Category: Television

Review – “The Star Wars Holiday Special” (1978)

HolidaySpecialPoster“Stir whip stir whip whip whip stir!”—Gormaanda


The infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. What more can I say about this that hasn’t already been said? Growing up I had heard about the Holiday Special for years, and was always curious to see it. In high school I found a download of the Special online and I got together with a group of my friends who are also big Star Wars fans to watch it. None of us had seen it before. We were all looking forward to it, despite being very aware that the Holiday Special was universally hated. How bad could it really be though? It had to be entertaining at least for a good laugh, right? We turned on the TV and hit play. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

The next hour and a half of our lives proved to be a painful test of endurance, to see how long we could actually make it without shutting the movie off and trying to have our short-term memories erased. All curiosity I had about the Holiday Special faded away very quickly and I just could not wait for it to end. Somehow we actually made it all the way through, but it was torture.

Years later I was with another group of friends who found out that I still had the Star Wars Holiday Special saved on my computer. They tried to convince me to watch it with them, and I tried to tell them how bad of an idea that was. I never actually intended to watch the Holiday Special a second time, even though I kept the file on my computer. Somehow, against my will, they managed to get their wish, and started watching the Holiday Special on our TV. I was keeping myself occupied with other things, because I really, really didn’t want to watch it. Less than 15 minutes later, my friends who wanted to watch it so badly asked me to please turn it off. Thank goodness!

Fast forward to the present day. For some reason I got it in my head that it would be a good idea to write about the Star Wars Holiday Special now that I have this blog. Now that the holiday season has started it felt appropriate. There was only one problem: I haven’t watched the Holiday Special since that first time I watched it all those years ago. I remembered not liking it, but I didn’t remember a lot of specifics. In order to write about the Holiday Special I decided I had to watch it again.

As I sat down and watched it a few days ago, my brother couldn’t believe how stupid it was, and my mother was absolutely convinced that the Special was made as a joke.

The Star Wars Holiday Special aired on November 17th, 1978. After that it never aired on TV again, and no version of the Holiday Special was ever released on home video. So the only way we have access to it now is through low-quality VHS recordings of the original showing that people have uploaded onto the internet.

You know what’s really weird to think about? The Star Wars Holiday Special is, in a way, the first sequel to the original Star Wars movie. This movie aired about a year and a half after the first movie came out, and about a year and a half before Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back came out. So, what I’m getting at is, The Star Wars Holiday Special is basically the real Star Wars Episode V.

Alright, sorry for being so sacrilegious right there. In no universe should the Holiday Special be considered an actual sequel to the original Star Wars.

I could go on and on about what is wrong with the Holiday Special (and I will later in this post, trust me), but as bad as it is there actually are good things about it. Let’s talk about the good things first:

ChewiesFamilyFor one, the Holiday Special introduces us to Chewbacca’s family. Or at least his wife Malla, his son Lumpy, and his father Itchy. Okay, those names are pretty awful, but thanks to the good ol’ Expanded Universe we eventually learn that their full names are Mallatobuck, Lumpawaroo, and Attichitcuk, which feel more like appropriate alien names. Their full names are never uttered in the Holiday Special, so we’re stuck with “Lumpy” and “Itchy.” That’s unfortunate.

Chewbacca’s family members become reoccurring characters in the Expanded Universe, and we even get to eventually see Lumpawaroo as an adult. As the years went on and the Expanded Universe grew bigger and bigger, we were introduced to more and more of Chewbacca’s relatives, including his nephew, Lowbacca, who went on to become a Jedi Knight in Luke Skywalker’s new Jedi Order. That is cool! But our first introduction to Chewbacca’s family is here in the Holiday Special.

Along with meeting Chewbacca’s family, this is also the first time we get to see the Wookiee home-planet of Kashyyyk. The planet was later featured in other stories in the Expanded Universe, but It wasn’t until almost 30 years later that we would eventually see this planet on-screen again in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. We don’t get to see much of the planet in the Holiday Special, but it is still a cool thing to see where Wookiees live who aren’t honoring life-debts they owe to smugglers.

Kashyyyk

It is neat to see how much Chewbacca cares about his familyand how much his family loves himand how important it is for him to make it home to celebrate Life Day with them, which one of the Wookiees’ most important holidays. Han Solo also loves Chewie’s family members, and is very close with them as well. These are neat little tidbits of information we get about Han and Chewie that we never get to explore in the regular movies.

