Like last year’s holiday special before it, Lucasfilm and Lego’s latest special shifts outside of canon to riff on the reason for the season, dipping into a trio of spooky stories revolving around dark side artifacts. Also like the special before it, it’s at its best when it ignores its non-canonicity to really take a look at a relationship from the sequel trilogy.
Although its nature as an anthology — three tales loosely themed around Poe Dameron crash-landing on Mustafar, and dragged into checking out Darth Vader’s castle there, mid-transformation into a new hotel, because, hello Walt Disney — means that Terrifying Tales is not quite as narratively profound as The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special managed to be. But in among its goofs and jokes, one of its more interesting stories tackles a similar approach to the sequel’s most interesting characters. If Rey and Finn were at the heart of Holiday Special, then it’s Kylo Ren — or rather Ben Solo himself — who gets the most interesting time in Terrifying Tales, specifically in the first of the three tales, “The Lost Boy.”
A riff on the beloved vampire movie The Lost Boys (right down to a gag that feels like it comes completely out of nowhere featuring a shirtless Bith going to town on a Kloo Horn like a certain oiled saxophonist), the short is set in and around Luke Skywalker’s newly formed Jedi temple. Luke (voiced by Eric Bauza) is trying to train all of his students equally, much to the chagrin of a teenage Ben (Matthew Wood), who is clearly more advanced in his grasp of the Force, given his lineage in the family of the Chosen One.
It’s quickly a point of frustration between uncle and nephew: Luke doesn’t want to hear Ben’s complaints that the other students are holding him back, and Ben is ignorant to Luke’s wisdom that patience is a virtue and that his arrogance over his abilities could push him down a dangerous path.
All this gets thrown into question when a sulking Ben, visiting a nearby outpost after training, crosses paths with the Knights of Ren and their enigmatic leader (voiced by Christian Slater, of all people). Ren immediately promises Ben exactly what Luke won’t: power, freedom, and above all, to be listened to. That, and some nifty black robes and a nice helmet, but it’s being heard Ben craves more than anything else, something we know was also the case in the actual current canonicity of events in the run up to The Force Awakens. We know how Ben felt about his parents sending him to Luke’s academy, about how Luke’s attempts to keep his nephew safe ultimately caused the self-doubts within him that would push him away for good. “The Lost Boy” channels all those swirling frustrations too, even if it does so while turning the Knights of Ren into something more akin to a frat boy biker gang than a roaming band of murderous dark side acolytes.
Where the short story jukes away from the minimal details we know of just how Ben fell to the dark side’s temptations plays into that feeling of the young man not being heard. “The Lost Boy” climaxes when the Knights and Ren attempt to pressure him into levelling Luke’s temple to the ground, and the young boy tries to explain that he didn’t want to ruin his uncle’s work, he just wanted to be reached out to and understood.
A brief duel with Ren later as Ben tries to defend the temple from blaster fire, the former knight is defeated (by, ironically, Ben finally listening to Luke’s lessons). But things still turn out as we know them to: usurping Ren’s place, Ben becomes Kylo, pushed away from his uncle who can’t understand why Ben feels isolated and ignored enough in the first place.
It may mostly be played for a few gags, and it might not actually be part of what we know to the the text that is Ben Solo’s character in the sequel trilogy. But for a show about animated Lego minifigures, “The Lost Boy” is a story that still manages to strike at something about the tragedy of Leia and Han’s son in a way that feels resonant regardless of its canonicity. But also, it does have a shirtless Bith playing the Kloo Horn, which is pretty great on top of all that.
Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales is now streaming on Disney+.