The notorious “Star Wars Holiday Special” was so bad that it has only aired once on TV. Despite the special never being released on video, there are still some rare copies around. Even George Lucas himself has said, “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.”
However, despite the show’s infamy, there are five things that the Holiday Special did get right, and we count them down here.
All Those Cameos
No matter what anyone says about how pointless all the cameos were in the Holiday Special, it’s always fun seeing your favorite celebrities make a surprise appearance in a show or movie. And when they get a whole storyline to themselves, well then that’s really something special.
One of the best cameo storylines in the Holiday Special showcases Harvey Korman from The Carol Burnett Show, and his attempts to woo Bea Arthur who plays a bartender in the Mos Eisley Cantina (Bonus points for bringing back one of the most iconic sets from the Original Trilogy).
When the rowdy patrons of the cantina refuse to obey a planet-wide curfew imposed by the Galactic Empire, Bea resorts to singing the song “Goodnight, But Not Goodbye,” which causes them to waltz out the door.
More Wookiees is always a good thing, especially when they are related to the most iconic Wookiee of them all. While the scenes involving Itchy (Chewie’s dad), Lumpy (Chewie’s son), and Malla (Chewie’s wife) may be a little weird (like, why these Wookiees wearing snuggies and walking in outer space?) we can all agree that seeing more of Chewbacca’s background is definitely welcome. After all, when compared to his fellow human Rebels, we know next to nothing about the furred giant.
It’s always great when one of your favorite actors reveals a secret talent, and this scene of Carrie Fisher singing is no exception. It’s a special treat in a film with plenty of mistakes, and it truly makes the Holiday Special noteworthy as one of the rare moments we see Carrie break out into song on film. We give this scene bonus points for Harrison Ford’s reaction 30 seconds in. Despite the fact that this scene came out of nowhere, we can forgive Carrie as we can bet she was just as confused as the rest of us.
Considered by many to be the only watchable moment from the entire Holiday Special, this cartoon gives us our first introduction to the famed bounty hunter, Boba Fett. When Luke and Han contract a mysterious virus, Boba Fett teams up with Chewie to find the cure. However, the short takes a dark turn when it is revealed Boba Fett is secretly working with Darth Vader to capture the Rebels.
While it’s significance in the overarching universe of Star Wars is minimal, the short cartoon is one of the only parts of the Special with a coherent plot. Seeing Darth Vader cross paths with Luke, and possibly the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy take shots at the Rebels are just two reasons why people are still watching this cartoon nearly 40 years later.
Another Music Cameo
When Stormtroopers raid Chewie’s home, the Rebels turn to music to distract the invaders. And strangely, it works. Although, like most things, it doesn’t make much sense in the context of the Holiday Special (why are the Stormtroopers even raiding Chewie’s home?!), this goofy moment veils a surprise cameo by ’70s rock group Jefferson Starship, with this catchy tune providing a memorable moment in a Special most seek to forget.