If you’ve played with the countless Lego Star Wars sets, watched one of the Lego Star Wars animated television specials or sat down with one of the many Lego Star Wars videogames, you know that the company that makes plastic building blocks and the film studio responsible for a franchise’s worth of space operas, are a match made in lightsaber-wielding heaven. The sensibilities just mesh in a way that produces wonderfully spirited, irreverent entertainment. But nothing could prepare you for the out-and-out fun of the new limited series, Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales, which premieres tonight at 9:30 p.m. on Disney XD.
Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales, is a five-episode miniseries that has an ingenious conceit: it’s the entire Star Wars saga, told, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead-style, by C3PO (voiced, once more, by Anthony Daniels) and R2D2. The series takes place after the Battle of Endor that ended Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, as C3PO first recounts his adventures after being assembled by a young Anakin Skywalker. This first episode does a really killer job whittling down both Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and even introduces a nifty wraparound narrative wherein C3PO and Admiral Akbar team up to track down his missing spaceship (just go with it).
The series is quick (seriously: it covers two movies that were each over two hours long, in less than 22 minutes) and full of that zippy humor that the Lego Star Wars franchise is known for. The jokes are amazing, especially if you’re a longtime Star Wars fan. There are repeated gags involving the somewhat convoluted nature of the prequels’ taxation-of-trade-routes-heavy storyline (“She was no longer a queen, having been promoted to Senator … I don’t understand that either,” C3PO narrates at one point), Jar Jar Binks getting thrown into the cosmos on multiple occasions, and terrific visual gags like Watto selling red flags during the background of a scene where we’re first introduced to future-Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker. In fact, there are so many wonderful little jokes that you’ll want to record it and watch it again and again just to catch everything.
If you’re worked about some of the darker elements of the series being translated into kid-friendly form, fret not: bleakness is avoided altogether and even mild violence is presented with a giddy, kids-taking-apart-plastic-playthings attitude. This is fun for the whole family, through and through (especially if you’ve already played with the building block sets or videogames). The terrific computer animation really does feel like actual Lego pieces are being animated and moving around, making jokes and blowing up little Lego robots.
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens just around the corner (relatively speaking), it’s easy to get into the spirit of the Force. But Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales really is worthy of your excitement: it’s a hilarious, charming and wonderfully animated and captures the spirit of the original Star Wars while adding an anarchic spirit all its own. Whether you’re a diehard fan of the series or a relative newcomer, you’ll fall in love with Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales from the goofy opening crawl to the final frame. The Force is definitely with this one.