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LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special Review: Taking a Break From All Your Worries - Disney+ Original

Poster for LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special
Sean Fang Tue, 17/11/2020 - 01:00


Summary: An interesting holiday distraction full of nostalgia and some funny scenes. This isn't the special you're looking for if you're after something more substantial and heartfelt, or as crazy as the original one. Recommended

I must admit that when I first heard that LEGO Star Wars was doing a holiday special, I had chills down my spine. I'm still not sure if those chills were because I was excited at a new instalment of LEGO Star Wars, especially one set *after* "The Rise of Skywalker", or whether it was out of fear of what it might be, given the history of Star Wars Holiday Special.

For those that don't know (and haven't bothered to check it out on YouTube yet), the original 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special was a case of the worst of the 1970s, in terms of variety shows, and the absolute worst of Star Wars tie-ins that popped up all over the place following the unexpected success of the first film. To simply label it as bad is doing it an injustice - it was not just kitschy, it was (even for the '70s), it was also confusing, weird and, in parts, disturbing. Which is why, of course, it's now a cult classic. Streambly had a chance to talk to the great Anthony Daniels, the man behind C-3PO, at a recent press event organised by Disney and he described the main cast (and robots) as akin to being in a lifeboat while shooting the special, where everyone was "nudging closer to each other" for support towards the end, as the ordeal was finally coming to a close. We, as viewers and Star Wars fans, felt the same.

Still from LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special

Luckily (or unluckily), the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is none of those things, and none of those things for the Star Wars alumni who took part, including Daniels, Kelly Marie Tran and Billy Dee Williams, who all provide voices for their iconic Star Wars characters in this new original for Disney+. For one, it actually has a story that makes sense, and while call-backs to the original special was aplenty (is Life Day now canon? And Itchy, Malla, and Lumpy make an appearance too), the new special is more interested in telling a typical holidays story, but one set in the Star Wars universe and spanning all the films (and one particular current TV series). And that's good because, given all that's happened in 2020 so far, I'm not sure the world is ready for another Star Wars Holiday Special in the mould of the 1978 one.

There are plenty of laughs, plenty of references that only a Jedi Master level Star Wars geek will get, and surprisingly, it answers one of the major questions left unanswered in "Rise of Skywalker", in relation to Rey and Finn's new relationship (calm down).

But perhaps most importantly, this is a story that the Star Wars Universe, following the defeat of the First Order, needs. A simple, light and happy story. And it's what we need as 2020 comes to an end and the whole world seems to be in a lifeboat of sorts (socially distanced, of course). I'll leave you with the words of Anthony Daniels when we asked what he enjoyed about this story in particular:

Well, it's interesting that the original film was called A New Hope and these days, we need these days we need to feel there is hope and there is lightness, and fun, and joy in life. And without realizing it I think the producers of this film, this Lego special, have hit the right moment to bring this out because we need, this year, right now in the holiday season, to be reminded that there are good things in life, there are good things to celebrate.

And that's probably a good note to end this review on. And a good note to end 2020 on, as well.

You can stream the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special on Disney+ on 17 November 2020. Subscribe to Disney+ for only $8.99 per month, or $89.99 per year (16% off).

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