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'The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special' Packs a Festive Punch

The crew on the Millenium Falcon
Photo Permission: Disney+ 

Star War fans never grow tired of endless additions to the universe of intergalactic stories from a galaxy far, far away. Add some LEGO action to the mix and anyone who loves Star Wars, LEGO innovation, or holiday specials with happy endings is bound to find something that can meet a need in the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special.

After the First Order is destroyed and the Order of the Sith have been eliminated, it's Life Day (the Wookie-centric holiday long-time fans will recognize from the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special), and the crew of the Millennium Falcon is hard at work in anticipation of the arrival of Chewbacca's relatives. The group plans to host an inclusive celebration that everyone can enjoy. Poe is determined to prepare the tip-yip just right, and Rose is put in charge of decorations.  

Meanwhile, Rey feels frustrated that Finn doesn't seem to be picking up the way of the Jedi as quickly as her ego would desire. After a teaching session gone wrong, Rey gets a clue from one of the great books of the Jedi. She departs the Falcon -- assuring everyone she will be back in plenty of time -- to follow the path laid before her. Her search leads her to a powerful portkey that can open space and time and allow her to observe moments where the Jedi Masters of old trained their protégé. Rey believes that observing these moments will allow her to glean wisdom from her Jedi forebears.

Figures from different part of Star Wars meet
Photo Permission: Disney+

Rey, accompanied by a very patient BB-8, works to follow the lead of the portkey to find some tidbits she can absorb and take back to Finn. She encounters Luke and Yoda, Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin and Obi-Wan, and other beloved master-apprentice duos from Star Wars history. This survey allows Rey (and us) to experience a "greatest hits" of the Star Wars story universe -- revisiting some of fandom's favorite moments -- Luke gazing at binary suns, Luke balancing on one hand, Anakin and Obi-Wan in the elevator on the way to see Padme, and Luke firing the killshot to wreck the Death Star.

Each moment adds to the chaos and the bodies going through the portal. Cameo appearances by the Mandalorian, the Child, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Darth Vadar, Kylo Ren, and more add delight to the proceedings. Both the dead and living collide, sometimes at different stages of life. Inevitably, chaos is created and resolved, disaster is averted, and Rey learns some valuable lessons -- with results that are feel-good, humorous, and charming. Throughout Rey's search for Jedi wisdom, the action cuts back to the Falcon so we can see how Finn, Poe, Rose, the droids, and other figures who drop in for a visit are getting on. The cuts between the parallel storylines are well-timed and don't interrupt the flow of action.

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is directed by Ken Cunningham (director of LEGO Jurassic World) and written by David Shayne (LEGO Star Wars: All-Stars). Voice acting is provided by a handful of actors from the live-action movies -- Kelly Marie Tran, Billy Dee Williams, and Anthony Daniels -- combined with the recognizable voices from the animated films and video games of the Star Wars universe: Matt Lanter, Helen Sadler, Tom Kane, James Arnold Taylor, and Dee Bradley Baker. When required, actors are able to adopt the correct dialects and emotional effects to match their live-action counterparts. 

Photo Permission: Disney+

For the most part, the animation is to the level viewers have come to expect from LEGO movies. Only Master Yoda the elder stands out as looking out of place and remarkably un-LEGO-like, especially when compared with the other important characters from the show. 

Die-hard Star Wars fans will appreciate the Easter eggs packed into the short 44-minute episode, but even viewers only slightly aware of Star Wars lore will find much to appreciate. With witty writing, nods to time travel and multiverse theory, and amusing pop culture references (Luke keeps wiping blue milk moustaches off his lips), the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is sure to be a crowd favorite this year -- for anyone who has Disney+.

Release Info: Premieres November 17, 2020, streaming only on Disney+

Final Score: 4 out of 5. 

poster for LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special