"Star Wars Rebels" might help you hold off your anticipation of "The Force Awakens."
"Star Wars Rebels" might help you hold off your anticipation of "The Force Awakens."

Animated "Star Wars" DVDs help build excitement for "The Force Awakens"

We have to wait several more months before "The Force Awakens" unleashes itself upon the world, likely nabbing pretty much every box office record in the galaxy in the process. 

In the meantime, there’s plenty of "Star Wars" related home entertainment to keep our spare time engrossed in the universe. One such offering, "LEGO Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles," came out on DVD last week. The animated adventures take viewers to the light-er side where bricks come to life as some of the famous heroes.

In four episodes, Yoda and the ghost of Obi-Wan unearth sacred crystals called Holocrons. The Jedi masters send out a call to Han, Luke, Leia, C-3PO and others to gather the mysterious, glowing bricks.

While the writing has enough light-hearted jokes to keep the youngest viewers entertained, there’s enough peppered in to amuse adults as well. The jabs are not as crass as the Emmy-winning "Star Wars" projects done by the writers and animators at "Robot Chicken," but they still hold their own.

For example, in one segment, the ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn answers Yoda’s call for help. The problem for Yoda and Obi-Wan: They don’t need him. Yoda keeps Qui-Gon preoccupied by trying to open a jar of pickles. In the best imitated voice from Liam Neeson from the "Taken" movies, the ghost proclaims that he has "a particular set of skills."

While you don’t need to know every character in the many worlds of "Star Wars" to enjoy the film, it will help to know who Jek-14 is. The film also does a nice callback to previous other LEGO films, including the one where a young "Ian" is someone else everyone knows but has a wonky nametag.

Bonus: Check out the DVD special features for an alternate ending to one of the episodes where everything goes Darth Vader’s way.

More "Star Wars" stories

Earlier in September, Disney released the complete first season of the new cartoon series "Star Wars Rebels" on Blu-ray.

The two-disc set has all 15 episodes of the series, including the action-packed pilot that aired on Disney XD. The series is set during the time between the third and fourth films in the saga, or better put, between the last film done with the rise of Darth Vader, and the first one focused on Luke taking out the first Death Star.

The Galactic Empire rules the galaxy, and it is up to Ezra and a squad of fighters to beat down the oppression. One of the episodes even features a swindler from the first movies that no one knows is worth trusting our not: a much younger Lando Calrissian, with Billy Dee Williams still reprising the role. 

The extras offer a full recap of the first season and share what surprises are in store for the next season that starts up again on Disney XD this winter.

Whether for the novice, casual fan or the die-hard Jedi master, both of these animated features make for a great gift as excitement builds for "Episode VII: The Force Awakens."

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