REVIEW – ‘LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special’ is a Joyful Trip Down ‘Star Wars’ Memory Lane

It’s hard to beat Star Wars and LEGO when it comes to joyful holiday memories for me. After enduring such an exhausting 2020, it’s really nice to be able to celebrate the holidays with a new Star Wars LEGO story. This new special, LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, is a light and enjoyable film with all the cuteness you’d expect from a collaboration between Star Wars and LEGO, and a clear and positive central message that we can all benefit from.

The title references the belovedly cringe-worthy original Star Wars Holiday Special from 1978, and as the title suggests, the story is amusingly self aware. While kids will undoubtedly enjoy the fun and clever story, those self aware nuggets should give adult Star Wars fans a few chuckles. Sometimes, Star Wars fans can take our favorite saga too seriously, and the benefit of having a LEGO story is that by its very nature, it’s silly to take it too seriously. Thus, as we approach the holiday season, the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is a great way to enjoy Star Wars with the whole family.

Additional details and my review of the special are below. The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special premieres on Disney+ on November 17th! Spoilers below!

LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special Key Art
LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special Key Art

Official Synopsis

“The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special” reunites Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, Rose and the droids for a joyous feast on Life Day, a holiday first introduced in the 1978 “Star Wars Holiday Special.” The new special from LEGO is the first to debut on Disney+ and continues the rich legacy of collaboration between Lucasfilm and LEGO—playful adventures told in the endearingly irreverent way that only LEGO Star Wars cobranded content can.

Directly following the events of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” Rey leaves her friends to prepare for Life Day as she sets off on a new adventure with BB-8 to gain a deeper knowledge of the Force. At a mysterious Jedi Temple, she is hurled into a cross-timeline adventure through beloved moments in Star Wars cinematic history, coming into contact with Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Yoda, Obi-Wan and other iconic heroes and villains from all nine Skywalker saga films. But will she make it back in time for the Life Day feast and learn the true meaning of holiday spirit?

The “LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special” premieres Tuesday, November 17, streaming only on Disney+.

THE GOOD

The central message of the story is that we all need personal connections. Thanks to Ob-Wan Kenobi, all Star Wars fans know that The Force binds the galaxy together and connects all living things. In this special, Yoda expands on that, saying, “In connection, strength we find. And happen, great things can.” That’s certainly an important message in general, but never more so than during a time when a global pandemic and national divisiveness have made it incredibly hard to feel connected to anybody. Of course, a Star Wars LEGO special can’t tell us how to make things better, but it’s a nice reminder that we all need each other.

As for the story itself, the most exciting part for me was that it starts by confirming a really important plot point that fans of John Boyega’s Finn have been clamoring for since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Finn has the Force! The point of the story is that Rey is trying to train Finn and having a tough time. All Star Wars content is canon now right? I sure hope this is (with some understandable leniency for LEGO style storytelling of course.).

Epic LEGO Battle
Epic LEGO Battle

As for the rest of the story, Rey is in search of how to be a good Jedi master, and finds a “key” that looks to be a bunch of Kyber crystals wrapped together, that allows her to open portals into various iconic scenes in the Star Wars saga. In Force Ghost of Life Day Past fashion, Rey visits several important moments from the Boonta Eve podrace in The Phantom Menace, to the Death Star trench run in A New Hope, and even runs through season 1 of The Mandalorian. Ultimately, there’s a fairly epic final duel that takes place in Emperor Palpatine’s throne room from Return of the Jedi. The story is an enjoyable trip down Star Wars memory lane, as almost every important scene in the saga is represented.

Finally, I really appreciated and enjoyed the moments of self awareness. Vader tells Palpatine that “Death Star II” is “kind of derivative,” a young Obi-Wan complains to Qui-Gon that nobody cares about trade disputes, and everyone tells half-naked Kylo to put on a shirt. A reminder that if the saga creators can laugh at themselves, fans should be able to as well.

Finn, Rey, Poe, Rose and Chewbacca Celebrating Life Day
Finn, Rey, Poe, Rose and Chewbacca Celebrating Life Day

THE BAD

It’s a fun Star Wars LEGO special so there’s no real “bad” here. Two small gripes – no Rogue One moments and I would have liked to see the whole crew of Finn, Poe and Rose involved more. They do play a role in the story, but they’re certainly not the focus. When will my sacrificial Rogue One crew get some love!?

THE POC-Y

They clearly made the effort to include diverse characters in the Life Day Party that Poe is organizing. In addition to Finn and Rose, Lando, Jannah and Zorii Bliss show up to Poe’s party as well (as do a family of Wookiees, all our droid friends, Max Rebo and some off-world Jawas). Rose also probably has more lines in this special than she did in all of Rise of Skywalker. Having said that, the story is very much about Rey, with heavy doses of Luke, Kylo, Vader and Palpatine.

RATING – 4.5 Pocky