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Star Wars Holiday Special

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Star Wars Holiday Special
StarWarsHS.jpg
This holiday, It's a very dark time for the rebellion.
Genre: Musical
Science-fiction
Directed By: Steve Binder
David Acomba (uncredited)
Produced By: Joe Layton
Jeff Starsh
Ken Welch
Mitzie Welch
Written By: Pat Proft
Leonard Ripps
Bruce Vilanch
Rod Warren
Mitzie Welch
Starring: Harrison Ford
Peter Mayhew
Mark Hamill
Carrie Fisher
Anthony Daniels
James Earl Jones
Mickey Morton
Paul Gale
Patty Maloney
Art Carney
Bea Arthur
Diahann Carroll
Harvey Korman
Jefferson Starship
David Prowse (archive footage)
Photography: Color
Cinematography: John B. Field
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox Television
Release Date: November 17, 1978
Runtime: 98 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Franchise: Star Wars
Prequel: Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
Sequel: Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
"If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it."
George Lucas


The Star Wars Holiday Special is a 1978 American Christmas television special set in the famous Star Wars universe. It starred the film's main cast while introducing the character of Boba Fett, who would appear in later films. It was one of the first official Star Wars spin-offs and was directed by Steve Binder. The special was broadcast in its entirety only once, in the United States, on November 17, 1978 (the week before Thanksgiving), on the U.S. television network CBS from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST), prior to Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk; and on the Canadian television network CTV from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm EST. It was also broadcast in New Zealand on TVNZ and in Australia on the Seven Network.

The special has never been rebroadcast or officially released on home video. The only way it survives is through copies of home VHS and Betamax recordings of the show's one-time airing.

Plot

On Life Day, 1 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin), Chewbacca and Han Solo try to get back to Kashyyyk to celebrate it but are delayed by an Imperial blockade, so Chewbacca's family has to try to pass the time with entertainment.

Why This Holiday is Nothing Special

  1. No subtitles are provided for what Chewbacca's family is saying, even though we spend the majority of the movie with them. To make matters worse, there are no real lines for said characters.
  2. The Wookiees (aside from Chewbacca) have terrible costumes that look ugly, ridiculous and hideous to look at.
    • Itchy's jaw is hilariously awkwardly designed as it extends up over his nose and up to the spot between his eyes.
    • Lumpy sounds like a bee.
  3. Horrible and forgettable songs and musical number that obviously don't have anything to do with the Star Wars franchise.
  4. Extremely poor grasp of the source material.
  5. Extremely poor acting despite having all the actors from the films, such as Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher.
  6. Mark Hamill was still recovering from a serious car accident during filming. However, the way they tried to hide his injuries looks extremely fake and artificial, since here he wore heavy makeup during his scenes, making him look like a Ken doll.
    • Hell, even CGI Luke from the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian looks more realistic than the one we got here!
  7. The plot is very inconsistent, confusing and lacks continuity, making this special feel more like a variety show.
  8. The special doesn't explore the holiday known as Life Day.
    • On top of that, "Life Day" is an extremely lazy and uncreative holiday, even for the Star Wars franchise.
  9. Pointless moments that serve no purpose to the film and therefore come off as filler in general, such as the cartoon and the VR erotic tape scene.
  10. Little-to-no focuses at all, as the main characters barely get screen time and it mostly focuses on Chewie's family.
  11. The cartoon, while decent, has terrible character designs for the humans; especially Han Solo, who looks like he had his face kicked in by a horse.
  12. Stock footage abuse from the first film, including a deleted scene featuring Darth Vader and Chief Moradmin Bast, the latter of whom perished in A New Hope when the first Death Star exploded, and several unused shots of Mos Eisley.
  13. There is a very disturbing and inappropriate scene, even by Star Wars standards, where Itchy, Chewbacca's father, is implied to be masturbating to a VR erotic dancing tape.
  14. Carrie Fisher was reportedly whacked off her skull on drugs during the special's production... and it painfully shows.
  15. The "comedy" is annoying, especially the "Stir, whip, stir, whip, whip, whip, stir!" segment.
  16. The script was written assuming that the special was only going to run for one hour. When CBS extended it to two hours at the last minute (which is basically double the intended runtime), the entire thing had to be drawn out as much as possible, resulting to loads of filler, making it feel incredibly slow and scenes often linger way longer than necessary.
  17. False advertising: The poster shows the Death Star on the top right corner, even though it takes place after the destruction of the Death Star.
  18. Overall, this special had no impact on the Star Wars franchise as its events and characters are ignored later on. You can watch any other Star Wars media and anything important would not be missed.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The cartoon marks the first-ever appearance of Boba Fett, though he was most likely already in the Empire Strikes Back script.
  2. Bea Arthur's performance as Ackmena is pretty good, especially when she sings "Goodnight, But Not Goodbye", to the point where Ackmena was kept when Disney rebooted the canon in 2014 and the special was exiled from the new canon.
  3. Jefferson Starship's "Light the Sky on Fire" is a very good song, even though the performance was very unnecessary.
  4. The scene where Han makes a stormtrooper trip over his own gun and fall off a balcony to his death is unintentionally hilarious.
  5. As stated in WTHINS#18, this special has no impact on the Star Wars lore, therefore, it can't be considered canon.
  6. It's kind of funny how bad the special is, and it falls into the category of "so bad it's good" movies.

Videos

The Movie

Reviews and the Top 10

Reception

The special is notorious for its extremely negative reception, both from Star Wars fans and the general public. David Hofstede, author of What Were They Thinking?: The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History, ranked the holiday special at #1, calling it "the worst two hours of television ever".

George Lucas hated the special so much that he famously said: "If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that special and smash it". Carrie Fisher revealed in a 2010 interview that she had forced George Lucas to give her a copy of the special in exchange for recording DVD commentary for the Star Wars films. She added that she sometimes showed it at parties, "mainly at the end of the night when I want people to leave".

In the years since, many fans have stated that the prequels (more specifically, The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones), the sequels and Solo are masterpieces compared to this.

The film currently holds a rating of 2.1/10 on IMDb.

Trivia

  • The special was only ever a tenuous part of the Star Wars universe and was shunted off into the non-canon "Legends" timeline after Disney acquired the rights to the Star Wars franchise; however, references to Life Day still turned up in Star Wars Battlefront II and The Mandalorian.
    • Coincidentally, EA's Star Wars: Battlefront II was released exactly thirty-nine years later and was considered to be just as bad as the special, if not worse.
  • Mark Hamill's makeup was needed to cover up injuries sustained from a car accident that occurred after filming of A New Hope wrapped up. This is also why the early scenes of The Empire Strikes Back have Hamill's face covered with snow and why he is injured and put in the Bacta Tank at the Rebel Base, as there were worries the film might have to explain Luke's face changing if Hamill looked different once his injuries healed.
  • This special was remade as a short LEGO film, titled the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, which debuted on November 17, 2020 on Disney+. The film received better reviews and was considered an improvement over this special.
  • While George Lucas is often blamed for making the special, he actually had little to do with it, since he was busy handling pre-production on The Empire Strikes Back.
    • Speaking of George Lucas, when asked about the special at a Star Wars convention, he said, "If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.", making this one of the few pieces of media that Lucas has disowned, alongside the 1986 movie Howard the Duck.
  • Contrary to popular belief, R2-D2 was not played by Kenny Baker in this special at all. Instead, he was actually performed by a radio-controlled unit, operated by Mick Garris. This would also explain why Kenny Baker wasn't credited in the special, and that R2-D2 starred "as himself".

External Links

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