The Star Wars Holiday Special has been buried deep, so deep that many fans don’t even know of its existence. The Special, which aired on CBS in 1978 has become an elusive cult classic due to its bizarre storyline and terrible reviews.
The plot follows Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford and Chewbacca as they travel back to the Wookie home planet of Kashyyyk to celebrate Life Day and meet Chewbaca’s Wookie family.
Star Wars creator George Lucas is not featured in the credits and it’s been claimed that the producer supposedly said at a Star Wars convention: “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of (The Star Wars Holiday Special) and smash it.”
Whilst at Star Wars is most known for The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special which was released in 2020, the original from 1978 has been overlooked and for good reason.
So, what is the Star Wars Christmas Special about and how can you watch it in the UK? Here’s everything you need to know.
What is the Star Wars Holiday Special?
The Star Wars Holiday Special aired on CBS in 1978, one year after the first movie launched to critical acclaim in 1977. Directed by Steve Binder, it was set between the events of the first film and The Empire Strikes Back which was released in 1980.
The storyline follows Han Solo played by Harrison Ford and Chewbacca as they travel back to the Wookie home planet of Kashyyyk to celebrate Life Day, but the pair are being pursued by agents from galactic empire searching for members of the Rebel Alliance who had thwarted Darth Vadar.
Featuring three members of Chewbacca’s family, his father Itchy, his wife Malla, and his son Lumpy, it is also the first time fans are introduced to bounty hunter Boba Fett, who would go on to appear in future films.
Was George Lucas involved?
Lucas is uncredited in the special and has distanced himself from any involvement, although it is rumoured that he produced it.
In an interview with Harrison Ford on the Conan O’Brien Show, Conan said: “A Christmas Special came out, that was produced by George Lucas.” Adding: “And the tapes been passed around for years, and the rumour is that Lucas is trying to suppress it ‘cause none of you look happy while you’re making this thing.”
Reported by Esquire, Carrie Fisher, who was gifted a copy of the special claimed: “George won’t let anyone have (The Holiday Special).”
Whilst Salon reported that the producer had supposedly said at a Star Wars convention: “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of (The Star Wars Holiday Special) and smash it.”
Who starred in Star Wars Holiday Special?
The entire cast of the original Star Wars movie are included in the Special including Mark Hamil as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Harrison Ford as Hans Solo. As well as the usual lineup, there were additional characters including singer Diahann Carol who plays a hologram, Golden Girls actress Bea Arthur plays a singing cantina, the rock group Jefferson Starship play a holographic music video and Harvey Korman plays a cooking show host.
Here is the cast lineup for the Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978:
- Harrison Ford as Han Solo
- Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca
- Mark Hamil as Luke Skywalker
- Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia
- Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
- James Earl Jones as Darth Vader
- Gabriel Dell as Boba Fett
You can watch a restored trailer for the special on YouTube below:
Does it still exist?
Despite taking place in a galaxy far, far away, the Special does still exist, but trying to hunt down a copy of it won’t be easy. The feature has all but been forgotten, with actors and Lucas reluctant to speak about it, because of this it has became a cult classic for its 1970s quirk, despite its bizarre storyline.
Where can I watch the Star Wars Holiday Special in the UK?
If you want to watch the infamous holiday special, it’s going to be hard to find a copy, the special was never released on home video and currently is not available to stream on online platforms such as Netflix, Disney Plus or Amazon Prime Video. Currently the only place you can watch it in the UK is on YouTube.