Another good thing? They got the whole main cast of Star Wars to reprise their roles in the Special (except Alec Guinness for obvious reasons). Now, that doesn’t save the Special from being awful, but imagine how much more awful it would have been if, for example, they would have had some other random actor playing Han Solo! (I’m looking at you, future Han Solo spin-off movie…) Until The Force Awakens comes out, The Star Wars Holiday Special is the only other place you’re going to get to see the whole main cast of the Original Trilogy in-character, playing their roles from the original movies outside of the first three movies. So, that is kind of cool I guess.

There are a few short scenes of Han Solo and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon on their way to Kashyyyk that are pretty cool, and are really the only moments of this entire thing that actually feel like Star Wars. If more of the Special could have been like these scenes, we might have had something watchable.

There is a short 10 minute cartoon in the middle of the Holiday Special that is actually pretty great, despite an animation style that is distractingly weird on occasion. This cartoon is by far the best part of the entire Holiday Special, and it was actually included as an easter egg on the Blu-ray release of Star Wars: The Complete Saga, making this cartoon the only part of the Holiday Special that ever saw an official release on home video.

The greatest contribution the Holiday Special brought to the Star Wars universe is the introduction of Boba Fett, which happens in this short cartoon. It might come as a surprise to some that Boba Fett’s first appearance was here, and not in The Empire Strikes Back, but it’s the truth! And I dare say his introduction in the Holiday Special is a much better introduction than the one we got in Empire.

BobaFett

The cartoon shows our main characters’ first encounter with Boba Fett. Luke—along with R2-D2 and C-3PO—travels to an alien moon, looking for Han Solo and Chewbacca, who crash landed there earlier. Upon landing they are attacked by a massive alien creature, but they are saved by a man named Boba Fett. Boba and Luke bond over the realization that they both have no love for the Empire, and Boba calls Luke his friend. Boba earns Luke’s trust and says he will help Luke find Han Solo and Chewbacca. When they find the Millennium Falcon, they find that Han has been infected by a “sleeping virus” caused by a strange talisman that was aboard the Falcon. Luke also falls prey to the virus and falls unconscious as well. Boba Fett assures Chewbacca, Artoo, and Threepio that he will find an antidote for the virus. Chewbacca insists on coming with Boba to the town to get the antidote. While the two are gone, Artoo intercepts a transmission from Darth Vader, who is communicating with Boba Fett. Artoo learns that Boba is not the “friend” he claims to be. Fett does get the antidote however, and returns with Chewbacca to heal Han and Luke. When the two wake up, Artoo and Threepio break the news of Boba Fett’s alliance with Darth Vader, calling him “Darth Vader’s right hand man” and revealing that this has all been part of an Imperial plot. Boba Fett assures them that they will meet again as he escapes through a hatch in the Millennium Falcon.

It’s a cool little short story and by far the most entertaining portion of the Holiday Special. It’s actually good, which can’t really be said about any other part of the Holiday Special.

Which takes us to what’s wrong with the Special. Aside from the things mentioned above, I could keep this real short and just leave it at “everything is wrong!” But, let’s dig a litter deeper…

Star-Destroyer-ChaseThe plot centers on Chewbacca and Han trying to get back to Kashyyyk so that Chewie can be with his family for Life Day, which is one of the most important holidays for the Wookiees. Due to some pesky Imperials, getting home is proving to be much more difficult than Chewie had hoped, and it’s starting to look like he might not make it home in time. His family is waiting for him, hoping he’ll make it home safely so they can be with him again. That’s the really short version of the story. You’ve got the basic idea now.

The opening scene of the Holiday Special is of Han and Chewie in the Millennium Falcon, trying to outrun a pair of Star Destroyers. They are on their way to Kashyyyk so that Chewie can be with his family for Life Day. Han tells Chewie that this is too dangerous, and that he’s going to turn back. Chewbacca insists that they continue, and Han listens, promising Chewie that he’ll get him home in time for the celebration. They jump to hyperspace and escape the Star Destroyers.

Okay, not a bad opening scene actually. But it’s only 30 seconds long. A 30-second tease that successfully pulls you in, and gets your hopes up for what’s to come.

What comes next is a drawn-out opening credits scene with a narrator announcing the names of each actor and the character they portray. Was this really necessary? Back in the ’70s it was the norm to have opening credits in a movie, whereas today it is common for a movie not to have opening credits at all. The original Star Wars movie had no opening credits, and after the success of the first film, George Lucas got in lot of trouble for not putting opening credits in the second movie. Though it wasn’t the first movie to omit opening credits, Star Wars is generally credited for popularizing the lack of opening credits in movies. The point is, it was a big deal for Star Wars not to have opening credits, so it’s annoying that the Holiday Special has them.

