The creative team behind the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special and LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales had always hoped to make a trilogy of animated specials. And Director Ken Cunningham really hoped the third installment could fulfill his dreams of helming a rollicking musical.
With the release of LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation today on Disney+, the third special in the trifecta arrives complete with two musical numbers, including a new song sung by “Weird Al” Yankovic. Set in the time after Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the story follows Finn and his friends on a luxury vacation aboard the Halcyon starcruiser. But instead of relaxing with a good book or enjoying the pool, Finn spends his time fretting about the future, which spurs visits from three Force ghosts who impart crucial lessons upon the young Force-sensitive hero.
Like its predecessors, collaborators at the LEGO Group, Lucasfilm, and Atomic Cartoons looked to favorite films and pop culture touch points to inspire the brick-based storytelling. “We were wrapping up Terrifying Tales and started talking about summer vacations and road trips,” recalls David Shayne, the writer behind all three specials.What are the iconic beach movies and summer movies?” producer Josh Rimes of Lucasfilm remembers asking the team. The first one that came to mind was the classic comedy National Lampoon’s Vacation. To translate the Griswold family road trip into the Star Wars galaxy, creators reimagined a very Solo family vacation. “It’s remembering our vacations and our road trips and what we went on and going, ‘What would that look like on the Millennium Falcon?’” says Shayne.
In development, creators also imparted a dash of musical comedy a la Annette Funicello’s Beach Blanket Bingo with a little Saturday Night Live thrown into the mix, courtesy of Carrie Fisher’s 1978 appearance on the variety show that included a skit featuring Princess Leia arriving on earth to join Funicello’s soiree. Cunningham has been pushing to do a musical since the start. “I’ve always wanted to do a full-on musical,” he admits. “Prior to being in animation, I was a professional dancer, so it’s kind of been a fantasy of mine to do a musical. And I got the opportunity here, which was great.”