LEGO® Star Wars Summer Vacation premieres August 5 exclusively on Disney+.
Closing the trilogy of new LEGO Star Wars animated specials, LEGO® Star Wars Summer Vacation, which features Finn (Omar Miller) as the central character who is told three stories by the iconic Force Ghosts who impart some emotional wisdom about his friends, Poe (Jake Green), Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Rey (Helen Sadler). In keeping with that franchise, the summer-centric special leans into the ridiculous and the visually absurd while gently ribbing the canon of the universe, which is why these specials are so fun. But this episode also weaves an emotional charge with surprisingly poignant moments that Star Wars fans will appreciate.
The special’s wraparound story revolves around Finn convincing his fellow Rebellion heroes to take on some R&R after the events of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Building on this Disney corporate synergy, the gang books a trip on the Galactic Starcruiser: The Halcyon to celebrate their victory together. But almost immediately after a holo from Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) welcomes them aboard, they all scatter like marbles pursuing their own downtime pursuits, which unnerves Finn. Seeing the trip as an opportunity to spend some fleeting quality time with his best friends before they go their separate ways to pursue their new paths, Finn languishes at the bar. This is where Force Ghost Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) finds him and shares his own story of an unexpected trip to Jabba’s Palace, where he sang with the Max Rebo Band. Force Ghost Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) then appears to tell him about his trip to Darth Vader’s time in Scarif with Emperor Palpatine (Trevor Devall). And finally, Force Ghost General Leia Organa (Shelby Young) completes the stories by sharing her last family summer trip with Han (Ross Marquand) and young Ben Solo (Matthew Wood) before he leaves to be trained by Luke.
As with all LEGO specials, each story contains a cornucopia of Easter eggs and related references to the LEGO Verse and Star Wars mythology, such as Obi-Wan’s adventure boosted by Lt. Colvett Valeria (Yvette Nicole Brown) from The Freemaker. Adventures, or a line said in Anakin’s story about how the Imperials came to build a base at Scarif, which connects to A thug. There are plenty of weird originals to enjoy too, like “Weird Al” Yankovic voicing beach party singer Vic Vankoh, or comedian Paul F. Tompkins voicing Ben Solo’s teenage rival Rad encourages you to ride the Millennium Falcon. The madness of these original ideas mixed with the snark and satire of known characters from the universe remains on point and the charm of the series.
What also sets these specials apart are the animation ambitions of director Ken Cunningham and Atomic Cartoons. Summer vacation looks bright and vibrant, with the clever application of brick design and symmetry woven into familiar Star Wars starships and structures. But there’s also the comedic design of random additions like Darth Vader’s Jimmy Buffett-inspired hat or Obi-Wan’s loud Hawaiian shirt print. But the most visually ambitious sequence of the special is accompanied by beautifully cinematic recreations of key moments between Finn and his friends in the following three films. Meant to remind us of those seminal moments in the movies that forged their friendships, it works great to underscore the emotional high point of Finn’s story.
In fact, writer David Shayne could have just swayed for the funny fences in LEGO® Star Wars Summer Vacation and left it at that. There’s plenty to laugh about with awkward Obi-Wan and Vader and Palps bickering like an old married couple. But Shayne is looking for moments to touch the heart and give the themes and advice that the three ghosts give some emotional weight. It works especially better in the Organa/Solo story as we see the family in happier times before Snoke’s influence tears them apart. And yes, while these LEGO specials are entirely canon-adjacent, the way they incorporate some of Han Solo’s touchstone lines and reframe them into a father/son dynamic is really effective. And that extends to a near-epilogue between Leia and Ben that fans of these characters should appreciate.
The main story ends in a way that implies it could be an overarching capsule of the sequel-based specials. Given that the specials are the only place new stories have introduced the characters from the sequel, that would be a shame. The team behind this trilogy has used them well and it keeps the stable of characters alive in the universe. But if that’s right, LEGO® Star Wars Summer Vacation is an entertaining coda to the trilogy that honors all the eras of the universe and gives us at least one new Weird Al song to listen to during the scorching summer days. summer.