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The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special Review

After the defeat of the Final Order, the Millennium Falcon crew is celebrating Wookiee Life Day on Kashyyyk. Hoping to become a better Jedi master to her apprentice Finn (Omar Miller), Rey (Helen Sadler) blasts off to a Jedi Temple to unlock a secret only revealed on the Wookiee holiday – one which sends her hopping through the Skywalker Saga timeline.
It’s no secret that the original 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special is a less-than-beloved piece of Star-lore. Just weeks ago, Mark Hamill once again invoked its dismal legacy, tweeting that one of Donald Trump’s election debates was “the worst thing I’ve ever seen, and I was in the Star Wars Holiday Special.” Long lost to the winds of time (and bootleg VHS copies), even Disney has opted not to make it available on Disney+. Instead, the streaming service presents a new take on the hallowed Wookiee holiday of ‘Life Day’, a short and sweet animation reflecting on the recently concluded Skywalker Saga with typically irreverent LEGO LOLs.

The plot, such as there is one, finds Rey (Helen Sadler, doing a very convincing Daisy Ridley impersonation) jetting off to an ancient Jedi Temple to learn how to more effectively guide Finn (Omar Miller, doing a far-less-convincing John Boyega) in his Jedi training, while Poe Dameron (Jake Green) attempts to put on a Life Day feast impressive enough to sate the appetite of Chewbacca and his furry family. If the set-up hints at a welcome continuation of one of The Rises Of Skywalker’s most under-developed plot threads (that Finn is actually Force-sensitive, with his own Jedi potential), any sense of establishing fresh canon is quickly dropped — really, it’s all an excuse to kick off a laugh-packed adventure with Rey time-travelling through key moments of the Prequel and Original Trilogies.

Once it goes into hyperdrive, the Holiday Special 2.0 is a silly blast. Ever wanted to see three generations of Obi-Wan Kenobi saying, “Hello there!” in unison? Or hear festive carols sung in Huttese? Or watch Return Of The Jedi-era Luke Skywalker face off against Kylo Ren? The LEGO Holiday Special provides all that and more as it hops from Hoth to Mustafar, to Exegol, via the Tatooine Podrace and a brief diversion into The Mandalorian territory (complete with LEGO Baby Yoda cameo).

Like the best LEGO screen projects, it loves and lampoons in equal measure, clearly relishing the chance to shuffle the three different eras of the film series into each other, with obvious affection for each trilogy. While it’s a delight to hear Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels and Kelly Marie Tran reprise the roles of Lando Calrissian, C-3PO and Rose Tico, it’s Trevor Devall’s Palpatine who gets the biggest laughs — here the Emperor is petulant and wisecracking, furious to learn of his future betrayals, and with a new catchphrase to complement his Force-lightning powers: “Zippidy-zappedy-zap!”

If, like most alternate-timeline adventures, the plot is ultimately inconsequential, the 44-minute adventure isn’t aiming for anything different. True to its name, it’s a holiday special: a fun, family-friendly comedy packed to the Mon Calamarian gills with in-jokes from a galaxy far, far away, and a sprinkling of festive flavour. On those terms, it’s as delectable and digestible as one of Frog Lady’s precious eggs. Finally, here’s a Holiday Special that Star Wars fans will enjoy on a level that isn’t purely ironic.

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