This review is spoiler-free.
In the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, Rey discovers an ancient “key” that sends her travelling through time and space, where she encounters legends of the past and brings together all Star Wars eras. The Disney+ original captures all of the trademark in-joke humour and action of LEGO Star Wars while giving fans the Star Wars mashup they’ve long dreamed about.
The story itself is pretty much a contained one and despite how crazy things get with the timeline, this isn’t canon, so this short is best viewed with that in mind. It’s LEGO, it is not meant to be serious! It’s a fun romp through the Star Wars Universe lampooning various characters and movies as it goes along. If you are expecting some ‘shade-throwing’ in the direction of the original Holiday Special, this isn’t the place for you. While you might spot some familiar faces, this is very much its own beast and does not spend any time trying to reach those audience members who have seen the original 70s production.
From the overall tone of the short, it is quite clearly aimed at a younger, family-oriented audience, but that does not mean that there aren’t a few deep cuts sprinkled in for those more mature Star Wars aficionados. There was one throwaway joke, in particular, that is VERY niche and caught me off guard, especially given how obscure the reference was.
In terms of the cast, it was largely made up of video game and animation voice-over artists, many of whom have previous Star Wars or LEGO projects to their names. Helen Sadler (Rey) gets top billing, as we mainly follow Rey on her adventures through time and space. Sadler does a great Daisy Ridley impression and a younger audience will not be able to tell the difference. Helen Sadler has had previous roles in Star Wars animation and video games including voicing Rey, Jyn Erso and Anri to name but a few. It was the kind of flawless performance I have come to expect from her, she is extremely good at what she does!
The only Saga cast members are Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and Anthony Daniels (C3PO). It was good to see Tran back as Rose. Why she would still want to have anything to do with a property with a fanbase as venomous as Star Wars is anyone’s guess! But as a big Tran/Rose fan I was delighted to see her back on our screens. We also get James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Matt Lanter (Anakin Skywalker) reprising their roles from The Clone Wars. I will never tire of James and Matt in these roles so it was great to have them involved. Speaking of The Clone Wars, the short also features, Dee Bradley Baker (Clone Trooper & Max Rebo) – who always makes any production instantly much better! Baker recently gave his vocal talents to the Frog Lady and Frog Man in The Mandalorian!
The animation style is very slick and is what you would expect from an animated LEGO production. There are some nice lightsaber choreography moments and a few visual gags that can only work as well as they do through the power of animation. It looks and sounds great and is definitely something that needs watching, at least for the first time, on your TV.
The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is a festive and fun, family-friendly romp through the Star Wars Universe, with plenty of jokes that will meet the approval of fans young and old. If you don’t take this short too seriously, you will have a very fun time with it. There is something for everyone in this production and after all, that is what Star Wars should be all about!
You can watch the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special now on Disney+