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The Star Wars Holiday Special

The Star Wars Holiday Special was a two-hour television special (including commercials) set in the Star Wars galaxy. It was the first official Star Wars spinoff produced. It was broadcasted in its entirety in the United States only once on Friday, November 17, 1978 on CBS-TV from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST). It was also broadcast at least once in the Netherlands, France, and on an Australian network television in the early 1980s. In it, Chewbacca and Han Solo visit Kashyyyk, Chewbacca's home world, to celebrate Life Day. Along the way, they are pursued by agents of the Galactic Empire who are searching for rebels on the planet. The special introduces three members of Chewbacca's family: his father Attichitcuk, his wife Mallatobuck, and his son Lumpawarrump.

The main storyline of the film, which is set in 2 ABY, transpires on Kashyyyk. During the film, scenes also take place in outer space and in spacecraft including the Millennium Falcon and an Imperial Star Destroyer. The variety-show segments and cartoon introduce a few other locales, such as a cantina on the desert planet of Tatooine and a gooey, reddish water planet known as Panna.

The program also features some cameos (although the cameo actors are listed as stars) by other Star Wars characters, including Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, R2-D2, Darth Vader, Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa (who sings the film's "theme song", set to the music of John Williams's Star Wars theme, near the end). The program also features a cartoon produced by Toronto-based Nelvana that officially introduces the bounty hunter Boba Fett.

The film is notorious for its negative reception. George Lucas had limited involvement with the film's production, and he was unhappy with the results. It has never been re-aired or officially released on video, but has been widely bootlegged by fans, many of whom consider it ironically hilarious or kitschy.

Synopsis

It is Life Day (a holiday analogous to Christmas on Earth). Chewbacca is on his way home to see his family and to celebrate the holiday, accompanied by his friend, Han Solo. Not long after departing Tatooine in the Millennium Falcon, the duo find themselves chased by two Star Destroyers, which Han derisively refers to as an "Imperial garbage scow." After a short argument whether they should abort the mission a decision is made to move forward. Han then sends the Falcon into hyperspace.

Meanwhile, on Kashyyyk, Chewie's family is anxiously awaiting and preparing for Chewbacca's return. For the most part, they are going on with their everyday lives. However, Chewie's family is a bit nervous, because Chewbacca has not arrived yet. Malla takes down a framed picture of Chewbacca; her father-in-law Itchy, notices her worries and reassures Malla that Chewie is safe, and she replaces the picture. Itchy then gets out a movie (in the form of a futuristic capsule), and gives it to his grandson, Lumpy, to play on their movie device. After the movie is over, the family begins to do various chores.

Malla and Itchy begin to worry again. Malla switches on a viewscreen-computer, and runs a search for any starships in the area, hoping that the Falcon will be found in the scan, but the computer returns the result of "no starships in the area." She is deeply disappointed, and switches off the viewscreen. She opens a hidden communication device from within their cabinets — it is a device that allows them to communicate (via the HoloNet) with Chewbacca and the rebellion. Since this type of device is not allowed by the Empire, they must keep it a secret. Malla contacts Luke Skywalker, who, along with his faithful droid R2-D2, is working on his X-wing starfighter. Luke says he doesn't know what has happened. But knowing Han and Chewie, he suggests that they probably stopped off somewhere and would arrive soon. Luke begins to have a few problems of his own when the part he is working on begins to emit a large amount of steam. Seeing that he is busy, Malla shuts off the communication viewscreen.

Next, Malla contacts Saun Dann, a local human trader on the planet. He is dealing with a customer when she contacts him, and Malla is able to view the proceedings. An Imperial navy trooper is looking around Dann's shop, but is uninterested in any of Dann's suggestions. While the guard is still looking at things, Dann notices Malla on the viewscreen, and lets her know through a carefully-worded message that Han and Chewie are on their way, and should be arriving soon. However, he doesn't know of their current whereabouts.

