'Lego Star Wars Holiday Special' Gets Action-Packed, Star-Studded Update

Q&A

Disney+ is ready to dig some skeletons out of the Star Wars closet — namely, an animated refresh of the notorious 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, which gets its own Lego update this holiday season.

In a galaxy far, far away (and after Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker in the Star Wars timeline), Rey is on a mission. Can the Jedi enhance her understanding of the Force by journeying to an old temple that appears during Life Day, an annual celebration of togetherness? This cheerful revamp, The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, is a chance to “enjoy the quirkier aspects of the franchise’s history,” explains James Waugh, exec producer and vice president, franchise content and strategy at Lucasfilm.

Many actors from the space saga’s greatest hits will lend their voices to the project as well, including Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian and Anthony Daniels as C-3PO. Star Wars: The Clone Wars vets Matt Lanter (Anakin Skywalker), Tom Kane (Yoda/Qui-Gon Jinn), James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), and Dee Bradley Baker (clone troopers) also return.

Below, Waugh explains why this special was worth a second look, and what exciting action viewers can expect to see.

The original 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special is known for being a bit odd, and it was never released after its one-time airing. Why was now the right time to give it new life?

I think it's important to say upfront that this is a wholly original special with its own story, humor, and adventure. That said, after years of the original holiday special being almost sacrilege in the halls of Lucasfilm, the truth is, it is part of the fabric of Star Wars' history, and for many people in the late seventies, it was an opportunity to get a little more of the characters they loved so much while waiting years between movies. Elements of it have become part of our fiction — Life Day in particular. The Boba Fett short, The Faithful Wookiee, was inspired by Mobeius's amazing artwork and brought the coolest bounty hunter in the galaxy to the franchise, and even inspired elements of The Mandalorian. It's wacky. It's silly. And it's certainly not canonical, but it has grown a fan following over the years.

How did the idea come about?

With the launch of Disney+ we had the opportunity to explore the next iteration of Lego Star Wars content for the service. We wanted to do something elevated. Lego Star Wars has 20 years of rich history and incredible memories made. Going forward, we knew that we had to do something bolder. This is where the idea of seasonal specials came from, putting our energies and focus into an annualized event that could get the whole family together. We loved that the advent calendars had fun with the brand and integrated holiday elements into the minifigs. We had to start with Life Day. We thought we needed to embrace the legacy and let our hair down a little.

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What should viewers expect for this LEGO-ized version of the Life Day story? Will we still get Itchy and Lumpy?

After the events of Episode IX, the Sith have been defeated, the First Order is destroyed, and it's time to party! Chewie has made his annual pilgrimage to his home world Kashyykk for his annual Life Day Celebration — this year the party is on the Millennium Falcon and Poe, Finn, and Rose are determined to make it the greatest Life Day celebration in history. As for Itchy and Lumpy, do you think we could have the greatest Life Day party in history without those lovable Wookiees?

What kind of action is on deck? This isn't just a tame holiday tale, right?

It wouldn't be Star Wars without adventure. In the original discussions around how to approach the show, we wanted to find a conceit that would allow the storytelling to reflect the way kids actually play with Legos. And that's not restricted by timelines, that's not separated into piles with the prequels' minifigs and bricks in one spot, and the new trilogy and original trilogy minifigs and bricks in another spot. Kids dump their legos out, and all eras, all Star Wars, are built together and played together. This "lego bucket dump" was our north star.

So in this special, Rey is thrust across the timeline to see some of the greatest moments in Star Wars history. Of course, things go awry and these moments very quickly crash into each other, and our Lego bucket dump will be achieved! Get ready for lightsaber battles, multiple Luke Skywalkers, multiple Darth Vaders, Darth Maul, Kylo Ren, the Emperor, Obi-Wan, Han, and many of the characters that make Star Wars so special. And maybe, in the midst of all of that, we may get our own rendition of a holiday song we all can hum in Huttese. So, tame it is not. Holiday fun, it most certainly is.

The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special Premieres Tuesday, November 17, Disney+