By Hayden Alexander
Ah, the Star Wars Holiday Special, the hour and thirty-minute cringe-fest that Star Wars fans would rather forget. It’s like Fight Club, but without the good story, acting, or the fights. Just like Fight Club, we don’t talk about the Star Wars Holiday Special…EVER. As a Star Wars fan of 11 yrs, I had been avoiding this special like the plague. Alas, curiosity got the best of me, and I had to see for myself. Is it as bad as people say? Do they actually sing? Did they seriously just name a Wookie Lumpy? The answer to all these questions is yes.
I have never been able to hate a Star Wars movie, not the Prequels, not the 2008 animated Clone Wars movie, or even the Last Jedi. The Star Wars Holiday special, however. It is the worst thing to ever come out of Star Wars. You thought Jar Jar was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet.
Chewbacca and his family. Top Left:Chewbacca Top Right: Malla Bottom Left:Itchy Bottom right:Lumpy
The story follows Chewbacca as he tries to get home to his family for Life day. His lovely wife Malla, father Itchy, and son Lumpy anxiously await his arrival. My first issue is that nowhere in the Star Wars Canon does it mention that Chewbacca has a wife and kid. More importantly, who names their child Lumpy? What parent thinks to themselves that Lumpy is a good name? Then again his father is named itchy so obviously naming is not their strong suit. As Chewbacca races home with the empire hot on his tail, his family prepares for his arrival. Mala makes Bantha Surprise, Itchy grunts like a camel, and Lumpy entertains himself by breaking the 4th wall. Eventually, Chewbacca makes it home,makes out with his wife, and all is well.
The actual Life day celebration can only be described as a cult style gathering of wookies. It is so odd, one moment the wookies are standing in their home, and the next they are in red robes with little glowing orbs walking into the light.
The acting is subpar at best. All of the new characters are over the top and obnoxious. Trader Saundun (Art Carney) just can’t stop running his mouth. Mermeia Holographic (Diahann Carroll) is the fantasy no one wanted to have. I actually liked Ackmena (Bea Arthur), until she started to sing. Disney had not acquired Star Wars yet so why was everybody breaking out in song? Gormaanda (Harvey Korman) the cooking show host dances around like she is in and 80’s workout video. Whoever was forced to be Chewbacca’s family I hope they were paid well, because they have to live with that embarrassment for the rest of their lives.
Our main trio was only in it for the money and you can tell. Harrison Ford (Han Solo) just seems bored throughout the whole thing. Not only that but it is obvious that Harrison thinks it is all a joke(he is not wrong). Princess Leia’s usual spunk is nowhere to be found in Carrie Fisher’s performance. Mark Hamil (Luke Skywalker) bless him, does his best to breathe some much-needed life into this nightmare. His energy combined with his ability to sell the role is one of the few saving graces for this special, or it was until he gets creepy by asking Malla to smile in a really odd way. Not only does he act animated, but he looks the part. He is almost unrecognizable with all of the makeup on. Yes, I said makeup because this was right after the car accident that scarred his face. Apparently, they didn’t think the audience could handle Hamil’s scare. My own father a Star Wars nerd of 30 or so years could not believe that he was looking at Luke Skywalker.
Leia, Han, and Luke celebrating life day with Chewbacca.
The set design definitely leaves something to be desired. It is not hard to figure out that they filmed this on a tight budget, especially when Chewbacca’s house is covered in green 70’s style shag carpeting. The opening credits aren’t even filmed in the normal Star Wars way. When watching the space battle between Falcon and the tie fighters the Falcon doesn’t even move. The shots of the guns firing are literally just recycled footage. Even the footage of Yavin is reused. They couldn’t even afford to put effort into building a set for Chewbacca’s homeworld. Instead, we were treated to a lackluster painting.
The continuity errors are through the roof in this special. There are tons of things in the show that doesn’t belong, and it is irritating to see how little they cared. Lumpy literally plays a cassette tape, something that has never been in Star Wars. Then later he is seen using a typewriter, which again is nowhere to be found in Star Wars. During the space battle scene, the guns on the falcon are firing, yet no one is in the gunner’s seat.
There is so much fluff in this special, that I guarantee if you cut it all out the runtime would have been cut down to 30 minutes. Malla cooks food, and let me tell ya you do not want to watch a Wookie covered in hair cook. You will lose a good 5 minutes of your life watching Lumpy stare at a creepy holographic circus display. You will want to gouge out your eyes as the grandpa uses a mind machine that creates “fantasies”. You’ll definitely love the Life on Tatooine TV show, and the random music videos. Seriously though, where are the high-stakes space battles, lovable characters, or just a decent story? I did not decide to watch this to see wookies playhouse.
Something that really infuriated me was seeing Lumpy watch Star Wars cartoon within the show. It is a 4th wall break that doesn’t make sense in the story. Maybe I wouldn’t be so perturbed if the animation wasn’t completely horrid. Han Solo literally looks like a freaking potato in the mini-episode.
Lumpy is so creepy, The Ewoks were cute; this thing, however, is a bugged eyed monster. He whines more than Anakin, and since he is a Wookie it is worse. I just wanted to jump through the screen and shut him up myself. You know there is a problem when you are actively rooting for the empire to just kill them all.
The creepiest thing you will ever see in Star Wars.
Do you remember all those old tv shows from the ’70s and ’80s? The ones with the obnoxious space noises that sound like Buck Rogers, Jetsons, and GI-Joe? Even if you don’t just use your imagination, or ask your parents. Take those sound effects, make them 10 times more annoying, and that’s what the Star Wars Special sounds like. Every time the Empire comes on the broadcast system to announce something there is this terrible beeping sound that will make your ears bleed. For some reason, they felt the need to take John Williams’s beautiful music, and twist it into some off-brand swill. Thankfully we got a few gracious moments with his original score. On top of the bad sound design half the time you can’t see what you are watching because it is so blurry. I nearly cried the next day when I saw a movie where everything was visible, and not obscured in a haze.
There were something I enjoyed like when Chewbacca reminisced about all his Happy memories of New Hope. For a good 20 seconds there I got to watch a much better movie. R2-D2 always makes things better, but I was mad that the credits did not mention the wonderful Kenny Baker. Leia caroling at the end foreshadowed her becoming the best Disney princess someday. The beheading of the Bantha stuffie was very entertaining. Personally my favorite moment was when the stormtrooper missed simply because he never even fired his blaster. Chewbacca was right in front of him, and he just stood there like one does.
You know one truly decent thing came out of all of this…Boba Fett. That’s right without special there would be no epic Mandalorian bounty hunter. So next time you watch the Mandalorian just remember to thank the Star Wars Holiday special. I will leave you with that thought 🙂
Boba Fett debut in the 4th wall breaking Star Wars cartoon.
As you prepare for Rise of Skywalker coming out later this week, and you are trying to decide if this disaster of a film should be included in your marathon, don’t. It is not worth your time, nor the annoyance that comes with it. Trust me you rather drink the green milk from Last Jedi than watch this. If you feel so compelled that you just have to see it for yourself, all I can say is may the force be with you.