If that isn’t the nitpickiest of complaints, then I don’t know what is. But I’m going to keep complaining about the credits.

The main Star Wars theme music starts playing, the narrator starts talking, and the credits start rolling. “The Star Wars Holiday Special!” the voice says. “Starring Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker.” Then a face shows up on the screen and—WHAT?!

Holiday-Special-Luke

This is not the Luke Skywalker I remember.

Even though it is Mark Hamill playing Luke Skywalker, somehow they still managed to make the character look nothing like Luke Skywalker. I mean, look at him! He just looks so goofy. And his haircut looks ridiculous throughout the whole thing.

Holiday-Special-Luke-Skywalker.jpg

I can’t get over it. I actually think this is hilarious.

After the credits we are taken to Chewbacca’s home on Kashyyyk where we get to meet Chewie’s family, who are waiting for him to arrive. Meeting Chewie’s family! That sounds cool! Right? Well, for the next ten minutes we are treated to watching three Wookiees speak in their incoherent Wookiee language to each other. There are no subtitles. Just Wookiee sounds. For ten minutes. At one point Chewie’s father Itchy sets up a holoprojector so that Lumpy can watch an odd dance performance set to some silly music. Thanks for breaking up the monotony by being even more boring than what I was already watching.

Eventually Chewie’s family contacts Luke via Skype, apparently to ask him where Chewie is, and we finally get to hear someone speak a language we actually understand. Luke says that Chewie should have already arrived, and if he’s not there then that must mean he ran into trouble. The Wookiees start to worry, and Luke decides to ignore what he just said and reassures them that everything is just fine and that Chewbacca will be there soon.

Saun-DannChewie’s wife then makes another video call to their friend Saun Dann, a Human who lives on Kashyyyk. Apparently in Star Wars they have the kind of video calls where when you call someone you instantly get a direct video feed of what is going on inside their house, regardless of whether they answered your call or not. An Imperial Guard is visiting Saun’s shop, and Saun has to deal with him before he can talk with Malla. Saun tries to find something in his shop that he thinks the guard will like, so he pulls out a “pocket-size aquarium” and tries to tell the guard how awesome it is because you can take it with you anywhere. I’ve always wanted to take an aquarium with me everywhere I go! The guard is not impressed and simply replies “I hate fish.”

Saun finally answers Malla’s call, even though Malla had been watching that entire interaction with the guard. I’m not sure what the point of this call was, but Saun speaks to Malla using some “clever” code words so the Imperial Guard won’t understand, referring to Chewbacca as “that shaggy carpet.” Saun assures Malla that the “carpet” is on its way and that it is made “by hand… Solo.”

Okay. Stop. This is terrible.

That doesn’t even make sense! Like… what? I don’t understand the point of that scene or Malla’s conversation with Suan at all. On top of that, the whole scene is filled with some of the worst attempts at humor I’ve seen. It’s all so cringeworthy.

Next we get to see Darth Vader for like 20 seconds before he vanishes from the rest of the Special completely. He tells his officer that he wants every household on Kashyyyk searched for rebels. Then he’s gone, and we’re taken back to Chewie’s family.

For the next little while we get to watch Malla trying to prepare some sort of food by following a cooking video. This is one of the worst parts of the entire Special. It only goes on for four minutes, but it feels like forever. The woman in the cooking video is one of the strangest women you’ve ever seen. Her cooking instructions are so ridiculous and borderline impossible, and everything about this scene is so over-the-top. The woman starts getting crazier and crazier the more she gets into preparing her food, and she eventually sprouts a third arm, and then a fourth. Malla is trying desperately to keep up with the insane cooking instructions. You can tell that this scene was meant to be funny, but like the rest of the Holiday Special the attempts at humor are just awful.

Stir-Whip-Stir-Whip

Cut back to space. Han and Chewie are outrunning more Imperials. I guess they didn’t escape earlier after all. This time they’ve gotten themselves into a dogfight with some TIE Fighters. Again I find myself wishing that the entire Holiday Special could have been more like these short space scenes.

Back on Kashyyyk, an Imperial broadcast plays notifying the Wookiees that the Empire has declared martial law and that a blockade has been set up around the planet due to suspected rebel activity (but he pronounces the planet name as “Kazook”). That must be one massive blockade! Chewbacca’s family is losing hope that Chewbacca will make it home for Life Day.

