Is Lego Star Wars canon? Let’s get that out of the way.
No. Does it matter? No.
“Is it canon” is the constant question fans ask anytime a news Star Wars series comes out.
Lego Star Wars’s newest animated holiday special takes that eternal canonicity question and makes an entire playful story around the very concept.
Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales | The Frame Story
Our newest Lego Star Wars cartoon is intended for Halloween, much like last year’s Lego Star Wars Holiday Special was for the Christmas season.
It also is set after The Rise of Skywalker, once again making it the only Star Wars property to explore the sequel trilogy after the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga. They are not considered canon.
However, these two animated specials both provide pathways for future canon content to explore the lives of the sequel trilogy characters and events.
This particular story follows X-wing pilot Poe Dameron and BB-8 on an unexpected landing to Mustafar. Here, Graballa the Hutt is renovating Darth Vader’s castle as a theme park/casino/fun time experience.
Interestingly, Poe must crash land on Mustafar after being struck by First Order tie fighters. Again, it’s not canon, but it does provide a direction for future stories if remnants of the First Order are still out there.
Seeing the enterprising cousin of Jabba the Hutt again is a delight. He’s been a featured character of previous Lego Star Wars series, such as the Freemakers. He also provides a reason why Vader’s castle is now intact.
Canonically, it has not been explained, but sometime after Return of the Jedi, Vader’s castle falls, and the forests of Mustafar begin to return. We see these forests in Rise of Skywalker.
We are introduced to a new character, a boy named Dean, who is a mechanic from the rainy planet Arkanis. He is working his lowly job for Graballa the Hutt, to help his parents.
Graballa is desperate to get a spokesman for his new business venture, and Poe has made a name for himself as one of the galaxy’s best pirates. He promises Poe that his X-wing will be repaired by Dean, if Poe can make a holovid as advertisement.
Poe is less than impressed with the place. However, they are all accosted by Vaneé , the old servant of Darth Vader, introduced in the film Rogue One.
Vaneé has since been featured in comics, and makes his first cartoon debut here. Graballa explains that Vaneé “came with the place” and advises Poe to dismiss him, but the creepy Vaneé insists on telling Poe three yarns of the Dark Side.
These three tales make up the bulk of the Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales. All of them re-interpret canon events (through comics, animation, and film) through Vaneé’s filter.
And this is what makes the special fun–all of the events are spins and what-ifs of things we’ve read and seen, but through which Poe, Dean, and Graballa have limited information, but which we the audience know in full. They are intentionally non-canon stories in the in-universe story that Poe and Dean themselves are in, in a show that is itself non-canon to us.
And all the tales are riffs and parodies of horror films in our world, making it a perfect fun fit for Halloween.
The Lost Boy
The first tale is the most interesting and features Ben Solo. It’s the first time that Ren, the original leader of the Knights of Ren, has appeared in animated form. They were introduced in Charles Soule and Will Sliney’s excellent canon comic series, The Rise of Kylo Ren.
However, fans of that series will notice that the story of Ben’s introduction to the Knights of Ren doesn’t really happen as it does in the comics. Nor does it work with the films, either, as the Knights themselves destroy the temple, and Luke sees it. But that’s the entire point.
This loose re-interpretation allows it to be told as a funny parody of the 1987 film The Lost Boys. We get the Knights of Ren hanging from a bridge, dancing on a beach, and a shirtless “saxophone guy”, the same as we do in the film.
And it’s hilarious! There is even 80s synth music and a bit where Ren appears through the ceiling as Freddy Krueger in the first Nightmare on Elm Street.
When I had first read The Knights of Ren, I had automatically thought of Ren as being similar to David of the Lost Boys, and I’m happy to see the creators of this special thought the same. While Kiefer Sutherland does not voice Ren, another 80s icon does–Christian Slater.
While being a different story, it stays mostly true to Ben Solo’s character. He wants to explore different aspects of the Force, and the Knights of Ren’s seeming independence to rules appeals to him.
However, Ben doesn’t truly wish to hurt people or the temple, which is how his character is portrayed in the comics. The only difference in terms of character is Ben is described ultimately as wanting power.
