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LEGO Life on Mars Media Hub

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Because I've chosen this series as a hub to die on as my favorite LEGO theme, I'll kill time and document everything I know and have retained regarding the 2001 LEGO space theme where for once the aliens were friendly (set design-wise, at least)


Full credit/support to the lads behind the Biodium Vault, Aaron Lemay and Niall Fray. Ya did good work for people like me in the BZP days, thanks lads.


LEGO.com Content:

-The theme indulged in a fairly generous amount of story content online for a not-BIONICLE early 2000s LEGO theme. Through "raido logs" and weekly Flash games, a story involving the Solar Explorer crew's contact with the Martians and an insurgent group regarding use of the Biodium mineral that enables life on Mars unfolded and gave the series an interesting little narrative. As of now the games are lost of time, but nearly all of the logs (in text format, apparently audio dramatizations of some sort existed but were lost) have been recovered via Wayback Machine and are collected here.


Naturally recovery of the lost content would be nice, but I'm not getting my hopes up.


Magazine Promotion:

-A fair few comics and articles were published in the various magazines published around the world at the time. 2001 issues of LEGO Mania Magazine featured LoM comics (including one that acted as an epilogue to the web story and crossed-over with Alpha Team, Studios, and the Dinosaurs canister sets) and articles documenting various elements of the theme, including the Truck Tour, contests and IRL science, as did the UK publication, LEGO Adventures.  Translations of the Russian versions of the latter's comics can be found here, and the untranslated issues here. I haven't found enough scans of the UK ones, sadly.


The Truck Tour:

-Was one of a few themes lucky to get a traveling truck tour around the USA (maybe Europe?) during launch. Documentation is limited but photo galleries exist on Brickshelf:

Gallery 1   Gallery 2   Gallery 3   Gallery 4

 The brick-built models have since re-emerged and have ended up on public display in the Toy and Plastic Brick Museum operating unofficially from LEGO in Bellaire, Ohio.



-Most prominently, a short stage show was hosted in LEGOLAND parks based on the theme, featuring mascot costumes of martians Cassiopeia and Altair (photos of which surface in odds and ends around the net). A commemorative Duplo promo brick (common practice) exists in tribute to the show. A recording of the show has shown up online from one of Altair's actors. Enjoy the cringe.


LEGO Gaming:

-Most relevant to the site, I guess. :P Life on Mars features in LEGO Racers 2 and LEGO Football/Soccer. Most prominently, players can change their character from normal minifig to a Cassiopeia clone (and forced to use one of the prebuilt Martian cars instead of your own) while racing on Mars with a cheat code input in the main menu. Gallery of the cheat in action here (courtesy of our own PeabodySam).

Also, intro cinematic when getting to the Mars level. Very atmospheric.


IRL Science & Other stuff:

-Coolest bit IMO: In a massive, desperate promotional stunt collaboration with IRL space agencies, a selection of Life on Mars products were sent up to the International Space Station. Following the return home, 300 of the Martian minifigs included were framed and given away in ceremonies, contests and the like. Pretty rare and pretty cool, though documentation is sadly lacking.



-The theme had a shout-out in the LEGO: A Love Story, a memoir by journalist Johnathan Bender about entering the AFOL fandom, wherein journey was partially jumpstarted by finding the Aero Tube Hanger set in a yard sale, and encountering the display at the Toy and Plastic Brick Museum. Unfortunately for hyperfans like me, he mixes up the theme as being under the same name as 2007's Mars Mission, so that's annoying (and on top of THAT, he refers to the term Life on Mars as "the failed ABC drama", ignorant of the context of the original BBC show or David Bowie song! Sacrilegious! /tangent)


-And finally the commercial. Who doesn't love a commercial?


I'll update this with more information as it may be found, but hope this collected source is interesting for people. And hi, I finally came to this place, friends.

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This is really awesome stuff! I had no idea about the stage show, couldn't quite bring myself to watch through more than a few seconds of it haha.

Must be sweet to own one of those minifigs that's actually been to space 😮

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Thanks for this plethora of info about Life on Mars! As another fan, it's great to find out there is a proper archive for all this media!

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On 7/9/2020 at 1:34 PM, cassie said:

Thanks for this plethora of info about Life on Mars! As another fan, it's great to find out there is a proper archive for all this media!


You're quite welcome. And nice choice of favorite as well, Cassie's clearly one of mine too. Wouldn't be surprised if that's true for a lot of people (thankfully haven't seen much of the R34 way of favoritism, at least. shudder)


Updated the OP with more direct links to media and such, less of a burden to tell people "Google it" and all. One thing I'm not mentioning is a small thing Mars Mission's site had when it was live. While the theme in lore pretty much ignored LoM (though the Crystaliens were rather affirmed as not being native to the planet), the "blog"-like section seemed to include a post implying that the Martians were exterminated by the Crystaliens... however, I don't give it much weight as it was presented not as officially (the astronaut avatars the blog used was covered up in the face, which seemed to be part of a pattern where users were able to submit entries from the LEGO message board or something), so I don't put much weight into its validation even if it was "officially" on the site.


Though on a more positive note, talking to Christian Faber on Facebook revealed he did have a hand in Life on Mars' development, fun fact! Whether it was him directly or a branch of Advance Corp. isn't specified yet, but I'll have to keep an eye on that. Who knows what might be revealed out of it, maybe missing web content?


Also, found a notable bit of fan content: This LoM-labeled album on Bandcamp that I just happened to find via Googling. Very atmospheric too.

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