Saun then shows up at the Wookiee’s home, and he brings the three of them gifts, because let’s be honest, Life Day is Christmas. He gives Lumpy a kit to build a transmitter, and he gives Malla a device that apparently plays holovids.

Saun’s gift for Itchy is the creepiest part of the Holiday Special. Saun turns to Itchy and says “I know what you like.” He brings Itchy to a virtual reality chair—called a “Mind Evaporator”—in the middle of the living room and he pulls a chip out of his pocket that he inserts into the chair. Saun tells Itchy “I thought you might like this. It’s one of those, uh… It’s a real… It’s kinda hard to explain it’s a uh… ‘wow’… if you know what I mean.”

It’s a real “wow” if you know what I mean?!…

?!?!?!

If you think I’m looking too far into this, trying to skew something innocent into something creepy or inappropriate, just… just read on…

Mind-EvaporatorSaun tells him “happy Life Day!” and walks away. Itchy is clearly excited and pulls the chair’s virtual reality visor over his face. Saun comes back two seconds after leaving, leans in close to Itchy, and says again in a much more suggestive voice “I do mean ‘happy Life Day.’”

What. The heck. Is going on.

Itchy turns the chair on. Soothing, hypnotic music starts playing, and then we get to see what Itchy is seeing. For the first minute we’re looking at what appears to be strange people in white clothing swimming around through what looks like the inside of a dark kaleidoscope, and basically it feels like you’re tripping major ballsack.

After a minute of that, Itchy hears a woman’s voice say “I know you’re searching for me.” A young, human woman appears, and tells Itchy that she is the creation of his mind and is for his eyes only. “I’m getting your message. Are you getting mine?” she asks Itchy, to which the Wookiee replies with an excited growl. “Oh… oh… We are excited aren’t we?” she says. The woman tells Itchy to relax and then says “now we can have a good time, can’t we?” Itchy is clearly excited out of his mind.

Do you get it now? Do you get why this is so weird?

The woman says to Itchy “I find you adorable.” Itchy then rewinds the video to hear her say that again… and then he does it again…. and again.

“I am your fantasy. I am your experience, so experience me. I am your pleasure. Enjoy me. This is our moment together in time. That we might turn this moment into an eternity.”

Diahann-Carroll

The woman in the Mind Evaporator—played by Diahann Carroll—then goes on to sing Itchy a song called “This Minute Now” and the rest of Itchy’s experience in the chair is basically just him watching a music video.

That was weird.

One of the producers of the Holiday Special, Mitzie Welch, later went on to say that that entire scene was intended to be “soft-core porno that would pass the censors.”

So, it turns out The Star Wars Holiday Special is also soft-core pornography.

wow

Uhh… Anyway…

After Itchy finishes enjoying himself in the middle of the living room, Malla gets a video call from Princess Leia and C-3PO. Leia wishes Malla a happy Life Day, but Malla says that she’s seen happier ones because Chewbacca isn’t with her. Leia then asks Saun, who is still at the house for some reason, to look after the Wookiees until Chewbacca gets home. I don’t really know why she wants him to do that, but whatever. He agrees.

The movie then cuts back to Han and Chewie, who are approaching Kashyyyk. Han is surprised because he has never seen so much Imperial traffic around this planet before. It doesn’t seem to be a problem because they land anyway.

Chewbacca’s family hears the Millennium Falcon fly overhead and they all get excited. Malla and Lumpy run to the front door and open it, only to find two stormtroopers pointing their guns at them, with two other Imperial officers.

Meet the laziest Imperials in the galaxy. These guys seem to be looking for every possible excuse to waste time and not get their job done that they possibly can. They enter the Wookiees’ home, searching for evidence of rebel activity. However, they are quickly distracted by Saun, who convinces one of the officers to try out the gift he gave Malla earlier. The officer casually sits at the table, and Saun turns on the device which begins playing a holographic music video of Jefferson Starship playing their song “Light the Sky on Fire”.

No. You didn’t misread that.

The band Jefferson Starship is in Star Wars.

Jefferson-Starship

The officer watches the entire music video—which is about five minutes long—and clearly enjoys it, smiling when it is over. What a great way to kill five minutes while on the job! A 2014 article on starwars.com titled “Slugthrowers: An Overview of Popular Music and Musicians in a Galaxy Far, Far Away” states that “Light the Sky on Fire” “proved inexplicably popular in the Kashyyyk holo-market.” Apparently the Wookiees are big fans of Jefferson Starship. Who knew?

