Disney+'s Star Wars Holiday Special to have Rey fight Vader, meet young Kylo

James Hibberd
·3 min read

Lucasfilm Ltd.

Disney+'s Lego Star Wars Holiday Special is planning some timeline busting character mashups.

Like three different era Obi-Wan Kenobis (hello there!).

Two Han Solos (one old and cranky, one young and just slightly less cranky).

And Rey meeting pivotal characters from across the Star Wars saga, including a young Luke and a young Kylo Ren – and also fighting Darth Vader.

"The Holiday Special has something you will never see in Star Wars otherwise which is all the characters from across all timelines crashing together," executive producer James Waugh tells EW. "Normally story groups are so concerned about maintaining this amazing galaxy so that it feels cohesive, it was liberating to do this in a way that's charming and fun."

The animated Holiday Special directly follows the events in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and features the Resistance heroes preparing to celebrate Life Day on Kashyyyk and Rey journeying to a mysterious Jedi Temple where she is hurled into a cross-timeline adventure through beloved moments in Star Wars cinematic history.

The character combos were partly inspired by the project's producers watching how kids played with Star Wars Lego toys. "We started realizing that the way they play with them isn't with canonical separation, it's not, 'Let's put all the classic trilogy sets here, the prequel sets here, new sequel sets here,'" Waugh says. "My son literally just dumps his bucket out. We realized that was a play pattern that could actually inform the fun of this show."

The project also represents a redemptive sequel of sorts to the most infamous Star Wars title of all time, the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, which aired once and never again and featured Star Wars actors intermixed with kitschy variety show talent like Art Carney and Harvey Korman. Saga creator George Lucas has famously disowned the special and has done his best to keep it under lock and key ("If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it," he was famously quoted as saying).

"This is not like a Lego Star Wars remake of the Holiday Special in any way ... but what it does is lean into the conceits that were created in that holiday special," Waugh says. "We have Life Day as a fictional thread because of the Holiday Special. You've seen that [referenced] in The Mandalorian, we've used it in publishing and fans have embraced it – last year fans celebrated Life Day at Galaxy's Edge in the park. So it's really those elements and going to Kashyyyk for family celebrations with the Wookies, but we're not doing Lego Bea Arthur singing in a cantina."

Lucas sold the Star Wars franchise to Disney in 2012 and Waugh has "no idea" if the saga creator has heard about, or had any reaction to, the new special. But Waugh's goal is to create a show that ends up feeling timeless vs. the original, which was partly defined by being so specifically tied to 1978 TV culture.

"We really wanted to do was create a piece of entertainment that could be watched every year," Waugh says. "In this age of nonstop new content, something that you can actually just go back to over and over every year is rare. What excites me is that I think we achieved that and the story has heart to it."

The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special streams Nov. 17 on Disney+.

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