References You Missed In The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special

Contains spoilers for The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special

There's a very special subsection of the geek community: folks who love Star Wars and also have to light some incense and open all the windows when their parents visit unexpectedly. For them, 1978's Star Wars Holiday Special is a masterpiece of filmmaking in the same way that the platypus is a masterpiece of evolution: It's hard to describe, but darned if it doesn't just keep on existing. For decades, when it was spoken about at all, this Life Day extravaganza was either a matter of embarrassment for the people involved — C-3P0 actor Anthony Daniels told Empire in 2015, "I own a pirate video [of the special] but I have to be pretty drunk to watch it" — or a gonzo parenthetical in the history of a beloved franchise.

Then, thanks in large part to the internet, the Star Wars Holiday Special became part of the mainstream. VHS rips of the film, which aired exactly once in the US before being shelved in all official capacities, have garnered millions of views on YouTube. NBC's testament to the adage that "there are no bad ideas in brainstorming" became so well known that LEGO, purveyors of its own brand of pop culture weirdness, decided to get in on the action, releasing The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special to Disney+ on November 17, 2020.

All of the LEGO movie beats are there in The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special: sight gags, family-friendly Robot Chicken-esque hot takes on pop culture, and, most importantly, Billy Dee Williams. In under an hour, it touches on every mainstream entry in the franchise, winking knowingly (and festively) along the way. In case you missed them, let's reassemble some of the subtle references sprinkled throughout The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special.

The sacred LEGO texts!

Hiding Easter eggs in written language on screen is sort of a tradition in Star Wars. Recently, eagle-eyed fans spotted sections of Return of the Jedi's opening crawl text in a season 2 episode of The Mandalorian. So obviously, when LEGO Rey (voiced by Daisy Ridley) started leafing through the LEGO Jedi Texts in The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, viewers started dusting off their old Aurebesh textbooks and getting to work.

While the brief glimpse that we get at the inside of the Jedi Texts is blessedly short (page-turners they are not), we do get one thinly veiled slice of fan service. The page that Rey reads to her friends on the Millennium Falcon actually just says one word: "Sidious," a reference to Darth Sidious, aka Emperor Palpatine, aka Rey's grandfather. Is this reference a portent of things to come? A now-canon revelation that the Jedi should've had a much more specific idea of what to look out for? Maybe. Or perhaps it was just a fun callback in a movie about plastic toy space wizards learning the importance of togetherness.

In a particularly deep cut, however, the book is designed to look just like Jedi Text concept art created by James Carson for The Last Jedi, as viewable on the Star Wars Archives website. They even got the text right. Who knew working with LEGOs would make someone so meticulous?

Wookiee what we have here

The original Star Wars Holiday Special was Wookiee-heavy, introducing audiences to Chewbacca's whole familial crew: his wife Malla, their son Lumpy, and his father Itchy –two out of three of whom now have the most on-the-nose character names in the Disney pantheon outside of the seven dwarves. It's been a long road, waiting more than 40 years to find out if they were still canon, but now, at least within the LEGO Star Wars universe, it seems like we have our answer.

In the special, the first guests to arrive for the Life Day festivities are three Wookiees, all looking suspiciously similar to the Chewbacca clan introduced in the '70s. Lumpy appears to have gone through a growth spurt, but that could just be the lack of height disparity inherent in life as a LEGO. Malla still has her appetite. And in a real holiday miracle, Itchy never fires up a VR headset full of Diahann Carroll-themed burlesque in the middle of a shared living space. That's what the holidays are all about, right?

The Emperor proclaims he'll LEGO of his hate in a special way

There's this theory that bad guys are scarier the less you know about them. It's basically the reason that five out of six Joker origin stories stumble out of the gate. If they're mysterious, an antagonist is all the more threatening and unpredictable. Once you find out that their first name is Doug or something, though, they sort of lose their fangs.

Maybe that's why it was so unsettling when Palpatine landed a late-in-life rebranding in the 2014 novel Tarkin, getting a first name that equates to the outer space version of Doug: "Sheev." Yes, the galaxy had quivered in fear of their dark ruler for generations without ever realizing that his first name sounded like a drunk guy explaining what the arm parts of shirts are called.

Emperor Palpatine's first name wasn't the blockbuster revelation that anyone probably expected it to be, garnering not much more than a few blog posts asking, to paraphrase, "What?" References to the moniker dried up in the years to come — so maybe that's what made it so, well, special when The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special spoke Palpatine's name. As he falls to his death in the Death Star's reactor, the LEGO Emperor screams, "Old Sheevy Palpatine is gonna change his ways!"