Spoiler Alert: While I avoid most spoilers in this review, some minor plot details are included within this review. You have been warned.
The Star Wars Holiday Special has always been the butt end of Star Wars jokes for decades. The original Holiday Special came out in 1978, and it has mostly deserved the criticism because it is pretty rough. Admittedly I have only seen roughly twenty to thirty minutes of the original special, but that’s only because that’s all I can handle. It’s really bad.
I am happy to report that the new Lego Star Wars Holiday Special rights all of the wrongs of its predecessor, all while simultaneously including everything that makes Star Wars so fun and great. In its simplest form, this holiday special is a love letter to the history of Star Wars. It is like a crash course of Star Wars lore and history, all colorfully wrapped up with a lovely nostalgic bow on top.
This holiday special has the same premise as the original. It is Life Day in the Star Wars universe, which is essentially the equivalent of Thanksgiving and Christmas combined into one. It is all about celebrating with your loved ones, and, just like the original, Chewbacca’s family is coming into town for a visit.
Through the events of this special, it takes the viewer on this tour of the history of Star Wars. To avoid spoilers, I won’t go into specifics, but just know it travels across all eras of Star Wars. This special pays tribute to the Prequels, Originals, Sequels, and even The Mandalorian! If you are a newcomer to Star Wars, this special lays out the very basics of Star Wars and its stories. On the other side of things, if you have been a Star Wars fan since 1977, there are many Easter eggs and nods to various Star Wars properties to pick up on; it’s genuinely a fun and inclusive film that I think everyone can enjoy.
There is one aspect to this film that sticks out above the rest. At the start of the special, we are with the gang from the Sequel Trilogy: Rey, Poe, and Finn. It was an absolute joy to see this trio again. They have been a very important part of my life for the last five years or so, and I didn’t realize how much I missed them until the beginning of this special. The relationships between the three (especially between Rey and Finn) are some of the very best throughout Star Wars, and seeing them together once more was one of the best aspects of this entire year.
The dynamic between Rey and Finn was the highlight and the foundation of this film. In the beginning, we see that Rey is distraught because, in the midst of training Finn to be a Jedi, she feels like she is letting him down and not doing an adequate job as a teacher. This aspect was super relatable for me, and I would assume it was relatable for many others. As a teacher, there are many times that I feel like I may not be doing an adequate job teaching my own students. I could feel the frustration and disappointment from Rey’s perspective.
On the other side of that dynamic, we can feel the negative emotions that Finn feels in this training scene. He can feel how Rey is disappointed in herself, and in doing so, we see that Finn feels like he is letting his best friend down. He feels gutted that he can’t be the student he needs to be for Rey to feel successful. This dynamic is the core of the special, just as their friendship was one of the core themes of the entire Sequel Trilogy.
The Sequel Trilogy starts with the birth of their friendship, and it continues to blossom throughout each subsequent film. Their motives are based on one another a lot of the time. The entirety of Finn’s arc in The Last Jedi surrounds the idea that he needs to find Rey. His character motivations are driven by her and vice versa. It was so good to see that trend of the Sequel Trilogy continued in this special. I hope that LucasFilm can see that there are so many more stories that can be told with these characters, and just because their roles with the episodic films may be complete, their journeys can be continued in a multitude of ways.
The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special is everything I love about Star Wars. It balances humor and heart on such a spectacular level. I laughed many times, and I unexpectedly felt emotional in various moments. There’s just something about the nostalgic look at these iconic Star Wars moments mixed with the iconic scores that fills me up with all the emotions. I think what this film does best, though, is it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s weird and at times strange, but it knows that, and it rolls with it. I think Star Wars and the specials like these are at their best when they aren’t taking themselves too seriously, and they just try to have fun with the Star Wars stories. In the end, it’s a great time that should be enjoyed by all.
From everyone at the “What’s New on Jakku” and “Fanatic Media” teams, happy Life Day!