Meanwhile, Darth Vader's star destroyer is orbiting Tatooine. Vader has been alerted to the escape of the Falcon from the grasp of the Empire. He was not ready to let them escape for the second time, as he has been on the search for the rebels who had destroyed the Death Star not long ago, and was obsessed with locating the ones responsible. An Imperial officer informs Vader that a blockade has been set up around Kashyyyk, and a search started on the planet. Vader is pleased, and instructs him to continue the search.

Back on the Falcon, Chewie and Han have just come out of hyperspace not far from Kashyyyk. They are completely surprised by the blockade, and immediately begin to do battle with four TIE fighters blocking their way. Meanwhile, back On Kashyyyk, an Imperial officer broadcasts that a blockade has been set up around the planet, and the Empire has declared martial law. Immediately after the announcement, Chewie's family get a knock at the door. Frightened, Itchy goes to open it and to their relief, it is Saun Dann at the door. Saun Dann brings everyone Life Day gifts; a music box for Malla, a box with an unknown present in it for Lumpy, and a memory chip for Itchy.

Malla then contacts Princess Leia via viewscreen to alert them of Han and Chewie's tardiness. Princess Leia Organa and C-3PO are at a Rebel base, hard at work on something. Leia can offer no help, but does ask if Malla is alone, and is relieved that Saun Dann is there to protect everyone. With little help from Leia, Malla switches off the communication device.

Back on the Falcon, Han and Chewie are approaching Kashyyyk. They are glad to finally almost be there. Han notices the increased Imperial presence, so they decide to land on a safe section of the north side of the planet. However, this is far from the Wookiee household and will be a long walk. Chewbacca protests, but they finally decide to land the ship. As they enter the atmosphere, Lumpy hears the roaring of the ship. Everyone in the Wookiee house gets excited, and all run to the door. Believing Han and Chewie might be at it, Malla opens the door, and find two stormtroopers and two Imperial officers behind it.

The Imperials force their way into the house. The head officer checks the house for residents and finds that the male Wookiee, Chewbacca, is missing. He orders a search. The officers rudely look through the house, nearly discovering the hidden communication device. To try to distract the attention of the Imperials, Saun Dann suggests that he and Malla prepare some food for everyone in the kitchen. While they are doing this, Dann turns on Malla's music video box for one of the officers, who seems to interested more in the music than his duties. When the music finishes, the head officer orders the search to continue. Saun Dann sees he cannot help further and leaves. The head officer tells Malla to keep Lumpy busy while they search his room, so Lumpy (and the viewing audience) watches a cartoon on a viewscreen of one of his father's many adventures.

The cartoon deals with Luke, Han, and Leia's first encounter with Boba Fett. During a search for a talisman, the Millennium Falcon crashes on a water planet known as Panna. Luke and the gang go after them, dispatching from a rebel base in a Y-Wing. Upon landing, they run into Fett, who wants to help them. They all board the Falcon, where Han has been infected by a mysterious sleeping virus caused by the talisman. Luke immediately contracts the virus as well. Fett and Chewie go into Panna City to get the cure for the condition. Once they get into the Imperial-occupied city, Fett instructs Chewie to stay behind while he gets the cure. Once away from Chewie, Fett contacts Darth Vader and informs him of the situation. He reveals that he and Vader are in a plan to reveal the location of the Rebels so that Vader can stop them, as he tried and failed to do previously. Back on the Falcon, as C-3PO is caring for Han and Luke, he and R2-D2 intercept the message between Vader and Fett. After evading the Imperials, Fett and Chewie return to the Falcon with the cure. After everyone recovers from the virus, they all learn of Fett's true allegiances. Fett ignites his jet pack and blasts away, promising that he will meet them all again. Everyone then blasts away from the planet, and back to the rebel base on board the Falcon. Lumpy shuts off the monitor and applauds it.

