The new Lego ‘Star Wars’ vacation adventure is a brilliant reminder that this franchise has always been scary.
By Brad Gullickson Published October 10, 2021
Star Wars Explained is our ongoing series where we dive into the latest Star Wars shows, movies, trailers, and news to divine the future of the franchise. This post explores Lego Star Wars: Terrifying Tales now streamed on Disney + and why it’s nothing new to this often extraordinarily scary franchise. Yes, prepare for SPOILER.
Right now the secret weapons are the war of stars Franchises are two new Lego-inspired vacation adventures. Last year we celebrated Life Day with Rey when she journeyed back in time across the franchise and brought Darth Vader and Kylo Ren together in the Lego Star Wars: Holiday Special. And now, with Halloween just around the corner, Poe Dameron lands on Mustafar and takes a disturbing tour of Vader’s castle in Lego Star Wars: Terrifying stories.
These cartoon franchise parades have nothing to do with being as good as they are. They’re filled with deep cuts and exaggerated explorations of scenarios that we’ve always thought about as fans. In Terrifying Tales, we get a much deeper investigation into the moment Ben Solo turned on Luke Skywalker, all through a cracked mirrored version of Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys. And yes, there is a Bith who absolutely jams on a saxophone while shirtless and muscular, just like Tim Cappello.
writer David Shayne and director Ken Cunningham do what all children do with their Legos, let their imagination run wild, create situations and moments that have denied them the real live-action antics. But Terrifying Tales is also a great reminder that Star Wars has always been a scary place. As a kid, there were a few moments when I had to duck under the covers or jump to fast-forward. This series is bloody creepy.
With the Halloween season just around the corner and our # 31DaysOfHorrorLists on the website full speed ahead, I wanted to take a trip through the haunted corn maze that runs through the original trilogy. Below are the 10 most terrifying moments that George Lucas bump into our eyes. Remove your 40 year old fandom and look at these tremors from a new perspective. Yikes There is a lot of confusion here.
10. Darth Vader’s gnarled, scarred skull
This kept me awake at night. Darth Vader was such an intimidating character. He enjoyed strangling his co-workers by force, and he sliced through a resigned Ben Kenobi as if spreading butter on his toast. The secret of who or what was under his cosmically black armor was always tempting, but then we hit the peek-a-boo scene in The Empire Strikes Back. Admiral Piett enters Vader’s apartment and catches him in a moment of undressing. We see the pale back of the Dark Lord’s skull, pathetically scarred and discolored. When his helmet clicks into place, we hear wet sucking and Piett takes a long swig. Who hasn’t seen this sequence through crossed thumbs in their life?
9. The Cantina Showdown
Luke Skywalker can’t help it. He always causes trouble wherever he goes. There’s just something about his face that highlights the meanness of certain people. A case in point is Ponda doesn’t like Boba Luke’s looks and he wants the brat to know. In A new hope, the kid is three seconds away from becoming walrus food when Ben Kenobi steps in and knocks down the criminal, severing poor Ponda Boba’s arm from his shoulder. In one of the franchise’s bloodiest moments, Lucas takes the time to aim his camera at a leaky link on the floor. Rough.
8. The Mynocks in the attic or stomach.
In Empire, while Vader puts on his face for Admiral Piett, Han Solo and Princess Leia hide in an asteroid field and unwittingly in the belly of a space worm. Hans feels pretty smart, leans back and enjoys a relaxing moment. Then the Mynocks come looking for snacks. Such a beast lays its sucking face on the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon and frightens the eternally loving Jesus from Leia. The sound the creature makes is a mixture of squeaking and screaming, and if I’m ever in a dark room it starts ringing in my ears.
7. The torture droid
Torture is not uncommon in Star Wars. In Empire, Darth Vader brings the sparks to Han Solo. No questions are asked; his only interest is in inflicting pain and arousing curiosity on Luke Skywalker, who trains in power on Dagobah. In Return of the JediAs C-3PO and R2-D2 are guided through Jabba’s palace, they encounter another droid giving a screaming Gonk a hot tag. Both scenes are nasty and unnerving, but neither matches the horror Vader experiences when Vader invites the IT-O interrogation droid into Princess Leia’s cell in A New Hope. Lucas doesn’t dare to show you what’s next, but he slowly pushes the camera onto the torture droid’s needle. It’s a brief burst of Italian giallo. The real evil begins.
6. The Rancor Pit
The Rancor from Return of the Jedi is one of the big monsters of cinema. He looks fabulous and is an extraordinary action figure. But think back to the first time you saw him: when the gate opened and that pug snout went under and through. Remember how he devoured Jabba’s first dancer and then the Gamorrean Guard and took the final crunch on the little piggy’s trembling hand. Jabba’s Rancor Pit is hell for those who end up there, a dungeon full of skeletons and little means of escape. Only a Jedi with a powerful fastball can survive such an impossible downfall.
Related topics: Star Wars Explained
Brad Gullickson is the weekly columnist for Film School Rejects and senior curator for One Perfect Shot. When he’s not talking about movies here, he’s co-hosting Comic Book Couples Counseling on comics. Follow him on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He him)