Star Wars is Coming For Your Holidays Part Two: The Reckoning
Even I didn’t predict Summer Vacation programming a la Hallmark Channel.
Question: What happens when you have a corporation that runs a streaming service with an insatiable appetite for content?
We have things that no one saw coming but turned out for the best, like The Mandalorian. Things that people asked for but still complain about, like Obi-Wan Kenobi. Things that people didn’t ask for but then wanted, then changed their mind, like The Book of Boba Fett.
Then there is the LEGO Star Wars Specials, which fall in their own category nestled in a “didn’t ask for, but sure” space. I like to call them palette cleansers for the holidays. The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special was a nice palette cleanser if you have seen the original Star Wars Holiday Special. The Halloween Special was a nice nod to classic horror films with a Tales from the Crypt style storytelling.
But I am not sure what to make of LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation. Is it going to be a spoof on the National Lampoon Vacation films with the Griswald family and a constantly rotating Rusty? If you don’t know that reference, kindly get lost.
Whatever it will be (we find out August 5th), it’s the beginning of the end. Or the beginning of the beginning depending on how you look at it. I mentioned in my previous article Star Wars Is Coming For Your Holidays, I said we would see more holiday-specific merchandise and programming from Star Wars if certain initiatives were successful. In the past two years, not only have we had two other LEGO Holiday Specials, but a release and announced release of holiday action figures from Star Wars The Black Series line that are repaints of figures in Candy Cane Red and Grinch Green.
People laughed. Then people pre-ordered. And now we have these:
To each their own. Buy what brings you joy, even if it is a lazy repaint(and even though they still never made any of the other main characters beside Rey in Rise of Skywalker). They might as well make these characters canon or a part of a comic series.
Speaking of which, publishing is continuing its part to play in all of this with Tales from the Rancor Pit (which is actually a cool title) recently announced at the Lucasfilm Publishing panel at Comic Con International. The Halloween anthology follows in the footsteps of Tales from Vader’s Castle in which a Resistance crew get stranded on Mustafar and have to find their way out of Vader’s Castle. All while telling some dark tales across the Star Wars timeline.
The big difference will be the comics publisher as Lucasfilm is once again working with Dark Horse comics. The second biggest difference is that the main story will take place on Tatooine and will somehow involve rancors and/or a rancor pit. How are they going to sell this considering the recontextualization of the rancor in The Book of Boba Fett as misunderstood gentle giants?
An exert from the press release promises you will experience “clanking droid ghosts, explore the chilling wampa caves of Hoth and go monster hunting with Saber-For-Hire Ty Yorrick.”
Leaning into the creature-feature pulp of Star Wars is always fun and the aesthetic fits with Halloween.
But back to Summer Vacation. It is good to continue to see that these LEGO specials are bringing the Sequel Trilogy characters back for new adventures, even if they aren’t canon. I think the wait time for new stories post Sequel era will be shorter than the ten years between Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens, but it’s nice to have these characters in kid-focused content to keep them top-of-mind for the younger generation of fans.
It is an interesting indicator of how deep Disney is willing to dig into seasonal programming for a franchise. And the LEGO/Star Wars partnership has benefitted both companies (the LEGO Star Wars Skywalker Saga is officially LEGO’s biggest launch to date). So expanding that relationship into these holiday specials does make sense because there are really no risks. They are not canon stories and so are not subject to the kind of scrutiny that other canon material face. They also don’t have to worry about character integrity, which is the reason we no longer have…
In summary, I can’t wait for the LEGO Star Wars Valentine’s Day special, or any other holidays that Lucasfilm will make up that mirror real world holidays like Life Day (it’s not like Valentine’s Day is a real holiday either). Star Wars Day, aka May the 4th is a legit thing that people celebrate and buy merchandise for. What other franchise has that? So, if any franchise can keep capitalizing off of holidays, it’s Star Wars.