For those who read the comics, we know that Ben, unlike his grandfather Anakin, didn’t join the Dark side for power. He simply felt he had no choice but to join the Dark side because he falsely believes his family has rejected him, and the Light is an option cut off to him.
The Lego Star Wars story isn’t long enough for such nuance, but more importantly, it’s storyteller, Vaneé , has his own agenda in framing Ben’s story as a grasp for power. Poe Dameron does not realize this.
There is an intriguing line after this story segment. Vaneé says that his tale describes Kylo Ren’s first step on the path to power, to which Poe replies, “And how did that work out for him?” I can’t help but wonder what exactly Poe knows about Kylo and Ben.
Yes, this story is not canon. But I still wonder what Rey must have told the others about Kylo Ren and Ben Solo.
The Dueling Monstrosities
Vaneé’s next story is reminiscent of stop-motion science fiction films in which big monsters battle it out, such as the 1925 Lost World, and later films such as Frankenstein vs The Wolfman.
The entire point is to see a story in which one monster battles another for supremacy. This tale pits two prequel era “monsters”, Darth Maul and General Grievous against each other.
Both characters have to comically deal with a new limbs, and Grievous’s constant cough. Darth Sidious is only delighted (and amused) to have both of them try to find a fabled Sith Lightsaber. Ultimately Maul wins, but Sidious drops him with the Force from a window.
The action sequences are fascinating, and some elements of the story truly look like traditional stop-motion animation rather than the usual CGI. I’m not sure if that’s the case, but I appreciate the dedication to the aesthetic.
The most amusing line is when Poe asks Vaneé , if anyone will seriously believe that a man gets cut in half and put back together by witches. We the audience knows this is one of the few parts of the tale that actually happened, even if slightly different in Vaneé’s story. We see with each story that Poe grows a bit more skeptical of the storyteller, but he fails to see that Vaneé has his own agenda at work.
Vaneé believes in a prophecy of a pilot that will open a door in the castle to Sith treasures. Ren’s mask, the lightsaber, and the holocron of the final tale must be held or used by the pilot to give Vaneé access to power.
The Wookies’s Paw
This story is named for the “Monkey’s Paw”, a classic horror short story by W.W. Jacobs. It has been adapted into film as well. The final tale of Vaneé is introduced with the font and a line from Rod Serling’s famous TV series, The Twilight Zone.
It is the funniest tale of Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales. It is also a fun what-if story. A young Luke Skywalker is given a Wookie’s Paw to make wishes for whatever he desires. He wishes to leave Tatooine, and he does by becoming a Stormtrooper.
He is too short to be effective at that, so he wishes to be a pilot. He becomes a pilot with the barest of narrative pretexts. He wishes to be distinguished. That final wish attracts the attention of his father, Vader.
Of course, Vader has no idea that Luke is his son, despite the same last name as himself. He trains Luke in the ways of the Force. In the meantime, Obi-wan Kenobi finds Leia and trains her in the Force.
Luke ends up having Vader on his back like Yoda, and gets a smooch on the cheek from him as well. It’s a funny like-daughter, like-father moment. Ultimately, Luke destroys the Death Star anyways.
The Conclusion of Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales
It’s this final tale that finally presses Poe’s impatience. Poe may not have met Maul or Grievous. He may have only minimal knowledge of Ben Solo. But his family knew Luke and Leia very well, and he absolutely knows this story is false.
As it turns out, all of these stories are about Vaneé’s wishes for power. Vaneé realizes that Dean is the pilot who will enable him to gain power. Vaneé uses these Sith artefacts to become a Sith Mecha of Terror. He enables all the battle droids to rise like zombies to attack Poe and the rest. Dean is frightened, but Poe teaches him that through fear, one finds courage.
Through a chase scene, and Dean’s new use of the Force, and quick fixing skills, Vaneé is defeated. The former Vader devotee falls in lava and our heroes escape.
I loved both of the Lego Star Wars specials so far, but this one was by far the most humorous. We finally got to see Ben Solo and Ren animated. We also got to see Leia as an X-wing pilot briefly.
I hope we will continue to get more Lego Star Wars specials. Maybe one for next Valentine’s Day?