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The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

Chewbacca and Han Solo try to get to the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk to celebrate Life Day, but are impeded by an Imperial blockade. Chewie's family passes the time with various forms of entertainment.

Directors:

Steve Binder, David Acomba (uncredited)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Hamill ... Luke Skywalker
Harrison Ford ... Han Solo
Carrie Fisher ... Princess Leia Organa
Anthony Daniels ... C-3PO
Peter Mayhew ... Chewbacca
Kenny Baker ... R2-D2 (as R2-D2)
James Earl Jones ... Darth Vader (voice)
Bea Arthur ... Ackmena (as Beatrice Arthur)
Art Carney ... Saun Dann
Diahann Carroll ... Mermeia Holographic Wow
Marty Balin ... Holographic Band Singer (as The Jefferson Starship)
Craig Chaquico ... Holographic Band Member (as The Jefferson Starship)
David Freiberg ... Holographic Band Singer (as The Jefferson Starship)
Paul Kantner ... Holographic Band Member (as The Jefferson Starship)
Harvey Korman ... Krelman / Chef Gormaanda / Amorphian Instructor
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Storyline

It is Life Day, a holiday that is celebrated on Chewbacca's home planet of Kashyyyk. Chewie and Han Solo are trying to get to the planet where Chewie's family is waiting for him, but the Empire is out searching for the rebels, giving everyone a hard time. While we are waiting, we get a look at the everyday life of a Wookiee family. We meet all the familiar characters from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and we are introduced to Boba Fett during a short cartoon. We also pay a visit to the Cantina and meet all the monsters again. Written by Kynde

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Luke Skywalker and Han Solo battle evil Imperial forces to help Chewbacca reach his imperiled family on the Wookiee planet - in time for Life Day, their most important day of the year! See more »


Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 November 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The 'Star Wars' Christmas Special See more »

Filming Locations:

Burbank, California, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | (re-cut) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Producer Mitzie Welch, the sequence with Diahann Carroll was intended to be "soft-core porn that would pass the censors." See more »

Goofs

In the original film, the Millennium Falcon's flight deck had room for five people to be in the same shot together, a back panel of flashing lights, and a distinctive round blue VDU display high above Chewbacca's left shoulder. The flight deck is much smaller in this show, and the backdrop is obviously just a painted wall. The television special was filmed, on video tape, on a soundstage in Burbank, Hollywood, while the original Millennium Falcon set footage was filmed on 35mm film at Elstree film studios in England. See more »

Quotes

Han Solo: He says our friend Boba found serum for the talisman virus.
Luke Skywalker: Boba, you're a hero and a faithful friend. You must come with us.
[R2 bleeps]
Luke Skywalker: What's the matter with R2?
C-3PO: I'm afraid, sir, it's because you said Boba's a friend and faithful ally. That does not feed properly into R2's information bank.
Luke Skywalker: What are you talking about?
C-3PO: We've intercepted a message between Boba and Darth Vader, sir. Boba Fett is Darth Vader's right-hand man. I'm afraid this whole adventure has been an Imperial plot.
Boba Fett: We'll meet ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

R2-D2 as R2-D2 See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Ramblings Holiday Special (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Good Night But Not Goodbye
(uncredited)
Performed by Bea Arthur
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

The End of Innocence
28 May 2002 | by theoldcrowSee all my reviews

I was 14 when this thing originally aired. It galls me to this day, and here is why:

A little more than a year earlier, an awesome film with spectacular cinematic production values was released. It was called Star Wars. Not "A New Hope", not "Episode IV"...just..."Star Wars". And it blew everything else away. You can tell when certain films create a defining moment: the science-fiction film genre is neatly divided into 'before Star Wars' and 'after Star Wars'. This was something that even "2001: A Space Odyssey" couldn't do, even if it was (and still is) the pinnacle of writing and directing science-fiction for the big screen. The reason was simple: Star Wars connected profoundly with *every* kid's 'wanna be an astronaut/fireman/policeman when I grow up' youthful fancy, even if the 'kids' were thirty-somethings (or older!). Star Wars, in its pre-episodic release, was a wonderfully simple story, not the muddled-with-forward-and-backward-references, vastly more complex story the saga was to become. It is this simplicity I sometimes miss, perhaps because it reminds me of a time when my own life was less complicated.

When rumors of the 'Holiday Special' began, I recall it actually being looked upon as eagerly anticipated, at least among the people I knew at the time. This was mid-1978, probably when the actual holiday special footage was being recorded. Already the first indications of a new Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back, were public knowledge, so this holiday special just *had* to be built along the same production values as the films. Or so I (and a lot of others) thought. I should have known better, the special being for television and not cinema. When the Holiday Special aired, I was ready to be transported to that galaxy far, far away and be dazzled all over again...

The opening was promising, what with Han and Chewie being chased down by Imperial Star Destroyers and so on, yet even this opening teaser had an omen of doom attached, that being when Han said something like "That's the spirit, you'll be celebrating Life Day before you know it!" Han wasn't the only one beginning to get a bad feeling about this. The opening credits are when I actually started to fear the worst. These were NOT film-optical titles! They were video-overlays. The problem is, I just saw a scene obviously shot on film. And why are all these sitcom/variety show actors in the billing? Then it began to hit me: stock footage was going to represent actual Star Wars content, and the rest is going to be a nightmare version of the Carol Burnett Show. This wasn't going to be on the same planet of production values as Star Wars, let alone the same room. And I was exactly right! For the next 2 hours I watched, hoping in vain for some sort of payoff that justified the unfolding tragedy. Today, I remember only two distinct moments in the Holiday Special that got a reaction out of me: 1) I was p***ed off when the Imperial Stormtrooper broke the kid's crystal radio 2) I reasonably liked the animated bit.

After it was all over, I remember being angry. Not because I'd just been subjected to a crappy variety show with the Star Wars nameplate attached, but that this was broadcast nationwide and that a LOT of people (kids my age in particular) weren't going to be able to deal with that ineffable 'spark of magic' that made Star Wars such a delight being doused in a bucket of water. The almost-naive innocence that Luke Skywalker brought forth in all of us was gone forever, because we had just seen the magic turned into crap.

It would be another two years before Empire's release. Only then did most of the harm get undone. But not entirely. ESB is by far the best written of the five theatrical films that exist as of this writing, but with ESB began the complex story telling. And while the story in ESB was well-told, it comes with a price: Luke's actual loss-of-innocence visibly marks the point when Star Wars ceased to be a childhood delight and transcended into epic storytelling. If the Holiday Special had aired after ESB, I wouldn't have been so angry. At least our innocence would have been plausibly lost as we settled into watching a mature story, instead of rudely torn from our souls by a bunch of hack TV writers.


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