After suffering a ten-year downturn in the 1990s, the Lego Group went forward with the belief that a theme with a storyline behind it would appeal to audiences. Their initial attempt was the space opera franchise Star Wars, which became an instant success. However, the royalty payments to Lucasfilm marginalized Lego’s profits and prompted them to commission their own lines featuring original storylines. Their first attempts were the Slizer/Throwbots and RoboRiders themes released respectively in 1999 and 2000 under Lego’s Technic construction series. Although short lived, the lines proved popular and Lego decided to move forward with a new theme that would rely heavily on its backstory and run continuously for at least 20 years.