What better way to celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special than a second attempt? That’s exactly what Disney, Star Wars, and Lego decided to do with the Lego Star Wars Holiday Special and unlike the first attempt, it’s actually good. In case you’ve forgotten just how bad the original holiday special was, it broadcasted only once and never officially released on home video. Perhaps the only good things to come from the original special are the introduction of Boba Fett, the acknowledgment of James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader, and all the ridiculous memes. But why did the second attempt succeed where the first failed?
If you’re not familiar with the world of Lego Star Wars, you’re missing out! The games, films, and miniseries fully lean into the ridiculous and can laugh at themselves while the rest of the Star Wars universe takes itself far too seriously. The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special brings together every element of the Skywalker Saga through continuity gags and inside jokes fans of the franchise will appreciate. The original special tried something new, and rather than being fun and innovative, it was bizarre and badly executed. Even Star Wars creator George Lucas famously once said at a fan convention that, “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every bootlegged copy of that program and smash it.”
Life Day, a Christmas-esque holiday celebrated in the Star Wars universe, takes front and center in both the Lego “sequel” and the original holiday special. Both iterations feature parallel stories, with a hero going on a quest while their friends disastrously try to get ready for Life Day at home. Where the sequel succeeds is in the satirization of the original, playing up everything that originally fell flat while following a completely new story. It also probably helps that Rey is front and center in Lego’s version, whereas there is too much emphasis on Chewie and the Wookies in the original. After all, only Han can really understand them.
Did we need a holiday version of Star Wars? No. Did we enjoy the newest iteration? That’s a resounding yes. Unlike the first, which felt like a weird cash grab in retrospect, the 2020 version is fun, and you’ll certainly find something new to laugh at each time. So go on, put the tip yip on the grill and settle in to watch the Lego Star Wars Holiday Special on Disney+.