Spe­cial Force

Bon­nie Bur­ton dares to speak up for that Star Wars spin-off

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Opinion - Bon­nie thinks Chew­bacca could start a hair band with the Foo Fight­ers.

Noth­ing says happy hol­i­days more than see­ing Chew­bacca in a long red robe singing next to a not-so-sober Princess Leia, a con­fused Han Solo and Luke Sky­walker and a couple of beep­ing droids. While many Star Wars fans choose to forget the 97-minute trav­esty called The Star Wars Hol­i­day Spe­cial, which de­buted on Amer­i­can TV sets in 1978, I like to re­mem­ber it more like a beloved time when campy va­ri­ety shows made their way to a galaxy far, far away. It’s not like Darth Vader, the Sky­walker clan and even C-3PO and R2-D2 didn’t do guest ap­pear­ances on ev­ery­thing from The Mup­pet Show to Donny & Marie va­ri­ety shows back then. Af­ter all, Star Wars was a hot com­mod­ity, so see­ing Car­rie Fisher as Princess Leia pop up on the orig­i­nal Satur­day Night Live in a skit wasn’t that shock­ing.

When The Star Wars Hol­i­day Spe­cial de­buted in 1978, we were treated not only to an elab­o­rate back­story about Chew­bacca and his fam­ily on his home planet of Kashyyyk, but we also got our first look at bounty hunter Boba Fett in a car­toon dur­ing the show. Even Han Solo, Luke Sky­walker, Princess Leia – all played by the movie’s orig­i­nal ac­tors – got in on the ac­tion.

The main sto­ry­line be­gins when we wit­ness Han Solo and Chew­bacca in the Mil­len­nium Fal­con on their way back to Kashyyyk so they can cel­e­brate the hol­i­day Life Day, which is sort of like Christ­mas mi­nus Santa. But on the way home, Han and Chewie are at­tacked by the Em­pire and are de­layed. The rest of the story sort of goes down­hill from there, but for me, it just starts get­ting good when we see an in­side look at Chew­bacca’s fam­ily do­ing their daily chores and just be­ing them­selves. Think of it like The Only Way Is Es­sex, but for Wook­iees.

The weird thing is, none of it is sub­ti­tled, so you have to guess what the Wook­iees are say­ing to each other when wash­ing the dishes or jam­ming out to Jef­fer­son Star­ship holo­gram mu­sic videos.

While I might be the only fan left in this galaxy who loves the orig­i­nal Star Wars Hol­i­day Spe­cial for its campi­ness and un­usual char­ac­ters, per­haps it’s time to re­boot the spe­cial? Af­ter all, if we can have a bunch of brand new movies, why not give the fans a fresh take on the kind of Star Wars va­ri­ety spe­cial we de­serve now?

The im­proved Star Wars Hol­i­day Spe­cial can fea­ture a mix of ac­tual ac­tors from the new movies, but also mu­si­cal guests who best em­brace the bizarre in­ter­ga­lac­tic na­ture of the fran­chise. Who wouldn’t want to see Lady Gaga or Bey­oncé made up to look like a droid god­dess or the new queen of Na­boo? Per­haps Stephen Fry could be a wise Yoda-like sage, though it would be nice to see him re­in­state his cock­tail-shak­ing prow­ess à la A Bit Of Fry And Lau­rie in the Cantina.

Cos­tumes could be de­signed by Vivi­enne West­wood. Daft Punk could com­pose most of the mu­sic. Add a few ec­cen­tric co­me­di­ans and ac­tors like Noel Field­ing and Alan Carr in the mix, and you’d have a geek­tas­tic hit on your hands.

I’m not the only one who waxes nos­tal­gic when it comes to hol­i­day spe­cials! Shows like Doc­tor Who, Sher­lock and even Top Gear have Christ­mas episodes, so why not Star Wars? If they need a snowy back­drop, they could stage the whole episode on the ice planet of Hoth. Imag­ine the fun Noel Field­ing could have with a Wampa!

“who wouldn’t want to See lady gaga as the new queen of na­boo?”

Illustration by Maria Colino

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