Happy Life Day, or in this case Star Wars Holiday Special Redemption Day! The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special makes its debut on Disney Plus tomorrow. We had a chance to review the 45-minute animated special which serves as a light, spirited, and fun adventure that provides us with updates on characters after The Rise of Skywalker while spanning the history of the entire saga. Put your canon-obsessed hat on the shelf for a bit and settle in for a much-needed fun adventure that will keep you smiling and leave you recapturing that feeling of being a kid around the holidays.
The special starts with our recent batch of heroes Rey, Finn, Poe, and Rose. The first thing to note is, do not expect to hear John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, or Oscar Isaac, as none of them voiced their characters for this special. However, as previously announced, Kelly Marie Tran did return to voice Rose Tico. We find out some pretty interesting, though in my opinion naturally-progressed, updates on some of our heroes, especially one in particular. Speaking of the voices, that is really my only minor issue with the special, as I felt the voices of Finn and Rey were considerably off the mark. But again, that is a very minor complaint, and I was over it after a few minutes. Why did I leave out Poe? Because the actor who voiced Poe Dameron absolutely nailed it. if you didn’t know better you might think Oscar Isaac had a change of heart and returned to play Poe again, it is that good.
The special moves fast. You’ll need to watch it at least twice to pick up on everything, unless you are the type that rewinds as you watch, which I admittedly had to do to take notes for this review. The speed of this special makes the pacing of The Rise of Skywalker feel like 2001: A Space Odyssey. The main plot of the special centers around Rey’s focus to become a better Jedi Master and more importantly Jedi teacher, which sends her on a journey through galactic time made possible by a special crystal key. Rey’s path takes her to very familiar moments throughout the entire saga including every prequel film. Yes, prequelists, you will be fed nicely in this one. The time-travel element leads to complexities and crossovers typical of time travel stories which allow famous characters to cross paths with themselves, and allow other characters to interact with people that would otherwise be impossible, like Rey and Darth Vader stopping mid-lightsaber duel to admire the cuteness of The Child. This is the way.
My favorite part about the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is its humor and how much the franchise pokes fun at itself. For a franchise that has become so embroiled in serious online discourse with a very possessive and passionate fan base, Star Wars serves us a much-needed levity-injecting reminder that at its core this is a very silly, campy, and fun fantastical story. No trilogy is safe, as all three are roasted in varying degrees. The special is superbly self-referential and very, very funny. There are jokes written for die-hard fans that are placed subtly enough that they won’t disrupt the casual viewer.
It is a delight to hear Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels reprising their roles some 40-plus years since they first put on their capes and gold covering, respectively. The mix of classic and new characters is a fun melting pot of Star Wars history and lore. Even though it’s a joyous holiday special, worry not dark side fans, Star Wars villains still found a way to make their mark. From the prequels to the sequels, Palpatine, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren (even the shirtless variety), and more, the Star Wars villains were the funniest part of the feature. It reminded me of a tamer Robot Chicken, especially Palpatine. Don’t make me say it. Okay i’ll say it. Yes, somehow Palpatine returned. Speaking of Palpatine, I have to ask the writers some questions, and while this isn’t really a spoiler, Palpatine refers to himself as Sheevy. Have I broken through? Is Sheevy Babes a thing? Just messing around. Anyway…
I am pleased to say I really enjoyed the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special. I was smiling and laughing the entire 45-minutes, which went by quickly. It showcases so many characters, scenes, and elements which collectively give it immense “rewatchability.” It’s something the whole family can watch together and share laughs while pointing out references, call backs, Easter eggs, and familiar faces. I am even going to see if it can capture my two year old son’s attention. Fingers crossed.
The bottom line is, this is a well put together program and you’re going to have fun. Star Wars Holiday Specials have officially been redeemed. Step aside Anakin Skywalker and Ben Solo, we might have just received the greatest redemption arc in franchise history. I’m kidding, but seriously it’s really good, and Yoda does one heck of a Burl Ives impression. Happy Life Day everyone!
The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special arrives tomorrow, November 17, on Disney Plus.
Oh and one more thing. It appears Max Rebo is a solo artist now…