Ready for Halloween? You’re in luck, because LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales premieres today!
The Skywalking Network spoke with the special’s writer, David Shayne, and director Ken Cunningham as part of a press roundtable. Read on for insights from them, as well as a (mostly) spoiler-free review.
The main storyline takes place after The Rise of Skywalker, with Poe and BB-8 crash-landing on Mustafar while chasing down the last remnants of the First Order. They come across Darth Vader’s old castle, which is being turned into a theme hotel and comes with a creepy caretaker in the attic – your basic haunted house premise. What follows is a mashup of horror tropes and homages all set in a galaxy far, far away.
“There’s so many references that get packed in there,” says Cunningham. “You’ve got Village of the Damned, you’ve got The Lost Boys, Nightmare on Elm Street, some Twilight Zone stuff. It was just so much fun.”
The story branches off into three shorts, one set during each of the trilogies – prequel, classic, and sequel. And while they’ll appeal to younger viewers and are accessible to non-Star Wars fans, there are tons of fun Easter eggs and deep cut references to keep us diehards happy too.
As is standard with the LEGO Star Wars specials, there’s a lot of humor other Star Wars content can’t (or won’t) get away with. It feels more like a Robot Chicken send up in that regard and I’m not sorry about it. A younger Ben Solo is extra emo. The blue milk references continue. A villainous droid is named NI-L8 (get it, annihilate), one of many dad jokes.
“We’re using real characters from canon and then obviously take it to a silly and fun and whimsical LEGO place,” says Shayne. “With Halloween, we got to push that even a little further, we got to go a little sillier and a little weirder. You can do these Simpsons-style Treehouse of Horror stories and go to some really bizarre but hopefully funny places.”
Explaining General Grievous’s origins and Darth Maul’s resurrection (in “The Dueling Monstrosities”) and how Kylo Ren got his name (in “The Lost Boy”) are certainly events I wanted to know more about. I just didn’t expect it to happen in animated LEGO form. The third story, “The Wookiee’s Paw” is more like the “What If…” tales that Marvel has been putting out and includes some fun surprises.
Poe Dameron has the best line of the special, and maybe the best mantra for how to live in a galaxy so fraught with the struggle between good and evil. Instead of facing fear using the all or nothing Jedi/Sith dichotomy, Poe says, “You can’t control fear, but you can choose what to do with it. Without fear, you can’t have courage.” I asked Shayne about this powerful line, wondering how long it had taken to get right.
“We were a couple drafts into the script and we knew Poe was going to have this moment where he revealed it’s ok to be scared. And we had words to that effect but it wasn’t quite hitting. This was all done during the pandemic and you know, I think we were all feeling scared. My wife at dinner one night said, “Without fear you can’t have courage.” That really resonated for me. It’s a lesson I’m relearning all the time. It’s certainly something I want my kids to understand. It was really nice to have Poe, our coolest, most swaggery character acknowledge that and pass that lesson on.”
Thank you so much to Ken Cunningham and David Shayne for sharing their experiences working on LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales. I hope you all enjoy it too! You can watch it on Disney+ right now, as the first part of Disney+’s Hallo-Streaming all October long. If you want to listen to the Roundtable right now, please check out our friends at Fangirls Going Rogue.
More LEGO Fun to Explore
Next up is the Muppet’s Haunted Mansion special that premieres October 8! You can also read our previous roundtable with Anthony Daniels on the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special.