Everyone loves Star Wars, right? The majestic scope of a galaxy far, far away. The beloved and iconic characters. The decades of canon and millennia of densely packed history. But there’s another version of our favorite space opera that had the potential to change the face of the franchise forever, one that George Lucas tried to make disappear.
We are, of course, talking about the infamous Star Wars Holiday Specialfrom 1978. This one-off TV extravaganza has since become notorious as the most surreal, outlandish moment in the annals of the franchise. For some of us, though, it holds a special place in our hearts. It’s been parodied, dissected, and revisited nearly every year since it aired 39 years ago. This holiday season we’re going to look back at the much maligned special in a different way by examining how it could’ve impacted canon had it not been written out of history.
Religion would exist outside of the Extended Universe
The special revolves around Chewbacca and Han trying to get back to Kashyyyk so Chewie can celebrate Life Day with his family. The festivities are obviously an analogue for Christmas and would’ve been the first canon introduction of the idea of religion into mainstream Star Wars canon. In the Expanded Universe there are almost 80 religious groups, but Chewie’s family celebration of Life Day would’ve been the first canon allusion to organized religion in the galaxy.
Virtual reality space porn
The technology of Star Wars has often been one of the most interesting parts of the legend and lore of the franchise. During one of the special’s oddest moments, Chewie’s dad Attichitcuk is treated to a sensual VR dance from a water-being named Mermeia, played by Diahann Carroll. This unforgettable moment means the holiday special would’ve introduced a startlingly strange and prescient piece of tech into canon with a virtual reality erotica machine.
A new planetary system in Panna
One of the highlights of the Holiday Special is a Moebius-esque animated segment by Canadian studio Nelvana. The sequence features the Millennium Falcon crashing onto a moon in the Panna system. This would’ve introduced the new planet and system into canon, creating a whole new landscape for the space adventurers to explore.
Boba Fett’s first appearance
During the animated segment “The Story of the Faithful Wookiee,“ which introduced Panna, an iconic character was introduced years before he ever made his first appearance in The Empire Strikes Back. Boba Fett, everyone’s favorite bounty hunter, is the star of the 11 minute short. At first appearing to be an ally, it’s later revealed that he’s working for Vader to find the rebels. This would’ve been a fantastic easter egg had it survived to become canon.
The Empire knows where Chewie lives
One of the more ridiculous moments of the Holiday Special is when the Imperial troopers force their way into Chewie’s home whilst Malla is preparing the Life Day dinner. The fact that they do nothing more that slightly mess up the house is a funny sidenote, but the moment would’ve had huge ramifications if it’d become canon. It means the Empire would’ve known Chewie and his family’s whereabouts, putting them in constant danger and making it far harder for him to be a part of the Resistance.
Bea Arthur would’ve joined canon earlier
Of all of the eclectic cameos, the most unforgettable goes to Golden Girl Bea Arthur. A nightshift bartender at the iconic cantina bar introduced in A New Hope, she has to encourage the rowdy patrons to leave after a curfew is enforced by the Empire, and of course she does it with song. Though she was recently added to mainstream Star Wars canon in two stories from the recent collection A Certain Point of View, this would’ve seen Bea Arthur become a part of Star Wars canon 39 years earlier.
Jefferson Starship would be Star Wars characters
Though their band was never given a name, Jefferson Starship starred in the Holiday Special lip-syncing along to “Light the Sky on Fire,” a single recorded especially for the show. Live music has rarely been a part of main Star Wars canon, but the few appearances have usually become iconic. Sadly for Jefferson Starship, their song was a hit on Kashyyyk but they never quite reached the canon-approved heights of Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes.
Have you ever seen the Star Wars Holiday Special? Is there you something you wished had been committed to canon forever? Do you just love Lumpy and want to name your kids after him? Let us know in the comments!
Images: Lucasfilm, Disney