Christmas Entertainment

Why Disney+ Should Release The Star Wars Holiday Special

Hidden from the public since the 1978 Christmas season, now is the perfect time for Disney to officially release the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special for streaming.

by | May 4, 2023

Original TV Ad for The Star Wars Holiday Special which aired in 1978 and should be released on Disney Plus

The Star Wars franchise has been a cultural phenomenon since the release of the first movie, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, in 1977. The franchise has spawned numerous movies, TV shows, books, and merchandise, but there is one part of the franchise that has remained shrouded in mystery and infamy: The Star Wars Holiday Special.

Released on November 17, 1978, the holiday special was a made-for-TV movie that was met with critical disdain but has since become a cult classic. While it isn't exactly difficult to track down a copy of the film online, it still has not been released in any official capacity since its original TV airdate. With numerous references across all forms of media, including a new documentary specifically about the film titled A Disturbance In The Force, now is the perfect time for Disney to finally make the special available for streaming.

What is the Star Wars Christmas Special?

The Star Wars Holiday Special was a made-for-TV movie that aired on CBS on November 17, 1978. The movie was a variety show that featured characters from the original Star Wars movie, including Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca. The special follows Chewbacca and Han Solo as they try to make it home to celebrate the Wookiee holiday of Life Day, while encountering various obstacles and other characters from the Star Wars universe. That's right, the infamous Star Wars Christmas Special isn't actually about Christmas. While it is modelled after Christmas and variety specials of the time, and features common themes of family and hope, there is no actual Christmas in the special. 

It may have been the lack of Christmas, or just the general awfulness, but The Star Wars Holiday Special was met with critical disdain upon its release. It has since become infamous for its poor quality and bizarre content. Many fans of the Star Wars franchise consider the special to be the worst part of the franchise's history, and it has been largely ignored by Disney, the current owner of the Star Wars franchise.

The Saga Of The Star Wars Holiday Special

The Star Wars Holiday Special was produced by CBS and was intended to capitalize on the success of the first Star Wars movie, which had been released the year before. The special was written by a team of writers that included Bruce Vilanch, who is known for his work on the Academy Awards telecasts, and Pat Proft, who would go on to write for movies like The Naked Gun and Police Academy.

The Holiday special featured many of the original actors from the first Star Wars movie, including Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. However, the special also introduced new characters, including Chewbacca's family, which included his wife, Malla, his son, Lumpy, and his father, Itchy.

The special was a variety show that featured musical numbers, comedy sketches, and animated segments. The animated segments featured the first appearance of Boba Fett, a popular character from the Star Wars franchise. However, the special's bizarre content, including a lengthy segment in which Chewbacca's family watches a cooking show, and a musical number featuring Bea Arthur, has made it a cult classic among fans of bad movies.

The Star Wars Holiday Special was only aired once on CBS, and it has never been released on home video. It has become a sought-after collector's item, with bootleg copies circulating among fans. Despite its infamy, The Star Wars Holiday Special is not included as part of the Star Wars canon, although it did contribute quite a few bits of lore that are still recognized. 

Why The Star Wars Holiday Special Should Stream On Disney+

While The Star Wars Holiday Special is often considered to be the worst part of the Star Wars franchise, it has also become a beloved cult classic among fans of bad movies. The special's bizarre content and poor quality have made it a source of entertainment and amusement for fans of the franchise.

The special's cultural significance cannot be ignored, and its release on Disney+ would be a significant event for fans of the franchise. The special's release would also provide a rare opportunity for fans to see the original cast of the Star Wars franchise reunited in a new setting.

Additionally, the Star Wars Christmas special's release on Disney+ would provide an opportunity for the special to be re-integrated into the official Star Wars canon. Despite its poor quality, the Christmas special does contain elements that are considered canon by Star Wars fans, such as the first appearance of Boba Fett in the animated segment. With the popularity of shows like The Mandalorian on the streaming platform, there are plenty of viewers who would watch the special just out of the curiosity of seeing the first appearance of a Mandalorian in the Star Wars universe. 

And with the reintegration of characters and lore into the franchise, Disney can also capitalize on merchandising opportunities. What collector wouldn't want an official Star Wars Black Series Art Carney or Bea Arthur action figure?

The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special

In 2020, Disney+ released The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, a new Christmas-themed special that pays homage to the original Star Wars Holiday Special in a humorous and self-aware way. Unlike its predecessor, the Lego special has received positive reviews from both fans and critics alike, and even features a touch of Christmas Spirit. 

The Lego special follows fan-favorite characters from the latter trilogy such as Rey, Finn, Poe, and BB-8 as they travel through time to visit various eras and events from the Star Wars saga. Along the way, they encounter beloved characters from the franchise's history, including Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Emperor Palpatine.

The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special is a fun and lighthearted addition to the Star Wars holiday canon. It acknowledges the original special's place in Star Wars history while also poking fun at its flaws and shortcomings. The special is a great example of how Star Wars can be enjoyed in different ways and formats while still maintaining the franchise's spirit and humor. With the popularity of this new animated special on Disney+, the original Holiday Special would make a perfect "watch next" on the platform.

A Disturbance In The Force - A Star Wars Documentary

A Disturbance In The Force is a star-studded documentary covering the entire saga of The Star Wars Holiday Special. It features more eclectic celebrity cameos than the holiday special itself, including Kevin Smith, Weird Al Yankovic, Seth Green, Donny Esmond and Gilbert Gottfried. The documentary covers behind the scenes stories of how it got made and follows its infamous legacy, while including clips and segments from the special itself. With a new documentary and a resurgence of interest in the special, now is the perfect time for a proper release. 
Here's the official trailer for the upcoming documentary:

By releasing the Star Wars special on Disney+, fans would be able to experience this infamous piece of Star Wars history and see for themselves why it has become such a cult classic for all the wrong reasons. Furthermore, by officially releasing the special, Disney would be acknowledging the importance of this piece of Star Wars history and demonstrating its commitment to preserving and celebrating the franchise's legacy.

Plus, who doesn't want to see Chewbacca's family watching a cooking show or Bea Arthur singing in the cantina? As Yoda would say, "Release the Christmas special, you must."

Disney Plus, you're our only hope!

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