In the wake of last year LEGO Star Wars Vacation Special, the same creative team is back with LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales. While there isn’t a canon Star Wars holiday like Halloween, this all-new animated special does it by taking a look at everything that represents the dark side of the Force. Located after the events of L’ascension de Skywalker, this story finds Poe Dameron (Jake Green) and BB-8 clearing the galaxy of First Order laggards, when they take a hit and crash into Darth Vader’s former playground, Mustafar.
Seeking to repair their ship, the heroes discover that Vader’s Castle is being transformed into a luxury getaway by Graballa the Hutt (Dana Snyder). Offering his mechanic, Dean (Raphael Alejandro), to repair Dameron’s X-wing in exchange for approval for his complex, Graballa and the gang soon discover inside the seemingly abandoned structure still residing the former servant. by Vader, Vaneé (Tony Hale). Visitors inspire Vaneé to share three uplifting tales of Dark Force users, one for each Star Wars trilogy.
Taking full advantage of Hale’s fabulous vocal talents, Vaneé is the perfect smooth and unreliable narrator (with a precise cackle) as he leads the group deeper into the castle with his captivating tales. The first is “The Lost Boy,” which is an expanded origin story of how Ben Solo came to be Kylo Ren. It borrows from the excellent comic book series The Fall of Kylo Ren, and mixes it up with a hilarious parody of The Lost Boys to introduce Ren (Christian Slater), the leader of the Knights of Ren. Slater essentially pokes fun at Kiefer Sutherland’s villainous vampire David Powers here as Ren courts Ben on the dark side in the wake of the entire Jedi Temple debacle. The story functions both as an effective fall from grace as well as an on-site movie parody, including a saxophone solo.
For fans of the prequels, there’s “The Dueling Monstrosities,” which recreated Darth Maul (Sam Witwer) and General Grievous so they can search for Scardont’s Saber for Darth Sidious. The jokes about their rebirths are great, but director Ken Cunningham also takes the opportunity to block and choreograph one hell of awe-inspiring battle between the two villains.
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And the last tale, “The Wookie’s Paw,” plays out like a “What if…? Ascending the Dark Side’s power ladder via wishes made on the paw of a Watto Wookie, Luke chooses to work with Vader and Palpatine, which leads to a similar but very different race of the Death Star. in A New Hope.
The special set ingeniously exploits the dark corners of mythology for some very fun character pairings and clever twists on the familiar. There are plenty of reminders and Easter eggs woven throughout the special, which also rewards longtime fans. And maybe because of this special’s darker tone, the signature LEGO humor is especially witty and has more bite, which helps keep the mood scary and surprising.
But there is still a lot of hope, especially embodied by the new character of Dean. He’s a young hero who tries to do well with his family even though he’s stuck working for a Hutt. As Dean bonds with Poe, there is great wisdom in overcoming fear to find courage in case your little ones aren’t plagued by seasonal scares yet. Plus, there are plenty of great action sequences giving heroes like BB-8 and Leia a chance to show equal appeal on the light side. All of this is maintained with beautiful animation that uses the dark side color palette to great effect. This is by far the most beautiful LEGO Star Wars animation ever produced by the series.