Well, it’s Christmas time everyone, and nothing says Christmas like Star Wars. And as we know nothing says Star Wars like Bea Arthur and Jefferson Starship! Wait, what? That’s right, the Star Wars Holiday Special, it’s a tradition. A horrible, terrible tradition.
Yes, the Star Wars Holiday Special, the much-maligned cheese-fest that brings groans of displeasure to geeks everywhere. The one thing that makes the prequels look like Citizen Cane. And, to be fair, the one thing in the Star Wars universe that George Lucas didn’t intentionally screw up. He was off making Empire at the time and has said that he would personally smash every copy of this abomination with a sledgehammer if given a chance. (I personally don’t think he would do that. I think he would simply add some digital effects and possibly some quasi-racist humor and a CGI Hayden Christensen in place of James Earl Jones. I could be wrong. I’m not.)
Despite what I said to start this post the Star Wars Holiday Special actually has nothing to do with Christmas. It was aired one time in November 1978 making it more of a Thanksgiving thing really. I remember it being on, I remember watching it. I remember laughing about it at school on the playground. But if it were not for YouTube I wouldn’t remember a thing about it.
Now, is it really as bad as everyone says it is? Well, yes. Probably worse. Again to be fair, had it just stuck to the main story it is possible that it would be better regarded. Not liked mind you, maybe just seen as a quaint bit of nostalgic fluff; an anomaly in the Star Wars mythos. But there is padding. And my God, what padding it is.
But let’s start with the main story. We open with Chewbacca and Han Solo piloting the Millennium Falcon through some stock footage of Star Destroyers on the way back to Kashyyyk (the Wookiee homeworld) for Chewie to celebrate Life Day, a very important holiday for Wookiees (I guess). They get held up by lasers and stuff.
On Kashyyyk we meet Chewie’s family; his wife, Malla, his son, Lumpy, and his father Itchy (yes, Lumpy and Itchy, not working too hard on the name thing). They are understandably upset that Chewie has not arrived and have to FaceTime Luke Skywalker to be put at ease.
Back in the stock footage, Darth Vader tells his troops to search house to house for rebels which they do include Chewbacca’s house where they tear up Lumpy’s favorite Bantha stuffed toy. Very sad.
Eventually, Han and Chewie arrive and save them from the Imperial troops. Life Day is celebrated with Wookiees wearing red Snuggies and Princess Leia sings a nice song about family and love.