By this time, the Imperials have trashed everything in Lumpy's room. Once the Imperials are done there, they move to another part of the house, Lumpy surveys the damage and is very saddened over what they have done to his stuff, and after a moment of sadness, creates a plan for revenge using the gadget Saun Dann gave him earlier for his Life Day present. His plan is to create a communication device that will fool the Imperials into returning to their base by emulating the voice of one of their superiors.

While the Imperials are still searching downstairs, the living room viewscreen activates, advertising a video that is "required viewing by all Imperial personnel." All the Imperials in the house turn their immediate attention to the viewscreen. A reality-TV type program entitled Life on Tatooine is inturrpted by a broadcast announcing that Tatooine is now being put under curfew by the Empire, due to "subversive forces." Everyone must return to their homes immediately. Lumpy uses this opportunity to put his plan into motion. The Imperials get a repeated call to "return to base." They leave, but the head officer instructs one of the stormtroopers to stay behind. After the other Imperials leave, the stormtrooper still hears the repeating signal. He immediately sees that something is wrong because there are no more radios around. He determines that the sound is coming from upstairs, where he finds Lumpy speaking into the box he had constructed earlier. His voice is being translated and amplified to be more human and deeper. The stormtrooper walks into the room and grabs the box, startling Lumpy. The trooper throws the box to the ground, shattering it. Lumpy is frightened, runs down the stairs and out onto the deck, followed closely by the stormtrooper.

As they both run onto the deck, they discover Han and Chewbacca walking up to the door. Chewie runs around the stormtrooper to protect Lumpy as the trooper points his gun at both of them. Han backs against the wall, sneaks up behind the stormtrooper attacks the trooper, making the trooper break the railing and fall off of the deck to his death in the deep forests below. Relieved, Han picks up Lumpy and hands him to his father.

As all three go inside, they find Malla and Itchy are waiting. Han tells them he has taken care of the threat, and everyone is glad to be safe and back together. Chewie and Han hug everyone. They want Han to stay, but he says he has to get back to the Falcon before someone finds it where he has hidden it. After bidding everyone a heartfelt goodbye, he leaves wishing everyone a happy Life Day. After he leaves, another knock at the door announces the return of Saun Dann, arriving with bags in his hands. Suddenly, the Imperial officer appears on the viewscreen, giving a general alert for a missing stormtrooper (which is the stormtrooper that Han has just killed.)

Realizing the trouble they could be in, Saun Dann quickly claims that the trooper stayed behind after his squad had left as instructed, but then the trooper stole a lot of food from the house and left without a trace. The excuse works, and the officer says he will send out a search party to find the missing trooper. Everyone is relieved as the viewscreen deactivates. Saun Dann wishes the entire family a happy Life Day as he leaves. The family prepares to go the festival at the Tree of Life, gathering crystals together and joining them above their heads.

Magically, along with many other Wookiees, the family is next seen in space, travelling toward a bright star. They walk into it, arriving at the great Tree of Life, where many Wookiees dressed in red robes are gathered. As Chewbacca takes the stage, C-3PO and R2-D2 suddenly appear, along with Luke, Leia, and finally Han. He had had a surprise for everyone, as he brought the whole gang back for the celebration. Everyone is glad to be together. Leia gives a short speech on the meaning of Life Day and sings a song in celebration. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Chewbacca remembers the adventures he had in A New Hope, such as his first meeting with Luke and Leia, their escape from the Death Star, playing dejarik with R2-D2, and the award ceremony after he and Han had helped Luke destroy the Death Star. The Wookiees began to file out of the ceremony as his memories end.

That night, the Wookiee family: Chewbacca, Mallatobuck, Lumpawarrump, and Attichitcuk all sit at the family table, feasting to celebrate the day and being back together again.

Reception

Generally, The Star Wars Holiday Special has received a large amount of criticism, 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 number one, calling it "the worst two hours of television ever." Shepard Smith, a news anchor for the FOX News Channel, referred to it as a "'70s train wreck, combining the worst of Star Wars with the utter worst of variety television." Actor Phillip Bloch explained on a TV Land special entitled The 100 Most Unexpected TV Moments, that the special "just wasn't working. It was just so surreal." On the same program, Ralph Garman, a voice actor for the show Family Guy, explained that "The Star Wars Holiday Special is one of the most infamous television programs in history. And it's so bad that it actually comes around to good again."

