For many very obvious reasons (we’re looking at you, The Santa Clause 3) the suicide rate spikes at Christmas time, so all you Star Wars geeks who’ll be by yourselves this holiday, please resist the temptation to buy yourself a bootlegged copy of the Star Wars Holiday Special. This made-for-TV cash-in released between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back just might be the reason you finally put the blaster in your mouth. This is Star Wars done so badly it would’ve been improved by Ewoks and Jar Jar.
A not-horrible intro features Han Solo and Chewbacca fleeing imperial warships in the Millennium Falcon. Chewie’s in a rush to get home, we find out, because it’s Life Day, some type of quasi-religious Wookie holiday that might as well be called Space Christmas for all intents and purposes. Goofy, but still kind of promising.
Then the credits roll, and you realize that something you love is going to be irreversibly violated. The cast list begins acceptably enough — Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, even Peter Mayhew and James Earl Jones — but when the announcer introduces Chewbacca’s family — wife Malla, son Lumpy, and father Itchy — Christmas is ruined. New characters are obviously being introduced because somebody’s gotta fill up the two-hour-running time on a low-budget holiday variety show, and it’s sure as hell not gonna be the stars of the biggest movie in the world. That duty falls to anonymous nobodies in hair suits and Hollywood Squares-caliber celebrities — Art Carney, Harvey Korman, and (where’s your messiah now?) Bea motherfucking Arthur.
That’s right, Dorothy Zbornak herself plays a Tatooinian bar owner evicting her patrons with a bittersweet musical farewell (sort of) to the tune of the film’s cantina theme. If that’s not reason enough for a true fan to end it all, then how about Marty Balin from Jefferson Starship singing into a dildo-shaped lightsaber, or Art Carney saying, “May the force be with you”? And if the fact that this got made isn’t proof that late ’70s Hollywood was coked out of its mind, check out the concluding Life Day ritual in which (spoiler alert) the Wookies use magic snow globes to transport themselves into outer space, where they walk single file into a star, which transforms into a catacomb where Carrie Fisher treats them to a truly shitty holiday song. Then Chewie thinks about a montage of random clips from the movie, and the whole thing segues seamlessly into an actual toy commercial. Seriously.
And we won’t even discuss the pink furry jugglers in golden diapers, or the scene that seems to imply that the gray and shriveled wookie Itchy is, errr, tilling his own moisture farm, so to speak. I actually had to watch this special twice in a row, not because I enjoyed it, but because I became worried that my first viewing was actually the side effect of a malignant brain tumor. Be sure to stay tuned after the credits for helpful hints on writing a Jedi-themed suicide note and a hidden scene of George Lucas, dressed in a Santa suit, cheerfully sodomizing your childhood memories.