Remember my Jake & Leon comic from last Sunday?
I said in the accompanying article that Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures might work as semi-canon the more I thought about it. In tonight’s special installment of Saturday Night Showcase I plan to prove my point, or at least give it a darn good shot. First I should show you the series itself if I can. (Apologies to non-US markets if this doesn’t work or those of you in the archives if Disney XD’s YouTube channel takes this stuff down.)
As I stated in the Lego Batman Movie review there have been a number of direct-to-video movies and TV series forming a Lego multiverse outside of the theatrical Lego Movieverse. Unlike the theatrical films these movies and specials are not written like a child at play but are regular parodies of the franchise in question made for kids but with enough nods and winks that the adult fans of the franchise can enjoy it as well. This started with their Lego video games, most notably their Lego Star Wars games, and evolved into movies and shows.
Created by Bill Motz and Bob Roth, the show features a strong ongoing storyline and more dramatic moments than the two miniseries Lego produced in the SWU, Droids Tales and The Yoda Chronicles. It follows the adventures of an independent salvage and repair family, the titular Freemakers, as they’re drawn into the war between the Imperial Empire and the Rebel Alliance after the events of The Empire Strikes Back and both before (in season one) and during (season two) Return Of The Jedi. How are they drawn in? One of them has Force abilities we haven’t seen in the Star Wars Universe before, or at least interpreted this way not because of the comedic elements but because it does something the most recent trilogy hasn’t done nearly as well…lore building. Watch the first episode and get a taste for the show and I’ll explain.
Technically the show is not canon, although it does rely heavily on canon. The creators actually worked with Lucasfilm the same way the other recent cartoons–The Clone Wars, Rebels, and I assume the more recent Resistance I haven’t been able to see yet–do. Those three shows are canon in the current Star Wars Universe, but The Freemaker Adventures also borrows elements from the discarded Expanded Universe, just as Rebels did when they drew fan favorite novel character Grand Admiral Thrawn into their new canon. For more on this I point you to the following video by Star Wars Explained.
There is one element in particular where I think The Freemaker Adventures succeed where the more recent movies didn’t, lore building. Lore building is a huge part of worldbuilding, especially in heavy science-fiction, fantasy, and of course science fantasy tales like Star Wars. The Force Awakens did okay with their world but was afraid to mess with the lore since they didn’t want to run into the same problems of the prequels, like Anakin being created by the Force via virgin birth (the idea of “what would happen had Jesus been tempted by Satan” may sound interesting to non-Christians, while a Christian like myself is a bit more disturbed by the idea, but I don’t think it was a good fit for the Darth Vader origin) or the mostly ignored midi-chlorians. The Last Jedi rarely seemed to care about the lore that came before and you can question the treatment of the characters. I find it odd now that of the original Star Wars trilogy the only main human character still alive is the one whose portrayer has passed on.
The Freemaker Adventures however added elements that could really work in expanding the idea of the Force. In later episodes we see plants that react positively to the light side and negatively to the dark side, the first indication to Rowan that Naare may not be the Jedi she claims to be. At the very least she’s a Dark Jedi, as seen in The Clone Wars or certain paths of The Old Republic, the MMORPG set in the days before the movies. However, the show will officially declare her a full-on Sith, as seen in Rebels and other video games and comics set during the pre-movie history.We have seen other things in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (the discarded canon now called the Legends Universe in favor of the new Expanded Universe building off of Disney’s concepts). For example there are animals who can actually block a Force user’s ties to the Force.
Then you have the later concept of Force Builders, a Star Wars take on the “Master Builder” idea in the Lego movieverse perhaps. This is a Force user who is called to build things, and in season two Rowan is drawn to build a particular starfighter, the Arrowhead, just as he’s drawn to the Kyber Saber Crystals in season one. This is well after meeting another Force Builder, the Maker Of Zoh, in the first season. Considering the non-Jedi monk we see in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, there could be a precedent for Force users on both the light and dark side who don’t become Jedi, Dark Jedi, or the various Sith ranks. Imagine a Force user for example who is called more to be a healer than a fighter or advisor, the two tasks usually credited to the Jedi Knights, or whatever it is Sith Lords do. It could build on what the Force calls others to do and build out the lore of the Force.