The only aspect of the special which has been generally well-received is the animated segment which introduces the bounty hunter Boba Fett, who would later become a popular character when he appeared in the Star Wars theatrical films.

Regrets

George Lucas himself has rarely commented on or even acknowledged its existence, except to friends and co-workers. He is thought to hold a low opinion of it. For instance, Tom Burman, one of the costume designers for the holiday special, has said that Lucas once told him that he was very disappointed with the final product.

At one Australian fan convention he reportedly said "If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it." In an online chat with fans, he reportedly said: "The holiday special does not represent my vision for Star Wars." In an interview with Maxim magazine in May 2002, Maxim asked the question, "Any plans for a Special Edition of the Holiday Special?" Lucas responded with "Right. That's one of those things that happened, and I just have to live with it."

Later, in a May 2005 interview with StaticMultimedia.com, Lucas was asked if the film had soured him on working in television: He replied: "The special from 1978 really didn't have much to do with us, you know. I can't remember what network it was on, but it was a thing that they did. We kind of let them do it. It was done by... I can't even remember who the group was, but they were variety TV guys. We let them use the characters and stuff and that probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, but you learn from those experiences. I had a wonderful time on Young Indiana Jones. It was a great series. We did it for four years. I spent those four or five years actually working on it. That's really all I did during those years. It was really a great experience and I love television.

The official Star Wars site states that the holiday special "delivered mixed results," but explains that the highlight of the special was the Boba Fett animated segment. The official site also says, when referring to the fan interest in seeing the Wookiees on screen, "the 1978 Holiday Special didn't cut it. When asked at a fan convention, "So, you don't like it (the holiday special) either?", Lucasfilm head of content and fan relations, Steve Sansweet replied "No. I mean, I like the ten minute introduction of Boba Fett, but that's about it." The official site also refers to the Boba Fett animated segment as "a cult classic..

On February 8, 2006, Harrison Ford made an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and during the interview, O'Brien brought up the special, and began asking various questions regarding it, such as inquiring whether he remembered making it. Ford said nothing, but looked away and shook his head nervously, then saying he had no memory of it whatsoever and it, therefore, "doesn't exist." The audience responded with laughter and applause. O'Brien then asked Ford what he would think if he played a clip of the special on the show, Ford jokingly grabbed him, then said that "[he'd] never seen it, maybe it'll be nice." Humorously acting anxious and distracted, Ford suffered through the clip (which featured a scene showing Ford as Han Solo telling Chewbacca and his wife that they are "like family" to him), and then muttered a gruff, sarcastic "thank you" to O'Brien, before continuing with the interview to promote his then newest film, Firewall.

In one ad for the Robot Chicken Star Wars special, George Lucas, in stop-motion animation form, is at his psychiatrist, lamenting about letting the SWHS happen, and then doing it again by agreeing to the Robot Chicken special. The doctor shakes his head and mutters, "30 years of therapy down the drain."

Parodies and references in popular culture

The special was ranked at #3 in "The Five Goofiest Moments Of The Star Wars Mythos", in the 62nd issue of UK's Star Wars Magazine. TV Guide and TV Land ranked The Star Wars Holiday Special at number 59 on their "Top 100 Unexpected Television Moments" in a five part special that aired from December 5 until December 9 in 2005. The Sci Fi Channel newsletter refers to the special as being "silly. In the music video for "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "White & Nerdy", Yankovic's character can be seen buying a pirated VHS copy of the special from a bootlegger on the street. On askaninja.com, the Ninja refers to the Cantina scene in Episode 64 saying in the tag that even the aliens were unhappy with Bea Arthur's musical number. In 2007, a humorous audio commentary for the film was featured on RiffTrax, in which former Mystery Science Theater 3000 castmembers Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett heckled the special in the style of an episode of the TV series. Because of the unavailability of the special, RiffTrax suggests that fans procure a copy "you can Get frOm yOur friend Greg, in LakE VIDEO, Illinois.

