Over the past two years, we have gone from a nice LEGO take on the Holiday Special in 2020 to a Halloween romp in LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales in 2021. This year it does not look like we will be getting a Halloween or Holiday special. Instead, LEGO has traded in the Life Day decor and chilling tales for the Halcyon.
LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation starts with the Sequel Trilogy crew arriving aboard the Halcyon. This Chandrila Star Line ship has miraculously survived multiple eras of Star Wars to grace us with its presence in the LEGO Star Wars world.
Finn has led everyone here with the hopes of enjoying some downtime before they all go their separate ways on specific missions. The team’s time together is cut short when each decides to do their own thing, leaving Finn to wallow in sorrow at the bar.
The missions the crew are meant to go on are briefly mentioned near the end but sound way more interesting than what we get here:
Rey: headed to the Unknown Regions to search for Jedi Temples
Poe: training new X-wing pilots
Rose: leading relief missions
Finn: searching for Force-sensitives
Where is that story?!? Alas, for now, we should focus on the story we do get.
A Christmas Carol in the Summer
While Finn is not Ebenezer Scrooge, he misses the big picture in this Christmas Carol-type plot. To help him see the bigger picture, Finn is visited by three Force ghosts. First is Obi-Wan Kenobi, who tells Finn the tale of when he had a brief moment of leisure on Tatooine between watching over Luke. James Arnold Taylor, who voices Kenobi in The Clone Wars, does so here, but imagine watching THAT version of Obi-Wan rap about Gamorrean guys and girls to distract Imperials? Scenes like this LEGO stories well as they can be more playful with beloved characters without pushback.
Yvette Nicole Brown returns to voice Colvett Valeria from the non-canon LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures. Valeria was officially brought into canon in 2019 with a mention in Star Wars Squadrons. Now she is in more of the canon grey zone that are the LEGO Star Wars specials.
Next is Anakin Skywalker, who emerges from the water of Scarif with scuba gear that makes him sound more like his future self. And his story is a memory from his time as Vader, which is sort of sad. It is also odd that he refers to Palpatine as “this guy who was the worst of the worst” when Finn would know who Palpatine is, having just helped defeat him in The Rise of Skywalker. But this is the grey zone of canon.
Anakin’s tale of doing what you love is Palpatine misbehaving. Still, it is an endearing way that makes LEGO Palpatine my favorite Palpatine. And I buy the story of Scarif becoming an Imperial base because someone tried to get the Emperor to take a vacation there. Instead, the Emperor sets up shop. It is also lovely to see Scarif has recovered from being partially nuked by the Death Star.
Finally, General Leia Organa appears to Finn back on the Halcyon to hit home that vacations are more than just having fun. They are a way to say goodbye. Her story revolves around her family, husband Han, and son Ben as they spend time together before dropping Ben off for his Jedi training. It is a great story for parents who have difficulty letting their kids grow up. But it would be less depressing if you didn’t know that all three characters are dead by the end of the Sequel Trilogy. Although, Force-ghost Leia does remind Finn that “no one is ever really gone.”
An Unwelcomed but Inevitable Cameo
Now let us discuss the home base for this story: The Halcyon. The Halcyon is the canon name for the premium Galactic Starcruiser Hotel at Galaxy’s Edge in Walt Disney World. Here the ship is the vacation spot for the Sequel Trilogy, where characters do activities similar to the hotel. Activities like playing sabacc, exploring the engineering room, and eating in the Crown of Corellia Dining Room.
Objectively, Galaxy’s Edge is the least kid-friendly section of the Disney Parks (in Disneyland in Anaheim and Hollywood Studios in Orlando). From the aesthetics to the merchandise and the food. The two rides, Smugglers Run and Rise of the Resistance, have longer than average weight times too long for smaller kids. The park FEELS more tween and up. Even the Galactic Starcruiser experience requires a level of engagement that small children are unlikely to maintain over two days.
And a stay at the hotel costs between 5,000 – 6,000 USD, which, outside of super Star Wars fans, might also be out of the age range of this LEGO special. So why is it such a big part of this special?
Something is unsettling about marketing such an expensive real-world experience to children. Disney has yet to find a way to avoid making it troublesome outside The High Republic children’s books.
One more thing: If Kelly Marie Tran, Billy Dee Williams, and Anthony Daniels are the only film cast members voicing their characters for these LEGO specials, they should get more of a featured role. Particularly Tran’s Rose as Rey, Poe, and Finn now have had stories centered around their characters.
I understand that LEGO specials are geared towards children even more than Lucasfilm likes to pretend Star Wars is. But the last two specials did have some intelligent commentary aligned with classic Star Wars themes. LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special saw Rey trying so hard to find answers from Jedi in the past that she didn’t realize she was enough to train Finn. Terrifying Tales had several cautionary tales around getting everything you want (or think you want).
Summer Vacation does have a message: It’s so hard to say goodbye. Well, more like enjoying the moment while you can and making memories that will carry on.
It is a nice simple message that could be in any content aimed at children. And that is not to say that Star Wars themes are not common themes found in other Sci-Fi/Fantasy content. But LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation is the most anti-climatic of the three specials.