HATE READING? LISTEN TO US TALK ABOUT The Star Wars Holiday Special ON OUR PODCAST ON ITUNES OR WHEREVER YOU LISTEN TO PODCASTS.
In the new world order Disney established last year, December means a new Star Wars movie every year for the foreseeable future. We are all really excited about this new cycle but couldn’t wait the extra few weeks to see a new Star Wars movie. It turned out there was a Star Wars Holiday Special from the 70’s that we somehow all missed. How we missed such a key movie in the series is beyond us, but we set out to rectify the situation. All we really knew about the holiday special was that it revolved around Chewbacca’s family, so we prepared a Wookie-inspired meal.
Wookies are famously just insatiable for green beans, so we knew we’d have to start off with green beans. We put a little Wookie twist on the dish by covering the green beans with Wookie hair from their annual shed. The Wookie shedding routine is actually quite the ceremony. In short, as a Wookie sheds their summer coat in preparation for the winter coat, hair gets absolutely everywhere, as it just so happened to end up in our dish. In reality, they were just frizzled leeks, but they sure looked like wookie hair.
For the main course, we made a pot roast covered in a simple chimichurri sauce. But in our minds, it was actually a moss-covered Kroyie, a rare and flavor delicacy on Kashyyyk, the forested homeworld of Wookies. The Kroyie holds similarities with the Blue-Corn Fungus here on Earth. We may be making all of this up but at least It had the brown and green aesthetic we expected to see all over the movie, since it was set in Kashyyyk. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t even have a Kashyyyk set, they just used a really poor painting of a treehouse as an establishing shot every time the scene changed back to Kashyyyk. On the bright side, the pot roast was anything but disappointing. Tender and juicy, it fell apart easily and took on an unusual but enjoyable flavor with the chimichurri sauce.
Finally, we made gingerbread wookies for dessert, inspired by the Wookie-ookies Chewbacca’s wife Malla made in the movie. Our Wookie-ookies were almost too adorable to eat, with their fur and their little sashes. Almost.
Last time we watched a Star Wars movie we made bantha milk, the blue milk Luke famously drinks on Uncle Owen’s farm. This year, we felt like making something a little more festive, as we were watching the holiday special. Following Saveur‘s extremely boozy Ultimate Eggnog Recipe, we made bantha nog. The bantha nog was similar to eggnog, but much lighter and airier. It was delicious and it hardly felt like we were really drinking any alcohol, but we certainly felt it’s effects.
🙉 Drink while Wookies are talking.
🎼 Drink whenever a new song starts.
🎄 Drink whenever someone says “Life Day.”
First of all, it is important to note that the Star Wars Holiday Special is not a traditional Star Wars movie. This was a made-for-TV variety show meant to capitalize on the hype that the original Star Wars movie brought to the nation earlier in the year, as well as provide a holdover until the next entry in the series (not unlike Rogue One). George Lucas was not involved in the project, and unlike the last Star Wars movie made without him, this one really suffered from his lack of involvement. But since it was a variety show, and not a movie, we felt it would be unfair to blanket the whole special with a single overarching review, and instead will be reviewing each segment separately.
The first twenty minutes of the movie where it was just three Wookies speaking to each other in their native language without any captions – this was a bold move. We’re willing to bet right off the bat the Star Wars Holiday Special started losing viewers as they realized this movie was really just going to be a lot of groaning between three Wookies we struggle to care about.
The Cirque du Soleil acrobatics hologram – here, we realized just how weird of a show this was going to be. This segment was a full five minutes of acrobats stunting to a subdued soundtrack, before the story moved on and they were never referenced again.
The first time the camera changes from the Wookies to Mark Hamill – sweet relief. A recognizable language. A recognizable face…sort of. Hamill had a whole lot of eye shadow on which threw us off a bit. But to be fair it looked good on him. It did feel like he was phoning in the entire “acting” bit though.
The cooking segment – we’re pretty sure the featured celebrity chef (and the writer) have never watched Star Wars and may have been in the midst of a manic breakdown. Mesmerizing, in a way.
The reused-but-re-dubbed footage of Vader walking through the Death Star – felt a little sacrilegious, really.
The infamous Wookie-watching-Human-erotica-on-a-VR-headset-in-the-living-room scene – less sexy, but just as uncomfortable, as we expected. But maybe Scratchy just really needed to be told he was “adorable.”
The Jefferson Starship music video – since the music didn’t thematically match the Star Wars universe whatsoever, we can only assume they were brought on purely because of their name, which was a little too on-the-nose for our taste.
The scene where the storm trooper ripped the head off of Lumpy’s stuffed animal – surprisingly one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in the Star Wars universe. RIP.
The part where Han murdered a storm trooper in front of a child – we know storm troopers are just cannon fodder in these movies but this killing felt really out of place, probably because it was the only one in the movie, minus that stuffed animal. Still heartbroken over that stuffed animal tbh.
The Boba Fett cartoon – we still aren’t sure if we’re meant to think this is presented as a piece of Star Wars history or fiction-within-fiction, but we liked it more than most of the movie. Still, the rest of the movie set the bar pretty low.
The blanket review we said we weren’t going to do – the whole damn thing was weird. We didn’t even touch on the broadway-like showtunes in a bar on Tatooine, the build-your-own-computer instruction video, or the secrete affair Han and Chewie were having with each other. We don’t think we’re necessarily better people having watched the Star Wars Holiday Special.
WANT MORE? LISTEN TO US TALK ABOUT THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL ON OUR PODCAST ON ITUNES OR WHEREVER YOU LISTEN TO PODCASTS.
André: The Dark Side of Star Wars. The Star Wars Holiday Special was a lot of things. It was off-brand, which felt especially strange because there is no brand I am as familiar with as Star Wars, so I was painfully aware how wrong it all was. It lacked purpose. It was weird. It was too long. Most unforgivably, it was boring. And boring doesn’t cut it in Star Wars.
Leanna: Forgotten and hard to find for a reason. This movie was so bad and so strange that it almost feels like a fan project that somehow got more popular than the creator was expecting and now is sometimes confused as part of a large and loved franchise. There were so many decisions in it that were just inexplicable, most prominently the choice to feature extended scenes of Wookies grunting and yelling with no subtitles whatsoever. This movie is best enjoyed with friends so you can drink and talk through the boring bits which is actually just the majority of the film.
Ben: 20%. While I was really glad to have had the opportunity to watch this piece of Star Wars history, there is a reason this film was swept under the rug so much by everyone associated with the project. Also, when Carrie Fisher uses the film to shoo her guests away at the end of the night, you know you have something disastrous on your hands. While this kind of variety show was more popular years ago, this iteration of it really just had no heart or style compared to the original Star Wars films. Some of the musical acts are interesting to see how that music was presented at that time, but over all it hardly feels like the Star Wars I have grown to love. I am hoping that Rogue One can save my dashed Star Wars hopes.