Cast

Actor/Actress Role(s)
Mark Hamill Luke Skywalker
Harrison Ford Han Solo
Carrie Fisher Princess Leia Organa
Anthony Daniels C-3PO
Kenny Baker R2-D2
Peter Mayhew Chewbacca
James Earl Jones Darth Vader (voice)
Beatrice Arthur Ackmena
Art Carney Trader Saun Dann
Diahann Carroll Mermeia Holographic Wow
Marty Balin Holographic Band Singer (as Jefferson Starship)
Craig Chaquico Holographic Band Member (as Jefferson Starship)
Paul Kantner Holographic Band Member (as Jefferson Starship)
Harvey Korman Krelman / Chef Gormaanda / Amorphian instructor
Mickey Morton Malla
Paul Gale Itchy
Patty Maloney Lumpy
Jack Rader Imperial Guard Officer
Stephanie Stromer The Great Zorbak (Holographic gymnast)
Michael Potter Imperial Guard Officer
Wazzan Troupe Holographic Tumblers
Yûichi Sugiyama Ringleader
Mum Brothers The Reeko Brothers
Claude Woolman Imperial Officer (wallscreen)
Lev Mailer Imperial Guard #1
John McLaughlin Imperial Stormtrooper
Sir Alec Guinness Obi-Wan Kenobi (archive footage) (uncredited)
David Prowse Darth Vader (uncredited)
Arthur Rowton Zutmore (uncredited)
Leslie Schofield Imperial Officer (uncredited)

Segments

The Star Wars Holiday Special is important for being the first film-length Star Wars story after the original theatrical film, and for showing an expanded look at parts of that universe. The main focus of the holiday special is the Blockade of Kashyyyk. But for the most part, the plot serves as little more than a means to string together a series of musical numbers, celebrity cameos, and other variety-show acts. These include songs and comedy routines by such 1970s talents as Jefferson Starship, Diahann Carroll, Art Carney, Harvey Korman, and Bea Arthur. Easily the most notable segment is an animated cartoon featuring the pre-Empire Strikes Back debut of Boba Fett.

Music

The special features four songs. The first, "This Minute Now," sung by Diahann Carroll, is best remembered for the bizarre monologue which precedes it in which Carroll — who is supposed to be an image created by a virtual-reality machine — tells Chewbacca's father, Itchy, that she is his "fantasy" and suggestively invites him to "experience" her. The second musical number is the song "Light the Sky on Fire", performed by Jefferson Starship, which is presented as a 3-D music video watched by one of the Imperial guards; during production the song was given the working title "Cigar-Shaped Object (Vanished Without A Trace)". Later, Bea Arthur, who plays a bartender in the Mos Eisley cantina, sings "Good Night, But Not Goodbye" to the same set of aliens that were seen in the Cantina in A New Hope, including, as the back-up musicians, the Cantina's resident group, Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes. Finally, at the end of the special, Carrie Fisher sings a song in celebration of Life Day to the tune of the Star Wars main title.

Comedy

Harvey Korman provides comedy in three of the special's skits, including the Cantina skit with Bea Arthur. He also performs two solo routines: one as Chef Gormanda, four-armed parody of Julia Child, whose four arms allow her to work much faster than Malla can keep up with, and one as a malfunctioning Amorphian android in an instruction video watched by Lumpy. Art Carney has a more integral role in the story, playing a trader named Saun Dann on Kashyyyk who is a member of the Rebellion and helps Chewie's family. His segments are also largely played for laughs, and at one point includes a scene alluding to his character Ed Norton from The Honeymooners, where an Imperial officer demands that he "get on with it" while Carney dallies with a prop.

