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‘The Star Wars Holiday Special’ is the Pinnacle of Awful and Misery

At least we got the original cast back, right? Not even that saves it. None of them could bring a sliver of hope to this special. Rather, they bring dread as we witness the light leaving from their eyes.

The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

2 / 5
05 / 5

To celebrate Star Wars Day, I thought it would be fun to watch and review The Star Wars Holiday Special, which is deemed as one of the worst — if not, the worst — thing to come out of the franchise. So, since I didn’t want to suffer alone while watching this monstrosity, I dragged my boyfriend to watch with me.

Fortunately, we’re still together.

Okay, so what makes this special so terrible? Well for one, there isn’t really a story; it’s just a bunch of characters sitting around and watching stuff happen on TV; that’s the majority of the film. Just characters…watching other characters…do stuff…like singing, cooking, constructing a control mechanism…for an hour and thirty minutes. A long hour and thirty minutes.

So what makes this a holiday special? Well, it’s about Life Day of course. Now what’s Life Day you may ask? I have no idea; no one knows; I don’t even think the person who coined Life Day knows. All we know is that the Wookies celebrate it, including Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and his family. Yes, Chewbacca has a family.

Every time I see them, a part of my soul breaks

Chewie has a wife named Mala (Mickey Morton), a father named Itchy (Paul Gale), and a son named Lumpy (Patty Maloney), and we spend a lot of time with them. During our delightful time with the trio as they await for Chewie’s arrival, we’re treated to several minutes of them grunting and growling at each other, but we have no idea what they’re saying because we don’t have any subtitles. We just sit there and watch and question how did we get here? Why does this exist? Who thought that this was a good idea?

At least we got the original cast back, right? Not even that saves it. Even though they got Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and even James Earl Jones to reprise their roles, none of them could bring a sliver of hope to this special. Rather, they bring dread as we witness the light leaving from their eyes.

Luke Skywalker actually died twice, the first time was in this special

Not only do we have the original cast, but we also get other celebrities such as Bea Arthur, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll, and Harvey Korman. I don’t know how they all got wrapped in on this, but it’s strange. Everything about this special is strange.

During one point of the special, Lumpy watches a Star Wars cartoon, which initiates Boba Fett’s first appearance. Yes, the iconic character shows up for the first time within a cartoon within a special that was only shown once on live television before it was ripped off the air.

He’s here to save the plot…for only a few minutes

The cartoon is alright, but that’s not really saying much. I think it would’ve been appreciated more if the characters weren’t so hideous.

Han’s face looks like it’s trying to melt off his head

Another part that was kind of alright — and again, that’s not saying much — was a segment where Bea Arthur’s character has to close down her bar because the Empire wants it closed for some reason. Arthur sings a song that’s actually quite nice and it almost makes me curious to know more about the bar. Like, why would the Empire — the Empire — close it down? It makes no sense. What, did Darth Vader have an awful drink there one time and swore vengeance?

Okay, going back to the bad. Not only is this special bad, it’s boring. As I said, it’s mostly just characters sitting down to watch stuff on TV. During one part of the special, some Empire troops break into Chewie’s house, but one officer ends up sitting down and watching a holographic Jefferson Starship concert for five minutes. Again, it’s dumb and makes no sense.

I also haven’t gotten to the weirdest part.

So, uh…Itchy is hooked to this virtual reality device where Diahann Carroll’s character is — in best terminology to keep this PG — flirting with him. It’s very awkward, especially when we cut back to Itchy who’s definitely having a good old time. As for us viewers, we want to gouge our eyes out.

Overall, The Star Wars Holiday Special is truly something to behold. It’s a marvel that this even got made, George Lucas himself doesn’t even want to acknowledge its existence. No one in the cast does. Yet, it still gets talked about because it’s such a catastrophe. There’s no escape.

No. Escape.
Two different female characters are played by men (notably Malla).
Originally written by Lauren Massuda on May 4, 2020