Why Kelly Marie Tran Loves That Star Wars Brought Back The Holiday Special Tradition

Star Wars LEGO Holiday special Kelly Marie Tran

After spending decades as a punchline that the Star Wars franchise has done its best to ignore and hide, the legacy of the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special from 1978 is in the midst of a rescue attempt. Fans laughed last year when Life Day was referenced in the first episode of The Mandalorian, and now there is actually a whole new release available, as the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special dropped on Disney+ earlier this month.

The voice cast of 45-minute feature even includes a handful of stars from the live-action movies, and last week I learned that it was a project that Kelly Marie Tran – known to many as Rose Tico – loved to be a part of.

The actress is a part of the cast of The Croods: A New Age, which is set to hit theaters this week, and when I had the chance to speak with her over the phone about the film I took the opportunity to ask about being a part of the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special. I asked what it was like learning about the development of the animated feature and if she was surprised given the original’s notorious reputation. She explained with enthusiasm,

Life Day is being celebrated again; get out of your Christmas sweaters! Star Wars is something that so many people love, and people are sort of starved for that content. And when I read the script I just thought it was so funny, and so different, also, from the original holiday special. And I think that because it's LEGOs there's such a fun quality to it…There's some things that you can get away with in animation that you can't get away with in real life. Not just in terms of performances, but also jokes and things like that.

For reasons that aren’t immediately clear, there is a nice long history of meta/self-referential humor in LEGO animation, and, as recognized by Kelly Marie Tran, that is a tradition upheld in the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special. Not only are there some jabs taken at The Travesty From 1978, but also many moments throughout Star Wars history (which comes easy thanks to time travel being a big part of the plot).

Star Wars as a franchise is generally one that takes itself very seriously, but Kelly Marie Tran feels that the new Holiday Special has a certain license to have fun and let its hair down. She also told us,

I think that the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is really funny and really earnest. There's a sort of unabashed quality of being like, 'Yeah, this is exactly what this is, and we're not judging ourselves right now, and this is just fun.' And I really liked that. And I'm trying to just to treat myself that way in life. It's okay to like have fun and have things that we love and not have to judge ourselves all the time. And that's kind of how I feel about that.

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is now available to subscribers on Disney+, and if you’re looking for a double dose of Kelly Marie Tran this week, you can check out The Croods: A New Age in theaters starting today.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.