Back before the Skywalker sequels, “Rogue One,” “Solo,” and even before “Empire Strikes Back,” there was a another film set in a galaxy far, far away that most people seem to have forgotten: the “Star Wars Holiday Special.”
The “Holiday Special” is widely considered to be the worst “Star Wars” content ever created, and is very difficult to find. The 98-minute film premiered on CBS in 1978, and was immediately hated by most everyone. The film was never rebroadcast, and has never been released onto home video. It doesn’t even appear on Disney+, and there isn’t much that you can’t find on Disney+. There is a Lego remake on there, though!
The film features Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fischer, and most of the other main actors from the original trilogy, and centers around Chewbacca’s family on their home planet of Kashyyyk. Turns out, Chewbacca has a father named Itchy, a wife named Malla, and a son named Lumpy.
One major issue about centering an entire feature length movie on a planet of Wookies is that Wookies do not speak English. Additionally, there are no subtitles. This style works fine in the mainline films, where Han or another character can translate the occasional line for the audience. When the whole movie is in Wookie, however, it just makes it really hard to understand.
Past that, the movie is really, really weird. The Wookies watch a cooking show, there’s a musical number and an extended hand-animated sequence detailing Chewbacca’s adventures in space. The film ends with the Chewbacca family raising glowing orbs up, transporting into space (now wearing red robes), and walking into some sort of giant ball of light for a Life Day ceremony. All of that actually happens.
George Lucas is credited with saying that if he had the time, he would take a sledgehammer to every copy of the “Holiday Special” that exists. It’s clear to see why – it is really, truly bizarre, and doesn’t fit into the larger “Star Wars” tale at all. Lucas and his co-conspirators were apparently relatively uninvolved with the film’s production, choosing instead to budget their time to work on “Empire Strikes Back.” You can see if that choice was worth it, since the whole special is available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.