LEGO Star Wars is back with another holiday-themed special, and it’s every bit as good as you would expect from LEGO Star Wars.
Following up on the success of the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special last year to celebrate Life Day (Christmas), this year the special was LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales to celebrate Halloween. It’s really well-done and entertaining, as it tells frightening stories that are betrayed by a humor and a heartwarming message for all viewers.
The special is set after The Rise of Skywalker and sees Poe Dameron and BB-8 forced to land on Mustafar after their X-Wing was damaged in a firefight with First Order remnants. On Mustafar they find that Graballa the Hutt is at work turning Darth Vader’s castle into a luxury hotel, and Graballa wants Poe to be a celebrity spokesman for it. But Vaneé, the attendant of Vader’s castle, wants to explore the Sith artifacts beneath the castle – but in order to do so needs an outsider who arrives according to the prophecy.
Vaneé and his droid NI-L8 lead Poe, BB-8, Graballa, his two henchmen, and a young boy named Dean (who works for Graballa but who longs to be a pilot) deeper and deeper into the castle, and as he does so he tells three frightening tales. Only at the end do the others realize that these tales are all about Vaneé’s quest for power, and he uses the others – and Dean in particular – to retrieve the Sith artifacts and a Sith holocron and rise to power. Summoning zombie battle droids, Vaneé prepares to conquer… but Poe grabs the holocron and he, along with BB-8 and Dean, make their escape before having to face off against the enemy.
In the process, they come to learn an important lesson about fear. Without question the main theme of the episode is fear, and Poe is lauded as a fearless pilot whom Dean looks up to. But as Dean begins to feel ashamed of his fear (and with a little prompting from BB-8), Poe finally admits that he too is afraid – and that it’s actually only when you’re afraid that you can be courageous. “I’m scared right now,” Poe admits to Dean. “You can’t control fear, but you can choose what to do with it. Because without fear, you can’t have courage.” And so, true to form for LEGO Star Wars, this is an instructive and heartwarming tale, and even though it’s all about fear and features frights and zombie droids, this heartwarming overture, a lightheared fun, and a humorous storytelling all keep it from going dark. Fear may be strong, but there’s something stronger still.
And the story that the episode told was pretty great too. The format of the episode reminded me a lot of The Simpsons annual Treehouse of Horror episodes; just like those specials, this one isn’t canon and was comprised of three different story segments. Here, those three segments were as follows:
“The Lost Boy” tells of how Ben Solo met the Knights of Ren and left his Master, Luke Skywalker, to join them. “The Dueling Monstrosities” is the story of Darth Maul and General Grievous both re-born and sent by Emperor Palpatine after a powerful Sith lightsaber. And then “The Wookiee’s Paw” is about a young Tatooine farmboy named Luke Skywalker discovering a magical Wookiee’s paw that grants his every wish – leading him up through the ranks of the Empire and becoming Darth Vader’s own apprentice.
“The Dueling Monstrosities” was fine, but it was the weakest of the three in my opinion. I did love how Poe thought Maul’s return was made-up, though, as it was a great moment of humor alluding to his shocking return in canon. LEGO Star Wars is at its best when it’s poking reverent fun at the saga, and this was maybe my favorite such moment in this special. I really loved the other two stories.
“The Lost Boy” was great, and even though it didn’t exactly stick with the true story of what happened, seeing Ben training with Luke, him teaming up with Ren, and him fighting the Knights while wielding Luke’s lightsaber were all fantastic. And I got a good chuckle out of one of Luke’s students trying to show off with the Force and instead dropping a rock on his own head.
“The Wookiee’s Paw,” however, was my favorite of these three stories. It’s basically a Star Wars “What If…?” story of Luke joining the Empire, and in so doing we re-live a number of moments but with a twist. Instead of Ben Kenobi instructing Luke in countering the training droid, it’s Darth Vader. Instead of Luke carrying Yoda around on his back on Dagobah, he carries Vader around on his back on the Death Star. Instead of swinging across the Death Star chasm with Leia, Luke swings across with Vader – who still gives him a kiss for good luck. And as the Rebellion attacks the Death Star, it’s Leia Organa leading the charge in her X-Wing (accompanied by R2-D2, of course) – with General Ben Kenobi flying as her wingmate. That was fantastic. But as Luke and Vader fly out to pursue Leia in the Trench Run, Luke’s arrogance gets the best of him, and he accidentally destroys the Death Star. So after the story Poe is insistent that is not what happened – to which Graballa says he thought Luke did destroy the Death Star. Another moment of well-placed and well-timed humor.
But the main story of the episode revolved around Poe, BB-8, and Dean unwittingly helping – and then ultimately defeating – Vaneé, confronting their fears. Poe invites Dean to join the Resistance as a pilot, and tells the young Force-sensitive boy that he should meet his friend Rey as well. They fly off together, while back on Mustafar NI-L8 (“annihilate” … get it?) survived his plunge into the lava – and it seems Vaneé did too.
This was a fantastic special, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I love LEGO Star Wars stuff like this and find it really fun, and that was true here. I hope a seasonal special like this becomes an annual tradition, because both of the ones we’ve gotten so far have been home runs. If you’re looking for a fun Star Wars story to watch for an hour, I highly recommend this.