Spoilers for LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation below.
The Force is with Star Wars fans this summer with the release of LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation, a non-canonical animated special that clocks in at a slim 48 minutes. The one-off features a large cast of Star Wars characters new and old, all styled after LEGO mini-figures.
The special takes place post-Rise of Skywalker, where each member of the core four – Finn (Omar Benson Miller), Rey (Helen Sadler), Poe (Jake Green), and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) – plan to part ways to take on new responsibilities across the galaxy. Finn is distraught at the idea of saying goodbye and becomes adamant that they all stay together and enjoy their vacation as a group. When the other three take off without him, Finn retires in solitude to feel his feelings. He isn’t alone for long, however: three Force ghosts visit him to share memories about vacations they themselves have had, all to reveal important lessons for Finn to learn.
The first is Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor), who recounts the time he spent on Tatooine helping a new character, Colvett Valeria (Yvette Nicole Brown), steal some coaxium – a highly prized, highly priced substance – from Jabba the Hutt (Kevin Michael Richardson) during a party. In an attempt to distract attendants, including some snooping stormtroopers, Obi-Wan takes to the stage to perform a raucous rendition of “Gamorrean Girls,” a silly little song that gets the crowd riled up while Colvett snatches the coaxium. When Obi-Wan accidentally reveals Colvett’s stash, the two are forced to make a quick escape. Finn comments that this doesn’t quite sound like a vacation, considering ol’ Ben Kenobi was still doing business, but it’s clear from his musical number that he had a good time. And that’s what’s important on vacation, since Kenobi’s lesson for Finn is to “have fun in the moment.”
Later, while hanging out on a beach, Finn sees a figure clad in scuba gear emerge from the water. It’s the ghost of Anakin Skywalker (Matt Sloan) himself, come to tell a tale about the time he, as Darth Vader, hit the beach of Scarif with Darth Sidious (Trevor Devall). Palpatine’s characterization here is a lot of fun, and got the most laughs out of me during the special. The two of them take part in a competition to see who will become the “rulers” of the beach. Of course they win – but when they see other contestants receive “participation trophies,” Palpatine has a meltdown. This in turn sours things for Vader, displeased that Palpatine can’t just enjoy their vacation. Anakin’s lesson for Finn is to “find [his] bliss” and do what he loves.
Last but not least, Finn meets with the welcome figure of General Leia Organa (Shelby Young), who recounts a time when she, Han (Ross Marquand), and a young Ben Solo (Matthew Wood) went on vacation to Endor before Ben left for his Jedi training with Luke. Ben meets a girl he has an insta-crush on, and struggles with a bully who makes them all steal the Millennium Falcon. They take to the skies and Ben panics before realizing he’ll need to be his bravest self to get things under control and bring the kids safely to the ground. Leia’s lesson is to remind Finn that it’s okay to say goodbye to his friends, because “no one’s ever really gone.”
The fact that LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation is not canon offers so much room for asking “What if?” and putting beloved characters in funny, light-hearted situations. Anything goes! Seeing Ben Solo in particular have a good time in childhood was such a sad-yet-sweet anecdote and makes this mini-movie a must-watch for Kylo Ren fans. A lot of folks have shown understandable disappointment that the Star Wars sequel trilogy never really explored Finn as a main character, and I appreciate that this special centers him as protagonist. Obi-Wan even refers to him as a Jedi! Which he totally is, but we haven’t yet seen his live-action self step into that identity. Canon or not, it’s nice to see Finn recognized for the fantastic character he is and could be going forward.
Although Star Wars as a whole is directed at young audiences, LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation in particular feels geared for kids; adults might not find it as compelling as some of the live action fare. Not all the humor lands perfectly, and the special doesn’t always give kids as layered a depiction of the ghosts’ lessons as it maybe could. With that said, this is undeniably fun and helps expand our ideas about these characters.