Review: LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special

This review contains small spoilers for the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special

It’s been a really tough year all around. Not just for the obvious 2020 reasons, but also in the Star Wars fandom as well. There has been discussions of how BIPOC actors in the franchise are treated, fan harassment, and a castmate of one of the biggest shows on the planet spreading dangerous information and hateful rhetoric. Sometimes it’s been hard to really enjoy a galaxy far, far away. That’s why it is such a joy to get the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special as a reminder of what Star Wars is supposed to be about.

The plot focuses on Rey trying to train Finn, who is confirmed to be Force sensitive and a Jedi in training. Struggling with her own abilities as a teacher, she finds an item called The Key to take her through time to see the great Jedi teachers of past. But when Emperor Palpatine finds out about this item, he wishes to claim it for himself. Meanwhile, Poe, Rose, and Finn want to throw a proper Life Day party for Chewbacca’s family, which is a lovely shout out to the original holiday special.

 

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special really zones in on some of the most important topics in the Star Wars universe. It focuses on family and friends set in a greater universe. When I think about Star Wars, I think about the relationships I’ve made along the way. What started out as something my Mom shared with me, I’ve met so many people who I truly love since then. Star Wars was how I met my co-podcaster and that podcast eventually led to this website.

Yes, the stories and the characters are important. Ahsoka Tano will always be one of the most prominent figures in my life. But sharing experiences with my friends is whats stick with me. If I never get anything Star Wars ever again, I still have those people. We see this as the focus of Rey’s story both here and in the movies.

So much of Rey’s journey is wrapped up around her views of family. Despite whatever you feel about The Rise of Skywalker, it’s a vital part of her journey. The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special reminds us of that part of her story. Only this time, it’s a focus on her found family and how important that is.

It’s also always a joy to hear Trevor Devall’s Emperor Palpatine. Matt Sloan’s Darth Vader too! They were easily my favorite characters in The Freemaker Adventures. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sucker for villains. I also love poking fun at villains and the Empire. LEGO Star Wars has always been so good at this kind of satire. Emperor Palpatine is a selfish, petty man. Underneath the Vader’s armor, it’s himbo Anakin Skywalker feeling too many emotions. I love their LEGO counterparts so much.

It was also so great just to have Rose in the story, with the group, doing things, and participating. Honestly, that was such a low bar to clear in the first place when she was only in The Rise of Skywalker for 76 seconds.

 

If I had to pick any gripes about the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, I wish they had doubled down on the LEGO-ness of it. While it was very close to Freemaker Adventures in a lot of way, Freemaker openly acknowledged that it was a very LEGO show. We would see the group flying in space, open a window to go outside, fix something on the ship, and hop back in. A lot of the charm of the LEGO stories is they can bend that reality for story and comedy. I felt the holiday special could have really pushed that element more.

I also wish it was longer. It really could have been a full hour. Some of the best comedy bits had a ton of set up but no resolution. When Rey has pulled people from all over time and space into one place to face off, it’s set up to be this huge melee. In the end, we didn’t get to see it play out. There’s a few set pieces set up here and there that didn’t get satisfying conclusions.

I would have also loved to have seen some more love to the animation department. Bring in Cat Taber to voice Padme in a few scenes. Have Ahsoka and Rex thrown in there more (though it was fun to hear Dee Bradley Baker briefly voice a pair of clones). Maybe there’s a flash of the Ghost Crew, especially since Hera is in Freemaker so they already have LEGO animation models of her. As Rey and Vader are hopping through time and space, one stop could be the Colossus with Team Fireball in the background. With specials like these, they have the opportunity to really love the entire franchise, not just the movies.

There’s also a moment at the end where your mileage may vary. Depending on which characters you ship, it could leave a very sour taste in your mouth.

 

But I am simply nitpicking here. The holiday special is 45 minutes of joy and a heck of a good time.

At the end of the day, we’re talking about a franchise that is about good space wizards verses evil space wizards, they have friends with pew pew spaceships, and it can get very convoluted at times. Star Wars is a great franchise to lead to a slew of social and political commentary. It can be a vessel to discuss diversity, introduce fans to LGBTQIA+ topics, and more. But there are also times where it’s good to step back and have a laugh. It’s nice to not take things so seriously and poke fun at it.

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special makes sure we remember that.

Also if you enjoyed this, then go watch The Freemaker Adventures. It’s all the fun and zaniness of the holiday special but with two seasons worth of plot and character development. Give that delightful little show more love.

 

Before I end, please check out a fundraiser my friends are doing for the Transgender Law Center. Created by Maggie Lovitt of Your Money Geek along with Candace from The Geeky Waffle podcast and Eric from The Living Force Podcast, it was in response to the transphobic rhetoric being shared by one of The Mandalorian’s main castmates. Not only have they raised over $11,000 on a Go Fund Me account, there is also a Teepublic store with items created by Maggie, Candace, and Bryan from Pink Milk where proceeds go to the Transgender Law Center.

Their goal is to reach $15,000 before the end of season two of The Mandalorian. If you can, please consider donating to their Go Fund Me page or purchasing from the Teepublic store. If you can’t donate, please share the fundraiser with others who can.

Trans Rights are Human Rights. This is the Way.

 

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