The Lego Star Wars movies and shows have built themselves a playful corner in that galaxy far, far away. As with anything Star Wars, though, you have to wonder: are they canon? The obvious answer seems to be no, but writer David Shayne – who wrote Terrifying Tales, the new spooky Star Wars story available on Disney Plus – has a better way of looking at the situation.
"I always like to describe Lego Star Wars as canon-adjacent," Shayne tells SFX Magazine. "We make sure that we're honoring the canon, and that stuff could plausibly happen. But we also have a lot of fun with it. These [stories] are not canon because Vaneé is telling these stories for his own manipulation, so did they really happen? No, probably not. We don't know what part of these is true, and what part isn't true. But it gives you a very wide place to play in."
That is especially true for director Ken Cunningham, who aimed to push the incredibly detailed animation work of Atomic Cartoons into the most cinematic spaces possible. "I ended up becoming really enamored with Bram Stoker's Dracula and the way they were using really theatrical lighting," he says of a primary influence for the Mustafar setting and Vader's castle in Terrifying Tales.
"For us, it came down to really wanting to push color as a storytelling tool to really delineate things clearly. I worked pretty closely with Joel Aron, who's the head of lighting at Lucasfilm Animation. He worked with George [Lucas], so it's nice to be able to mine that experience, as he's able speak specifically to things that they did in the prequels."
They had a lot of fun weaving pop culture references into the special, like a full-on The Lost Boys homage that informs Kylo Ren's origin story, and the introduction of Ren (Christian Slater). "We've never heard Ren speak," Shayne says of the leader of the famed Knights of Ren. "We've only really seen him in the comics, so if we're going '80s villains, we said, 'How about Christian Slater?' He was super game and incredibly funny. He totally got what we're doing and just was having a blast."
For much more on Terrifying Tales, make sure to buy the new issue of SFX Magazine, featuring our huge Halloween preview, available from October 6. The Lego Star Wars special is available on Disney Plus now.