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LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales Review

LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales is now streaming on Disney+.

Following on the heels of last year’s LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, the same creative team is back with LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales. While there is no commensurate canon Star Wars holiday like Halloween, this brand-new animated special gets away with it by leaning into all things representing the dark side of the Force. Set after the events of The Rise of Skywalker, this story finds Poe Dameron (Jake Green) and BB-8 clearing the galaxy of First Order stragglers, when they take a hit and crash land on Darth Vader’s old stomping ground, Mustafar.

Looking to repair their ship, the heroes discover that Vader’s Castle is being renovated into a luxury getaway by Graballa the Hutt (Dana Snyder). Offering to have his mechanic, Dean (Raphael Alejandro), fix Dameron’s X-wing in exchange for an endorsement for his resort, Graballa and the gang soon discover inside the seemingly abandoned structure still resides Vader’s former servant, Vaneé (Tony Hale). The visitors inspire Vaneé to share three cautionary tales of dark Force users, one for each Star Wars trilogy.

Taking full advantage of Hale’s fabulous vocal talents, Vaneé is the perfect unctuous, unreliable narrator (with an on-point cackle) as he leads the group deeper into the castle with his engaging tales. The first is “The Lost Boy,” which is an expanded origin story of how Ben Solo became Kylo Ren. It borrows from the excellent comic book series The Fall of Kylo Ren, and mixes it with a hilarious parody of The Lost Boys to introduce Ren (Christian Slater), the leader of the Knights of Ren. Slater is essentially riffing on Kiefer Sutherland’s vampire baddie, David Powers, here as Ren woos Ben to the dark side in wake of the whole Jedi Temple debacle. The story works both as an effective fall from grace as well as spot-on movie parody including a sax solo.

For fans of the prequels, there’s “The Dueling Monstrosities,” which has Darth Maul (Sam Witwer) and General Grievous re-bricked into existence so they can search for the Saber of Scardont for Darth Sidious. The jokes about their rebirths are great, but director Ken Cunningham also takes the opportunity to block and choreograph one heck of an impressive battle between the two baddies.

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And the last tale, “The Wookie’s Paw,” plays out as a Star Wars-style “What If…?,” envisioning what would happen if Luke Skywalker got off Tatooine via recruitment by the Empire. Working his way up the dark side’s power ladder via wishes made on a Wookie’s paw from Watto, Luke chooses to work with Vader and Palpatine, which leads to a similar yet very different Death Star run in A New Hope.

The whole special ingeniously mines the dark corners of the mythology for some very funny character pairings and clever twists on the familiar. There are plenty of callbacks and Easter eggs woven into the whole special, which rewards longtime fans too. And maybe because of the darker tone of this special, the signature LEGO humor is especially witty and has more bite, which helps keep the vibe spooky and surprising.

It’s easily the best-looking LEGO Star Wars animation.

But there’s still plenty of hope, too, especially as embodied by the new character of Dean. He’s a relatable young hero trying to do right by his family even though he’s stuck working for a Hutt. As Dean bonds with Poe, there’s some great wisdom imparted about overcoming fear to find courage in case your little ones are not down with seasonal scares yet. Plus, there’s a lot of great action sequences giving heroes like BB-8 and Leia a chance to show the equal allure of the light side. All of it is held together with beautiful animation that uses the dark side color palette to great effect. It’s easily the best-looking LEGO Star Wars animation the series has ever produced.

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