Sir Kohran wrote:What if 2009 is an "off year" for Castle, so they can focus on Pirates or whatever, and then they'll introduce Elves and whatever in 2010? Has Lego ever done anything like that before?
Yes. Look at 1991 - apart from one tiny 'Variety Pack' set, there were no new Castle sets released that year.
I kind of doubt it given the new Queen minifig. I just don't see that type of minifig being put in a bargain set. I can definitely understand why they may have chosen to forego the elves theme for a year though. With the current Castle line, LEGO has walked a tight line balancing fantasy with more conventional medieval fare. Moving too far in either direction could put off purchasers who lean heavily in either direction.
I know that a number of buyers really want elves, however there is another group of fans who want their knights, peasants and soldiers. 2008 focused heavily on the fantasy side of things with trolls, orcs and dwarves, whereas 2007 had closer ties to conventional castle (at least on the crownie side). My guess is that LEGO wants to satisfy both camps.