And lest you think building a ship using the Force is something reserved for a reality where the building blocks of existence are…literally building blocks, there is evidence in the main Star Wars universe that makes it possible. A Jedi builds his or her lightsaber using the Force. They don’t just hand assemble it but move the parts around and connect them using the Force. It may be ritual more than practical but that’s not my point. Besides, within the Lego Star Wars Universe they aren’t just bricks. As you see in the show they have actual mechanical parts, like power couplings and ion convertors. That’s rather easy to translate into a more “normal” reality. We see this in the first episode of season two as well (minor spoilers for season one obviously), as Rowan has a vision to create the Arrowhead, but the episode shows a need for parts, not just bricks.
We also see in the series that Rowan is, for a hyperactive twelve-year-old, very Force sensitive. This is something we know about in the Skywalker bloodline, as even the untrained Leia shows hints of it, and Luke manages to become a Jedi without a lot of training from Ben or Yoda. The Expanded/Legends novels, like Shadows Of The Empire, show him teaching himself through notes Obi-Wan left behind, and even making an artificial Kyber Crystal. Kyber Crystals are (short version) an important component to power a lightsaber, with a connection to the Force, but in this series in particular Vader and the Emperor use them to power Death Star II, which is the focus of season 2 on their side, and we saw them turned into a weapon of amazing and terrible Force power in season one. Considering one of the complaints leveled against The Last Jedi is that Rey picks up on using the Force and using a lightsaber way too easily for someone with no training, Rowan’s training consisting of watching R0-GR’s footage of all the times a Jedi slashed him to bits during the Clone Wars combined with Anakin’s instinctual use of the Force in the podraces could show that some Force users are just a natural at it, which could only benefit Rey’s character against critics. These critiques are a huge problem for Disney LucasFilm right now (because most of them are right) and here’s a freebie defense right in their laps.
Of course The Freemaker Adventures and its currently-airing spinoff, Lego Star Wars All-Stars, couldn’t be full canon. As a comedy adventure with hints of the usual Lego media humor and parody, things like the Emperor being all giddy or Vader acting like he has daddy issues, despite literally not having a father according to his mom, wouldn’t fly. As Star Wars Explained said about Graballa The Hutt, a less goofy incarnation of these characters could exist, which is where the semi-canon comes in. We’ve seen that Hutts can speak Standard (English or whatever language the movie/episode has been dubbed into) in The Clone Wars and not all of them are as successful as Jabba. Hondo from the other cartoons as well as Maz have also shown up in the show along with Luke, Leia, Lando, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO, and there’s semi-regular interaction with Ackbar and Rebels’ Hera and Quarrie. Too bad we don’t get to see Rowan meet Ashoka, Kanan, or Ezra, or have more than one adventure with Luke. Maybe All-Stars can fix that?
So that’s my case. While the show would have to be semi-canon for the more comedic parts, a set of misadventures surrounding a boy who can be called by all Kyber crystals and not just the chosen one for that particular crystal (seen in an episode of The Clone Wars), and his salvage and repair family would fit in quite nicely in the main Star Wars universe. The creators took time to make sure they didn’t go against canon except for the Lego humor and if you can translate the regular Star Wars universe into Lego style so easily why not do the reverse? So many creators out there are already taking kids ideas and darkening them (I can’t bring myself to talk about that Wonder Comics Wonder Twins comic preview going around without going into serious rage mode and don’t forget what DC did to Wendy and Marvin and what Hollywood did to Jem and a whole host of others), so why not do it in a way that makes total sense and will actually benefit the franchise? Given the current state of the franchise it needs all the help it can get.