The 1978 The Star Wars Holiday Special is one the cringiest things to ever come from the galaxy far, far away. It was so bad in fact, that it aired only once, despite the involvement of almost the entire main Star Wars cast. It has never seen an official home video release, and don’t even bother looking on Disney+ for it. Now, via ComicBook, we’ve learned that a documentary about how this special ever came to be is on the way, and will premiere at South by Southwest this year. You can watch the trailer for A Disturbance in the Force down below:

Set on the Wookiee home planet, the TV special was a variety “comedy” hour. (Comedy in quotes for a reason.) It focused on Chewbacca’s family celebrating Life Day, with celebrity guests galore. The special circulated for years on bootleg VHS tapes at conventions. Then, it became available in an unofficial capacity online. One YouTuber even remastered it. Lucasfilm has never done anything to crack down on this. Maybe they realized that the genie was long out of the bottle, and there’s no use. Hopefully, in this new documentary, we will finally learn how this train wreck of a cash-in ever went on the air.

Among the folks interviewed are Seth Green, “Weird Al” Yankovic, the late Gilbert Gottfried, Paul Scheer, and writer Bruce Vilanch. In the trailer, Vilanch explains that they even tried to get Cher to be in the special. To her credit, she was wise enough to turn it down. (Although that would have been a sight to see). What other secrets about the making of this infamous pop culture artifact might we learn?


In a weird way, the “bootleg” reputation of the The Star Wars Holiday Special has only made it more popular with fans. And elements of it have survived into official Star Wars canon. The animated short that was part of the special introduced Boba Fett. His unique phase pulse blaster, which looked like a tuning fork, saw use on The Mandalorian. And the planet of Kashyyyk was a major location in Revenge of the Sith. And these days, they honor the Wookiee celebration of Life Day with merch all over Galaxy’s Edge. Even the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special probably wouldn’t be a thing if Star Wars hadn’t gone there first. So it’s about time it got its props, even if everyone involved is embarrassed by it today.

SXSW takes place in Austin, Texas on March 10-19.

Originally published on January 12, 2023.

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