It might not be actual canon, but it might be the beginning of a holiday tradition. Thoughts on Disney/Lego’s take on the Star Wars Holiday Special.
Quick Summary: Sometime after the events of The Rise of Skywalker on the planet Kashyyyk, Rey is training Finn with little results and doesn’t quite understand what she is doing wrong. Clinging to the Jedi texts, she discovers that there is a key “to the galaxy’s past” hidden in a Jedi temple on the planet Korduko that might help her with training Finn. She and BB-8 set off and find themselves in various events throughout Star Wars history observing Jedi Masters and Padawans until they catch the attention of Return of the Jedi Palpatine and Vader.
The Characters are Fairly True to the Live-Action Counterparts
Most of the main actors are not voiced by the original actors (Billy Dee Williams, Kelly Marie Tran, and Anthony Daniels are the only original cast members though they did get the Clone Wars voice actors for Obi-Wan and Anakin). But the actions and personalities are still true to their film (and TV versions). The decision to have the tale narrated by Yoda makes perfect sense, given that he learned how to transcend to the Cosmic Force and can move through time and space. This will likely go over kids and non-Star Wars super fans but it is a nice detail. As for Rey and Finn, Rey plays the “it’s not you, it’s me” line on Finn with his training and is stuck in her own world of insecurities and self-doubt while Finn is trying to maintain his confidence. Lando and Jannah show up together, at least hinting at a father/daughter relationship (though poor Jannah doesn’t even get one spoken word in). Poe is the life of Life Day and has the most to do outside of Palpatine as far as comedy. Jake Green does a great job channeling Oscar Isaacs charm from the films, especially against Helen Sadler’s wooden Rey (which is surprising because Sadler does a great job voicing Havina Vonreg in Star Wars Squadrons). Meanwhile, a shot of Lego Vader drawing his lightsaber manages to comes across just as intimidating as it does in any other medium.
Shorter Than I Expected But For The Best
I can’t tell you why, but when I first saw the trailer for this, I thought it was a movie special. To be fair, it was never advertised as a Holiday film but a Holiday special, which can be any length. The OT Holiday Special was 98 minutes and felt like two hours so I guess Lego and Lucasfilm took the lesson “less is more” and focus on a smaller story that could be told in less than one hour (which is probably better for the attention span of little children). Now that I have seen the Lego Special, it was all for the best as I could not imagine a 60+ minute version of this, though it would have been nice to see a few more Master/Apprentice combos like Kanaan and Ezra or Anakin and Asoka; but, understandably, they wanted to keep it to Jedi that have influenced Rey.
More Holiday Specials?
As with any piece of new content put out in the world from a massive conglomerate, this could be the first in a new tradition. Now that Life Day has completely been appropriated from the Wookies by the rest of the Star Wars universe, it appears to have an actual date in our world: November 17th. This is the same day that the original Holiday special aired in 1978 and it is the release date of the Lego Star Wars special this year. Obviously, there was no sequel to the OT Special but there could possibly be a sequel to this Lego Holiday Special. Not a sequel in a sense of continuing to focus on the Sequel trilogy characters one year and a Life Day later, but on another Jedi Master and Padawan in the Star Wars timeline (or even The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda). Production-wise, a 47-minute animated holiday special would be nothing for Lego/Lucasfilm to do every year and they could incorporate recent Star Wars content as easter eggs. It would just be more branded content to take some creative liberties with, have some fun and provide something for families to watch during the holidays. And having Life Day as official canon and being a holiday that seems to mirror Christmas, there is a gateway for merchandise opportunities. There should be a Lego set inside the Millennium Falcon with a spread of tip-yip and a Poe with a BB unit holiday sweater. They certainly have no shame in having Lego Vader name drop the location of Galaxy’s Edge:
“I had to hit every gift shop on Batuu to find you that.”
I see what you did there. But if they do make Star Wars Holiday Specials a permanent fixture around Life Day, then surely Lego sets will be made, purchased, and built. At the very least, it will inspire Lego fans to pull out their old Star Wars sets and create their own holiday special with their Lego minifigs.
BB-8 is Poe’s droid so it was odd to me that he went with Rey to Kordoku instead of R2-D2, who wasn’t given anything to do in the Sequel trilogy and is not really given anything to do here. Speaking of Kordoku…it’s a new planet. Again, the Lego Star Wars universe is not canon but Lucasfilm adapts things from non-canon all the time so maybe Kordoku will appear in canon soon.
Overall, the Lego Holiday Special was a nice, quick and engaging story that you don’t have to think too much about (even though I clearly did). George Lucas tried to erase the original Holiday Special from existence yet here we are more than 40 years later with Lego Star Wars revitalizing and, perhaps creating, a new holiday tradition. Even the OT Holiday Special has a cult following of people who watch it every year or “first-timers” on YouTube, proving that no matter how obscure, awkward, or just plain bad something is in Star Wars, there will always be people who love it simply because it’s Star Wars.