After the music video ends, the Imperials tell Saun to leave, and he does. The Imperials continue their search of the house, and Lumpy sits down to watch the Boba Fett cartoon I talked about earlier.

It is the best.

Artoo-Threepio-Cartoon

After the cartoon we see a stormtrooper and one of the Imperial officers ransacking Lumpy’s bedroom. Then the officer does the most evil thing I think I have ever seen an Imperial do on-screen: he picks up Lumpy’s stuffed animal, and rips its head off for no reason!

When Lumpy goes upstairs and finds his room in ruins and his toy’s head ripped off, he begins to cry, AND IT’S THE SADDEST THING EVER.

Why?! The Star Wars Holiday Special has no right to make me feel sad for any of these characters when it is such a terrible movie. But it really is very sad. Lumpy sits there with his toy, crying and trying to put its head back on. He can’t do it, so he takes the stuffed animal over to his bed, lays it down, tucks it in under his blanket, and kisses it on the head. It is so sweet and sad. I’ll give this part points for being one of the only parts of the entire movie to make me feel an emotion other than embarrassment or disgust.

Lumpy then gets a great idea, and pulls out the transmitter kit that Saun gave him for Life Day. He takes out all the pieces and starts watching an instructional video on how to put it together.

Amorphiian.jpgThis part is painful to watch. The instructional video stars “an Amorphiian being” who tells the viewer how to put the transmitter together. But before he starts talking, another voice warns the viewer that “the motor abilities of Amorphiian citizens are frequently impaired by malfunction, which results in a temporary loss of power.” In other words, Amorphiians are basically like regular humans, only every few seconds they stutter, experience erratic spasms, temporarily lose the ability to speak, or shut down completely.

Watching the instructional video is frustrating because the Amorphiian spends most of the time malfunctioning. The video lasts about four minutes, and we get to watch the entire thing. What company would include an instructional video that is this bad with one of their products? I know it was supposed to be funny (somehow) but come on. I’m obviously taking this too seriously.

Lumpy puts the transmitter together, and then we are taken back downstairs into the living room. The Imperials are still there, standing around doing nothing, until another Imperial broadcast starts playing on the Wookiees’ TV screen. The voice coming over the broadcast says that it is required viewing for all members of the Imperial forces.

A program called “Life on Tatooine” begins playing and the Imperials gather around the TV and start watching. It’s not like they were busy doing anything else.

Immediately I am confused by why this would be “required viewing” for all members of the Imperial forces. We get to watch the entire video, and not only is it one of the worst parts of the whole Holiday Special (am I saying that about a lot of different parts? Well, they all deserve it), but it’s also thirteen minutes long and has nothing to do with the rest of the movie!

Mos-Eisley

“Life on Tatooine” takes us back to the Mos Eisley cantina that we first visited in the original Star Wars movie. The Bith band who played the famous music in that movie are still at the cantina and they’re still playing the exact same music.

There are really two storylines in this program. The first one involves a weird man with a volcano head named Krelman, who is infatuated with the bartender, Ackmena. He tries to flirt with her, but she is just not interested in him. Last time Krelman left the bar, Ackmena said to him “come back soon. I’ll be waiting” and Krelman mistook that as her flirting with him. As Krelman is sitting at the bar, another costumer gets up and leaves, and Ackmena says “come back soon. I’ll be waiting.” Krelman realizes that she says that to everybody and gives up.

Frankly, Krelman creeps me out. Not because of how he desperately tries to flirt with the bartender, but because he looks really friggin’ creepy with a big hole in the top of his head. When he gets a drink, instead of drinking it with his mouth, he pours it into his head. It’s freaky. I am not a fan of Krelman. His species has never again appeared in anything else Star Wars, and I’m okay with that.

Krelman

The second storyline also takes place in the bar. After Krelman gives up on Ackmena, an Imperial broadcast starts playing in the cantina, saying that an Imperial curfew has been put into effect on Tatooine, and that all citizens must return to their homes immediately.

The costumers at the bar ignore the broadcast, and Ackmena tries to get them all to leave. She tells them the bar is closed and that the law requires them all to leave, but nobody gets up. The Bith band starts playing music again, and suddenly the scene becomes a musical, with Ackmena randomly breaking out into song and dance. Through the power of music she somehow gets the patrons of the bar to cooperate and they all end up leaving. The day is saved thanks to music! And to think this was over 35 years before Disney bought Star Wars.

