There are some poorly misinformed Star Wars fans in this world who believe that The Phantom Menace is the worst film out of all of them. They are wrong. Anyone who says otherwise has no idea what they are talking about.
No, I’m not going to be one of those people who will say that The Force Awakens was worse than Episode I – and yes, I have heard that lunacy before. I’m talking about something called The Star Wars Holiday Special. It is, without a doubt, one of the most cringeworthy, horrible things ever produced. I’m cringing just thinking about it.
Released just a year after A New Hope, The Star Wars Holiday Special unfortunately debuted in 1978 and disappeared soon after. To this day, there is no official way to get your hands on it. George Lucas did his best to wipe it from our collective memories, but it still rears its ugly head every once in a while. Understandably, this time is usually during the holidays. And I’m just the kind of evil person who wants the whole entire world to know about it. Sorry, George.
I’m kidding, of course – I’m not doing this to be evil. It’s quite the opposite. In fact, I consider this blasphemous holiday abomination to be quite…amusing. Which is why I would like to share it with you all. Because you’re my friends. My only friends in the entire world, all three of you.
The basic outline of the story is that Chewie needs to get home to Kashyyyk for Life Day. Two star destroyers pursue them, however, and they run a bit off course. Back home, Chewbacca’s family is preparing for him. But no one has any idea as to what any of them are talking about because it’s spoken entirely in Wookie without subtitles. This goes on for a little over ten minutes, right after the scene of Chewie and Han in the Millenium Falcon, which, surprisingly, showed some promise. But don’t worry. Any hope that the rest of the film would be any good is completely shattered after only one minute, in which the spoken acting credits begin.
Dear God. Watching this again is like having a severe flashback of something you had always assumed was nothing more than a psychotic dream.
Before we go any further, I have a question for you. Are you one of the multitudes of screaming rock fans who have been begging for a band like Jefferson Starship to combine their talents with the cast of Star Wars? Because if you are, you’re in luck. That’s something that happens. Yes. For real.
Look, you’re an adult. I think you can handle this. If you’re interested, some maniac has uploaded the entire thing to YouTube. See it for yourself, then read on. If you’ve seen it before, you may want to refresh your memory. Trust me; it’s absolutely hilarious. Especially musical Leia.
So, here’s the thing though. There actually was one good thing that came from it. In The Star Wars Holiday Special, the animated segment which introduces the world to Boba Fett is pretty good. It’s just squished in the middle of the rest of this mess, however, and pretty much buries it.
You may be asking how something like this happened. To be quite honest, I don’t really know. There’s been some debate as to who was responsible for this, and in my opinion, it seems like George Lucas did have a hand in this, despite him saying otherwise.
Supposedly, CBS were the ones who originally brought up the idea to George. Fine. I can believe that. It seems like a reasonable financial move, especially while the initial boom of interest in the film is in full swing. But sources do claim that it was Lucas’ idea to have the Wookies speak to each other in their own language. So there’s that. He would not be there for the actual filming of the special, but he would oversee it and approve each day’s footage. Which I believe to be true.
You see, for Lucas to completely deny any of this is just ludicrous. After all, Star Wars is George Lucas’ personal vision. Especially after the first film, before there ended up being way too many cooks in the kitchen, how could he simply give all of his creative control over to someone else? Things like that just don’t happen with people as ingenious as Lucas.
And yes, he is a genius. Despite his failures (Jar-Jar), the man is a visionary. Sometimes even visionaries take steps in the wrong direction.
The special would air only once. This fateful day would come on November 17th, 1978, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. This may possibly be the most grueling yet hilarious two hours of Television history.
George Lucas seems to have at least a tiny bit of good humor about it, however. He’s gone on record saying that,
If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.
This is obviously a bit tongue-in-cheek, although I know he’s serious about it. See, the thing is, he should be embracing this, much like Tommy Wiseau would. It’s bad. We all know it’s bad. But denying it’s existence and making it nearly impossible to obtain only makes the legend grow stronger. In the end, people would most likely give it much less attention if it was simply a bonus disc on A New Hope or just a special release. I don’t think many people would really spend money on it unless they’re obsessed with watching the worst movies ever made (hello, me, yes me, I would buy this).
Alas, here we are, and in 2016, the legend is still alive. It only grows more and more hilarious each year that goes by without an official release. You know how to stop this, Lucas.
Use the force – release it. What’s the worst that could happen?