire in defense of the second Death Star.
But there’s another iconic scene worth mentioning that features these bikes: In the final episode of season one of The Mandalorian, two Scout Troopers of the Imperial Remnant—played by Jason Sudeikis and Adam Pally, no less—scoop up Grogu and await the order to turn him over to Moff Gideon. In the ensuing and hilarious back-and-forth, we see a little bit of Imperial bureaucracy, a delightful riff on Stormtroopers’ terrible aim, and Grogu’s ultimate rescue by IG-11.
And it all happens while our heroes and villains lean against a pair of 74-Z speeder bikes.