The cartoon

The high point of the special is generally considered to be the animated segment produced by Nelvana known as "The Faithful Wookie". While the artistic style takes great liberties — R2-D2's body is rubbery, C-3PO actually blinks (with vertical eyelids) and Han's face is nearly unrecognizable — the animation is above average for television animation of the period and the music and sound effects are straight out of the film, along with the vocal talents of the main cast from the film. Not only does the cartoon introduce Boba Fett, but his jet pack and rope gun as well, which are not used again in the movies until Return of the Jedi four and a half years later.

Hasbro has released a Boba Fett action figure, using the likeness from the animated cartoon, and titled "Boba Fett (Animated Debut)".

Also Funko is releasing a Star Wars Holiday Special Boba Fett Bobblehead in a special Limited Edition as part of their new Star Wars Bobblehead series His coloring in the Star Wars Holiday Special was unique, and far from the way he eventually appeared on the big screen in The Empire Strikes Back.

Other bits

The Holiday Special also includes a circus-style acrobatics routine that includes uneven bars and juggling. All the acts were loosely linked together with material which involves the Wookiees' preparation for Life Day, Han and Chewie's attempt to evade the Imperials and make it to Chewie's family, and the Imperial garrison's search for rebels.

Versions and availability today

The Star Wars Holiday Special was mostly forgotten after its only airing in 1978, until sometime in the early-to-mid-1990s when individuals came forward with original VHS recordings of the TV airing. Some of them began to copy the show and sell it as a bootleg video at conventions and on eBay.

It soon became a cult classic among Star Wars fans despite (or perhaps because of) its criticisms. File-sharing technologies have made the special more widely available to fans curious to see for themselves. Online video sites such as YouTube have also been known to host clips of the special. To this day, though, the special has still not been made officially available.

Some facts about copies of the Holiday Special:

  • The original print rests in the Lucasfilm archives. Animation-cel merchandise sold in the mid-1990s came from the special's animated Boba Fett segment. Segments of the cartoon appear in the 2002 Attack of the Clones web documentary "Bucket Head." Boba Fett actor Jeremy Bulloch introduces the segment as coming from the Holiday Special. In 2004, the official Star Wars site confirmed that documentary filmmaker Kevin Burns was allowed access to the original print for use in his Empire of Dreams documentary. However, the segment using footage from the holiday special was ultimately left out of the final cut of Empire of Dreams. This cut footage from the documentary has yet to be officially released.
  • Some who watched the program's single airing recorded it to videotape (either on Betamax or VHS). These have since been duplicated and reduplicated so that most copies of the special available today (and since 1978) are based on second to sixth generation VHS dubs. Some of these fan-made copies include the original commercials that aired during the show, while others have had these edited out. There is one first generation VHS recording available on many BitTorrent websites recorded from KCCI, which is of the highest currently known quality. Fans have since transferred these recordings to DVD.
  • There is an isolated version of the Boba Fett cartoon that contains a few extra seconds of material that was either edited or not included in the Holiday Special.
  • Individual clips from the special are available for download on some websites. In other places, such as many BitTorrent or file sharing sites, the entire special is available for download, in varying quality.
  • The special has yet to be officially released on DVD, despite recent rumors of a possible release (see DVD release section below).

Related media tie-ins

  • In 1980, Meco produced a similarly-themed Christmas album entitled Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album.
  • In 1979, one year after the special's broadcast, Lucasfilm published Star Wars: The Wookiee Storybook, a children's storybook which reunited characters from the special.
  • Prior to the special's airing, the Kenner toy company considered creating a toy line based on the special. While the project was cancelled due to the unpopularity of the special, several prototype versions of the figures are known to have been created. Those depict the Chewbacca family and seem to be simply modifications of Kenner's officially released Chewbacca figure.
  • A press kit was released prior to the special to promote its airing.
  • Jefferson Starship proclaimed on their single "Light The Sky On Fire" (included as a separate disc with the album Jefferson Starship Gold) that it was "as seen and heard on the CBS Star Wars Holiday Special." It was released before the show aired.
  • The Star Wars based MMORPG, Star Wars Galaxies, has several items and in-game storylines relating loosely to Wookiee Life Day.
  • In a special preview promoting a Star Wars Robot Chicken special, George Lucas is driven to a therapist's chair over his hatred of the special. The scene was voiced by Lucas himself.
  • The Holiday Special has been riffed on Mike Nelson's RiffTrax.

