|The Star Wars Holiday Special|
|Happy Life Day!|
|Riffers||Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett|
|Series||Star Wars (Series)|
|Date Released||December 10, 2007|
The Star Wars Holiday Special is a 1978 TV movie set in the Star Wars galaxy. The main storyline of the film transpires on the Wookiee home planet of Kashyyyk. Chewbacca and Han Solo visit the planet to celebrate the Wookiee holiday Life Day with his family, which includes his wife Malla, his son Lumpy and his father Itchy. As Chewbacca and Han are known Rebel agents, they are pursued by the Galactic Empire, who in the process invade Chewbacca's household. The plot is strung together by a series of musical numbers, celebrity appearances, and other variety-show acts, including songs and comedy routines by such 1970s celebrities as Jefferson Starship, Diahann Carroll, Art Carney, Harvey Korman, and Bea Arthur.
Star Wars creator George Lucas's involvement in the special's production was limited, and he was unhappy with the final product. As a result, it has never been re-aired in the US or been officially released on home video, but has been widely bootlegged by fans. The Holiday Special is important for being the first film-length Star Wars story to appear following the release of the original Star Wars, for featuring cameos by all of that film's major cast, and for introducing the character Boba Fett.
Synopsis and Preview
On Life Day (a Wookiee holiday similar to Christmas), Chewbacca, accompanied by Han Solo, is headed home to see his family. Along the way, the duo are chased by two Star Destroyers, but they escape into hyperspace.
Meanwhile, on Kashyyyk, Chewbacca's family is preparing for his return. Malla attempts (unsuccessfully) to prepare a meal, the instructions of which are being aired via a local cooking show by an eccentric four-armed alien cook, Chef Gormaanda. Hoping to find the Millennium Falcon, she runs a computer scan for starships in the area, but is unsuccessful. Malla contacts Luke Skywalker, who, along with R2-D2, is working on his X-wing starfighter. Luke tells her that he does not know what happened. Malla contacts Saun Dann, a local human trader. He tells her through a carefully worded message that Han and Chewbacca are on their way and should be arriving soon.
Saun Dann arrives with Life Day gifts for everyone. Back on the Falcon, Chewbacca and Han have just come out of hyperspace not far from Kashyyyk. Han notices an increased Imperial presence, so they decide to land in an unguarded area to the north. As they enter the atmosphere, Lumpy hears the roaring of the ship. Believing Han and Chewie might be arriving, Malla opens the door, but instead finds two Stormtroopers and officers.
The Imperials force their way into the house. An officer orders a search for Chewbacca. As they search, Saun Dann and the others attempt to distract them with food and Malla's music video box (which features a video by Jefferson Starship). When the music finishes, the head officer orders the search to continue. 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 shows 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. Upon landing, they run into Fett, who claims to want to help them after saving Luke from a giant monster that attacks him from behind. They all board the Falcon, where Han has been infected by a mysterious sleeping virus caused by the talisman. Luke then contracts the virus as well.
Fett and Chewie go into Panna City to get the cure. 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. On the Falcon, as C-3PO is caring for Han and Luke, R2-D2 intercepts the call between Vader and Fett, causing worry for C-3PO. Evading the Imperials, Fett and Chewie return to the Falcon with the cure. After everyone recovers from the virus, they learn of Fett's true allegiances. Fett blasts away in his jet pack, promising that they'll meet again. Everyone then escapes from the planet, and back to the rebel base on board the Falcon.
When the cartoon finishes, Lumpy works to create a translation device from his Amorphian machine that will fool the Imperials into returning to their base by faking their commander's voice. To do so, he first must watch the manual for the device, being presented by a malfunctioning, incompetent robot (Harvey Korman again).
While the Imperials are all searching downstairs, the living room viewscreen activates, announcing that Tatooine is now being put under curfew by the Empire, due to "subversive forces." The video is announced as required viewing for all Imperial forces and much of it features Ackmena running the Mos Eisley Cantina. Part of the scene is shown in the bar. Ackmena is approached by an admirer: Krelman, an amorous alien, who misunderstood something she said to him the other night. When The Empire announces the curfew, Ackmena announces "last drink," and when the creatures ignore her, she sings a song, "Good night, but not goodbye" set to the "Cantina Band" theme. Lumpy uses this opportunity to put his plan into motion, faking a repeated call for the Imperials 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 and realizes they were tricked. He finds Lumpy and destroys the machine, then chases Lumpy outside.
As they both run onto the deck, Han and Chewbacca arrive. He says good bye to Han and stays with his family. Chewie protects Lumpy as Han dispatches the stormtrooper. After reuniting with everyone, an Imperial officer appears on the viewscreen, giving a general alert for the missing stormtrooper. Saun Dann quickly says that the trooper stole food and supplies and deserted, and the officer says he will send out a search party. The danger averted, the family prepares to go the festival at the Tree of Life.
The family is 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 Han. Leia gives a short speech on the meaning of Life Day and sings a song in celebration, to the tune of the Star Wars theme, missing the high note. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Chewbacca remembers his adventures in the previous film and he will somehow comeback to Luke, Han, Leia, R2 and 3PO.
That night, the Wookiee family sit around the feast table, celebrating the day and being back together again.
Cast and Crew
- Harrison Ford as Han Solo
- Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca
- Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
- Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia
- Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
- Kenny Baker as R2-D2
- Don Francks as Boba Fett
- James Earl Jones as Darth Vader
- Bea Arthur as Ackmena
- Art Carney as Trader Saun Dann
- Diahann Carroll as Mermeia Holographic
- Jefferson Starship as Holographic Band
- Harvey Korman as Various Roles
- Mickey Morton as Malla
- Paul Gale as Itchy
- In 2014, James Cruise of Ronin Fox Trax named this riff as one of his "picks" in his interview with RiffWiki Interviews.