If one wanted to discover the origins of George Lucas‘ self proclaimed “control freak” tendencies vis a vis the “Star Wars” universe, one could arguably trace them back to November 1978. This was the year of the now universally reviled “Star Wars: Holiday Special,” a “Star Wars”-themed TV event that aired only once on CBS. By now, if you’re a “Star Wars” freak, you’ve likely seen it. Or at least tried to watch it. In a storyline that saw Chewbacca and Han Solo visit Kashyyyk, the Wookie’s home world, to celebrate Life Day, the notorious holiday special is known to fans as the first time the “Star Wars” brand went horribly wrong (decades before Jar Jar Binks).
“We let them use the characters and stuff and that probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but you learn from those experiences,” Lucas said in 2005. The “Star Wars” creator had little to do with its production and once allegedly said, “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.” In 2010, Carrie Fisher joked in a New York Times talk that she showed the special at holiday parties, “mainly at the end of the night when I want people to leave.” Suffice to say it is abysmal and one of the longest 97 minutes in the history of television. While there’s a “story” involved (with Chewbacca’s son Lumpy. No, seriously), one can see it just as an excuse to throw musical segments together with celebrity appearances (which include Jefferson Starship, Diahann Carroll, Art Carney, Harvey Korman, and Bea Arthur).
Christmas might be over, but the holidays are technically in full swing. So try this out for a test. If you’ve seen it before, try and see how long you can stand to watch it before closing the window. And or, try and see how long a loved one who has never caught it can stand it for. Or, if you’ve never seen it before, we dare you to try and sit through it all in one sitting.