This part never made sense to me. The Holiday Special is full of musical numbers, but all of the other ones made sense in-universe. They were all videos or holograms that the other characters were watching for entertainment. This musical number was the bartender at Mos Eisely randomly breaking out into song and dance out of nowhere. It doesn’t make sense. But I really shouldn’t be trying to find logical explanations for things in this movie.

Ackmena-Cantina

Interestingly enough, Ackmena is actually seen again in the Star Wars universe. She makes an appearance in the Fate of the Jedi series of books, which takes place about 40 years after the Holiday Special.

When “Life on Tatooine” is finally over, the Imperials in Chewbacca’s home receive a call telling them to return to base. So, after a hard day’s work of standing around, watching music videos, ripping heads off of stuffed animals, and watching TV shows, three of the Imperials leave, but one stormtrooper stays at the house, waiting for the arrival of Chewbacca.

Han-Solo-Wookiee-FamilyThe stormtrooper goes upstairs, only to find that the “return to base” message was actually sent out by Lumpy, using his new transmitter. The stormtrooper catches Lumpy sending out false transmissions, and smashes his transmitter. The stormtrooper then chases Lumpy downstairs and outside of the house where they bump in to Chewbacca and Han Solo. Han knocks the blaster out of the stormtrooper’s hands, and then the stormtrooper trips, and falls off the balcony to his death.

Han and Chewbacca go inside the house and greet Chewbacca’s family. Han gives them all hugs and tells them that they are like family to him. He then says that he has to get back to the Falcon and says goodbye to them all, including Chewie.

Chewie has a happy reunion with his family, and they all hug. Saun Dann comes back for some reason, and then they receive an emergency call from an Imperial officer, who is asking where the stormtrooper who remained at their house is. Saun responds to the officer and tells him that the stormtrooper robbed them and ran off. The officer doesn’t question it, and doesn’t bother them again. Uh, okay.

Saun wishes them all a happy Life Day and then leaves. Chewbacca and his family begin their Life Day traiditions. They all grab some sort of lanterns, and then they—along with many other Wookiees—go to the Tree of Life, where the Wookiees gather together to celebrate.

Also present at the Tree of Life are R2-D2 and C-3PO. Threepio wishes all the Wookiees a happy Life Day, and then Luke and Leia show up with Han. Then for some reason Leia takes over the ceremony. She delivers an inspiring speech about love to the Wookiees, and then she breaks out in song (which is set to an arrangement of the Star Wars theme music) which is ridiculously out of character for her, but I’m gonna let it slide because this entire movie is so stupid. Hey idiots! Let the Wookiees lead their own holiday traditions!

Tree-Of-Life

After the celebration is over we see one final shot of Chewbacca and his family sitting around a table, ready to eat dinner. They take each other’s hands, and bow their heads in prayer, which I felt was a nice touch and at the same time realized would probably never fly in a modern Star Wars movie or TV show. The camera zooms out on a view of their house from the outside, and The Star Wars Holiday Special finally comes to a close.

And that’s it! I just spent almost my entire day off from work writing about one of my least favorite pieces of film I have ever had the displeasure of seeing. To be honest, watching it the second time, and knowing exactly what to expect before getting into it, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was the first time. It was still bad, but I found it a little more enjoyable when I already knew what was coming.

The Star Wars Holiday Special is truly terrible. George Lucas said that he wanted every existing copy of it to be burned. It is so bad that it was considered “S-canon” in the old Expanded Universe canon system. This basically meant that everything in it was to be treated as non-canon unless referenced by another canonical work. So, even before Lucasfilm came out and said the Star Wars canon was getting rebooted, and announced that the entire Expanded Universe is now non-canon, the Holiday Special already was non-canon. So now it’s so non-canon that it’s not even canon in the non-canon.

Some authors did incorporate elements of what was seen in the Holiday Special into their stories, like how I mentioned that Ackmena appears in a book that was written much, much later. Author Jason Fry told me that he snuck in a reference to The Star Wars Holiday Special in his novel The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure. I must have missed that one, but it makes me happy that this piece of Star Wars history isn’t completely forgotten. Honestly, as bad as I think the Special is, I like to think that some version of these events really did happen in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Maybe just a less-stupid version.

Star-Wars-Holiday-Special

I cannot say that I recommend the Holiday Special to anyone. It is the worst piece of Star Wars media I have ever seen. If you really have to see it just because you’re curious, like I was, and your curiosity will not go away until you see it, then go ahead. But go into it with the worst possible expectations, because maybe then you’ll have a chance of enjoying some little part of it. The Boba Fett cartoon is worth checking out, at least.

Score: 1/10

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