How Special Was It?

It’s taken a long time to get where we’re at today – 42 years in fact – and today is the day that we can answer the question we’ve all been asking ourselves: was the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special any good?

The yardstick by which we measure this latest (canon-adjacent) addition to the Star Wars universe is a short one. The original Star Wars Holiday Special, having been broadcast only once (with the exception of Argentina) in the 11 known countries it was aired in, is the stuff of nightmares and though it has achieved a cult status, anyone who has watched it always comes away wondering “WTF?”!

Packed full of cringe-worthy acting, duff sets, terrible choreography, “special” effects, eardrum-splitting musical numbers, and make-up that would make a clown turn away, the Star Wars Holiday Special was so bad it was good. From a certain point of view – it did introduce Boba Fett after all. While we’ll never really know why Disney and LEGO decided to revisit it, we do know that there is no way the sequel could be worse.

The hype for a new Holiday Special began – long before the resurrected Holiday Special was announced – when Jon “Ultimate Fighting Champion” Favreau mentioned he was interested in making his own Star Wars Holiday Special. Little did we know that plans were already underway.

Set after The Rise of Skywalker, Rey is on a mission to discover more about the Force and finds herself on a cross-timeline/trilogy/saga adventure that has her meeting Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and other iconic heroes and villains from the Skywalker Saga movies. Will she make it back to Kashyyyk in time to take part in the Life Day festivities?

The special opens on Rey teaching Finn (unsuccessfully it should be noted) to feel the Force, using the Jedi texts that she retrieved from Ahch-To. Unsatisfied with her ability to train another Jedi, she draws upon her own connection with the Force and is shown the path to an ancient Jedi temple on Kordoku. Leaving her friends – Poe, Chewbacca, Rose and Finn – on Kashyyyk to organize the Life Day celebrations, Rey heads off to find the lost temple that promises to have the answer she seeks.

Within the temple, Rey discovers a hidden crystal that can open a Force gateway (which looks suspiciously like a LEGO Dimensions portal) through time. Without a hint of hesitation, Rey (and BB-8 who has come along for the ride) jumps in and is whisked off to Dagobah where she witnesses the best line of dialogue in the entire 47 minutes of the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special.

Inspired by Yoda’s lesson, Rey waves her magic crystal and leaps to Coruscant where Obi-Wan Kenobi is giving his padawan, Anakin Skywalker, a lesson in concentration and focus. With her presence proving to be no match for Obi-Wan’s awareness she makes another crystal-powered leap, only to land in the cockpit of Luke Skywalker’s X-wing as he races down the Death Star trench. Having now experienced the moment where Luke learns to let go she opens another portal.

Rather than appearing in a moment of Force-filled inspiration, Rey finds herself in the Emperor’s Throne Room on the second Death Star. Realising her danger, she makes a quick escape but fails to notice that Darth Vader has followed her through the Force gateway.

Back in the Jedi temple on Kordoku and cornered by Vader, Rey fights – and fails – to prevent Vader from taking hold of the crystal. Recognising its potential, Vader opens a portal of his own and finds himself – with himself – at the Battle of Hoth.

While the two Vaders are distracted, Rey grabs the crystal and opens up an escape portal which takes her and an alerted Vader to Mustafar. While Vader-as-Anakin and Obi-Wan conclude their own duel, Rey and Vader-as-Vader have their lightsaber battle over a molten river of lava. Before any permanent damage can be done to continuity another portal is opened that sucks Rey, both Vaders and Obi-Wan through a series of Star Wars locations that draws more hitchhikers into the vortex, before being debouched onto the sands of Tatooine.

Events turn from bad to worse when Vader finally gets hold of the crystal and returns to the Emperor on the second Death Star. Realizing the power it contains, Palpatine jumps forward to the Sequel Trilogy where he finds that the final three chapters in the Skywalker Saga have gone off the rails.

It’s at this point that the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special gets original and the canon-adjacent silliness takes a turn for the surreal, with guest stars, musical numbers, and a whole bunch of slapstick comedy.

If this sounds all too familiar then cast aside your preconceptions because, while there are certainly some similarities to the original Holiday Special – as there are between each of the three Star Wars trilogies – the content and message of this new Holiday Special is much more sincere and authentic.

Sure, it is juvenile, and the cynical might just see it as an extended commercial for LEGO Star Wars sets, but this special isn’t aimed at the typical reader of The Holo-Bricks Archive, and having had the privilege of watching the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special with a suitable member of the target audience I was allowed to enjoy the experience the way it was intended.

Worth watching it is.

Released today, the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is now – and exclusively – available on the Disney+ streaming platform for subscribers.

Entertainment Earth

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