Role in greater Star Wars continuity

Canonicity of the special

See also: Star Wars continuity and canonicity

The Star Wars Holiday Special is technically in the Star Wars canon, which means that the events depicted are part of the greater continuity that includes the other films, novels, comic books, video games, etc. Generally, it falls in the C-Canon in the overall Star Wars continuity.

According to Leland Chee, the keeper of The Holocron, an internal Star Wars continuity database at Lucasfilm (which contains at least 28 individual entries relating to elements of the holiday special), most elements from the holiday special are definitely considered canon. However, there are specific rules as to what is what. First off, any element from the holiday special that is referenced in another work is considered C-Canon (such as Life Day, Chewbacca's family, etc.). Any element from the holiday special that is not referenced in other works is considered S-Canon, which means that it is canon, and that it "happened," but its canonicity is not set in stone. The only element from the holiday special where the canonicity is disputed is its claim that Chief Bast survived the destruction of the first Death Star from A New Hope. However this officer isn't necessarily Chief Bast, and might just be a lookalike played by the same actor.

Later appearances

Since The Star Wars Holiday Special was broadcast, it has received an extreme amount of criticism and enmity by both fans and official sources. Despite the relative unpopularity of the elements of the special, those at Lucasfilm responsible for licensing have kept the special in continuity, due to their canon policies. In many cases, they have expanded on elements from the special in several different media, including novels, comic books, video games, children's books, and even in a Star Wars-themed cookbook.

Several of the characters in The Star Wars Holiday Special appear in other Star Wars works. Chewbacca's family are featured in various stories, including:

  • "The Kashyyyk Depths" (1979) was a newspaper comic strip by Russ Manning which featured another venture by Han, Luke, Leia, and Chewie to Kashyyyk for Life Day. It was reprinted in a collective book entitled Classic Star Wars #4: The Early Adventures.
  • The Wookiee Storybook (1979) features Chewbacca's family in a situation very similar of that to the holiday special. Except in the book, Lumpy, wishing to be brave like his father, goes to the lower levels of Kashyyyk to get a type of fruit in preparation for the return of Chewbacca for Life Day. Trouble arises when Lumpy doesn't return, and Chewbacca must rescue his son.
  • "Wookiee World" (1985) was issue #91 of the Marvel comics Star Wars run. It featured Chewie's family in another adventure on Kashyyyk.
  • Tyrant's Test (1996) was the third and final book of Michael P. Kube-McDowell's "Black Fleet Crisis" trilogy. It featured Lumpy and his rites of passage into Lumpawaroo.
  • Rebel Dawn (1997) was the third book in A.C. Crispin's Han Solo trilogy. It dealt with Solo's younger years, and his early relation with Chewbacca and his family. Malla and Chewie's marriage is shown in the third book.
  • The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookiee Cookiees and Other Galactic Recipes (1998) gives an official recipe for "Wookiee cookiees," a different name for "Wookiee-ookiees" from the special.
  • Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial (2000) was a novel in The New Jedi Order series, in which Malla and Itchy make appearances.
  • Chewbacca (2000) was a four-issue comic book series by Darko Mecan, which featured Itchy and Malla recalling stories of Chewbacca's history.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds (2001) was a LucasArts game which explored the past of Chewbacca's father, Itchy. As seen in the game, Itchy was a great warrior in his younger days, who fought many battles.
  • The Unifying Force (2003) was the final book of the New Jedi Order series. It features Chewbacca's son Lumpy, along with Lowbacca, who hold a pivotal role of taking up Chewbacca's life debt to Han.
  • Star Wars: Galaxies (2003) was a popular MMORPG game that allowed the player to visit and explore Kashyyyk. While there, the player can explore the customs of Life Day, as there are several Wookiees dressed in red robes, as in the special. Lumpy's stuffed bantha from the special can also be seen in the game. The official site for Star Wars: Galaxies even has a webpage dedicated to explaining these features in the game, and the customs of Life Day.
  • A Forest Apart (2003) was an e-book by Troy Denning, also released in print as a supplement to his book Tatooine Ghost. A Forest Apart focuses on the exploits of Lumpy, after Malla allows him to go to Coruscant with Chewbacca.
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) was a film which, in addition to introducing Kashyyyk to the big screen, involved Itchy. According to the Revenge of the Sith Incredible Cross-sections by Dr. Curtis Saxton, and according to the film's visual dictionary, Itchy was involved in the Battle of Kashyyyk as a gunner aboard an Oevvaor jet catamaran in the defense of Kachirho during the Battle of Kashyyyk. It is unknown at this point whether he actually can be physically seen in the film, but several jet catamarans are shown. The cross-sections book also references the use of a Wookiee mind evaporator for training which was introduced in the Star Wars Holiday Special.
  • Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Incredible Cross-sections - The Definitive Guide to Spaceships and Vehicles (2005) (see above)
  • Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith-Visual Dictionary (2005) (see above)
  • Star Wars: Complete Locations (2005) Mentions that while Luke, Obi-Wan, and the droids are in the cantina in A New Hope, Ackmena is in a nearby room negotiating for a raise in her pay.

