‘The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special’ Could Be Playfully Preparing Fans for the Saga’s Next Steps

The Mandalorian is an undeniable hit for Disney+. Other than that series, the future of Star Wars remains unclear. Sure, Disney+ has other live-action shows in the works. And Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) is set to direct an upcoming film. But after more than 40 years with the Skywalker family, the Star Wars saga has yet to reveal what fans have to look forward to next.

The franchise has begun exploring the era after 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker in written form. But no movies or shows have yet tapped into this time period. Until the upcoming The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, that is. Could this playful new release actually have huge ramifications for the future of Star Wars?

'LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures'
‘LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures’ | Disney XD

‘Star Wars’ faces a major creative crossroads right now

Lucasfilm intended The Rise of Skywalker to be the climactic conclusion to the Skywalker saga. But some fans and most critics alike were far less impressed with director J.J. Abrams’ film. Though it was a hit, The Rise of Skywalker underperformed at the box office and received the worst reviews of any Star Wars film. So the saga needs to tread carefully.

Ever since The Last Jedi divided fans — and Solo became the first Star Wars movie to commercially fall short — the saga hasn’t been nearly the bulletproof pop culture force (pun intended) it once was. The Mandalorian started to heal the franchise, thanks largely to Baby Yoda. But the “galaxy far, far away” is far from back on track. All eyes are on what comes next.

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‘The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special’ revisits the saga’s history to date

One way in which The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special aims to smooth over the saga’s rough spots is its playful tone. Both the prequel and sequel trilogies have received harsh criticisms. And the self-aware humor and devil-may-care approach to the mythos gives the new special the ability to win back disillusioned fans. But it might also be testing a whole new story.

As its trailer reveals, The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special centers on Rey’s discovery of a time-travel artifact. With this item, she is able to visit various points throughout the saga, including all three movie trilogies and The Mandalorian. Of course, this Lego special — much like the original 1978 holiday special — isn’t canon. Yet, it still could affect the saga’s future.

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Even this special could indicate a greater focus on time travel soon

In recent years, the saga has been steadily building to a formal introduction for time travel. In fact, “the World Between Worlds” introduced in Star Wars: Rebels plays a huge role on that series. Thanks to time travel, fan favorite Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) survived her duel with Darth Vader himself. If the saga embraces time travel, all bets are off.

The rumored interconnected Disney+ shows would all have the ability to cross over, even if they’re set in different time periods. All the movies could tie into and reference each other, allowing characters to literally show up anytime and anywhere. And yes, even The Mandalorian could ultimately be revealed to be a prequel about Yoda’s childhood adventures.

Right now, this is all purely speculation. But the growing prominence of time travel in Star Wars is, at the very least, intriguing. The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special — while a fun detour during this apparent lull in the movies — could also be a tool Lucasfilm uses to normalize time travel. Is this where the saga is really heading? Appropriately enough, only time will tell.