“Less ‘talky-talky’ more ‘fighty-fighty’!”
Getting Rey home for Life Day isn’t gonna be easy.
In 1978 the world was introduced to Life Day when the Star Wars Holiday Special aired on Television. The one-off special that clearly had good intentions ended up being one of the more infamous chapters in Star Wars history; ridiculed by critics and fans alike to the point that George Lucas tried to literally erase it from history. Now, forty two years later, the Lego Group presents their own version that’s a lot less Wookiee and a lot more meta.
Lego is known for injecting pop culture phenomenons with satirical hilarity that’s clever but innocent enough for younger audiences to enjoy, and it does this no better than it does with Star Wars. The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special opens with Rey, Finn, Poe, Rose and Chewbacca preparing for Life Day celebrations, but when Rey (Helen Sadler) doesn’t feel she can properly train Finn (Omar Miller) in the ways of the Jedi, she ends up on a path that sees her bouncing between present, past and future in a time-travel extravaganza that connects the entire Star Wars universe together by featuring characters, locations and memorable moments from The Phantom Menace to The Rise of Skywalker with even a cameo from The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda. Whilst there isn’t much of a new narrative, mixing characters and stories generations apart and getting away with it without having an Endgame-level setup is the Holiday Special’s biggest selling point.
For younger audiences there’s plenty of action and slapstick silliness to hold their attention and engagement, for older fans such as myself it’s the small details that make this an endearing little piece of both Star Wars and Lego history. Obi-Wan being bored by trade negotiations, Anakin sassing his master on Mustafar, Vader meeting himself on Hoth and a star-struck Kylo Ren are some of the little moments of creative whimsy that remind me why I love the franchise so much and why it’s important to be able to poke fun at that which is silly or doesn’t work. There is plenty of toxicity within the Star Wars fandom, most people can find something to complain about, and the Holiday Special is essentially something to unite fans as it does storylines, with plenty for every kind of fan to love.
“My son! I mean…my! These Binary…suns…”
Although the cast is an odd mix of returning talent (Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Kelly Marie Tran) and voice work veterans (Dee Bradley Baker, James Arnold Taylor, Matt Lanter) every character feels properly realised and are products of the right mix of canonical accuracy and comedic parody. Not overly Christmas-sy, the Holiday Special does just enough to get you excited for holidays but above all is a loving tribute to everything that Star Wars has given us since 1977, the good, the bad, and the Wookiee.
The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special is now available to stream on Disney+
Animation, Sci-fi, Comedy | USA, 2020 | PG | Short | 44 minutes | Disney+ | Dir.Ken Cunningham | A.J. LoCascio, Anthony Daniels, Ben Prendergast, Billy Dee Williams, Helen Sadler, Kelly Marie Tran, Eric Bauza