Chef Gormaanda later was featured in an issue of Lucasfilm's HoloNet News. She explained a new recipe, and it was explained that she had won a cooking award. The issue was HoloNet News Volume 531 #50 13:4:4, under "Life" section.

Chief Bast went on to appear in the Star Wars Customizable Card Game, in which Bast's early life was briefly elaborated on. His card hints that he escaped and survived the destruction of the first Death Star, as seen in the holiday special. The card can be viewed here.

Boba Fett returns in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and in many Expanded Universe books, comics, and video games (not to mention numerous official and unofficial fan-made films). His past is explored in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

The Wookiee planet of Kashyyyk is featured in various novels, comic books, and video games, including Revenge of the Sith, the cartoon micro-series known as Star Wars: Clone Wars, and video games such as Star Wars: Battlefront, Star Wars: Republic Commando, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. An entire city from the planet was even elaborated on in Timothy Zahn's popular 1991 novel Heir to the Empire, which was the first in his Thrawn trilogy.

DVD release

The Star Wars Holiday Special has yet to be given an official DVD release by Lucasfilm Ltd. If there are any plans to officially release the holiday special on DVD, those plans have never been stated by Lucasfilm and there has never been any announcement suggesting such a release either on Lucasfilm's site, or the starwars.com site. (A so-called "Platinum Edition" DVD mentioned in a review by Lawrence Person on Locus Online is an April Fools Hoax.) Amazon.com has placed an entry for the Holiday Special on its site, leading to rumors that a DVD was to come out soon, but in fact that is something the company does for nearly all movies and television shows that have not yet been released on DVD, to find popular titles and measure the interest of the public.

The only official comment made on the possibility of a DVD release was by Lucasfilm head of fan relations Steve Sansweet. When asked by the IESB if George Lucas has the intention to ever release the holiday special, he replied:

No. It's a very simple answer. George hates the Star Wars Holiday Special, and it's just something that he doesn't like...

A number of unofficial fan releases designed to be burned to DVD-R discs have been created in place of an official release and are distributed online. They vary in quality and content, with one of the better-known versions distributed under the moniker "The Angrysun Edition", supposedly having been transferred from an actual video tape sent in 1978 for broadcast to a TV station.

References

External links

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