A famous still from the film showing the wookie family celebrating Life Day together.

Star Wars Holiday Special

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The Star Wars Holiday Special is a 1978 TV movie that serves as a hidden installment of George Lucas’s space opera series Star Wars. It takes place between Star Wars: Episode IV, a New Hope and Star Wars: Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back. Despite having a canonical role in the Star Wars saga, most fans reject the special’s existence, due to it being recognized as one of the worst movies of all time.


On November 17th, 1978, The Star Wars Holiday Special premiered. It was the second Star Wars film, as well as the first spin-off of the franchise. Starring the original cast of Mark Hamil, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fischer, Peter Mayhew, and Anthony Daniels, as well as a number of comedians and musicians, the special was meant to follow Chewbacca and Han Solo’s desperate venture to evade the Empire so that Chewbacca may return to his home planet in time for the Wookies’ Life Day. The opening credits of the movie (clip seen below)[1] lists the cast of characters and introduces several new characters, including Chewbacca’s wife (Malla), father (Itchy), and son (Lumpy).

The movie aired only once in its entirety. The original cast expressed overwhelmingly negative opinions on the special. Allegedly, Harrison Ford did not want to participate in the special at all. At a convention in Australia, Director George Lucas was asked about the film, and he gave this remark,[2] which has since become as famous as the movie itself:

If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every bootlegged copy of that program and smash it.


A majority of the film is devoted to watching Chewbacca’s family interact with one another through untranslated Wookie sounds. Malla and Lumpy spend most of the film watching video tutorials and holographic dancers, while Itchy watches adult content through a VR headset. Malla expresses concern that Chewbacca has not yet arrived and calls his friends for help. Eventually, stormtroopers invade the wookie family's treehouse, but they are defeated easily by Han Solo. In the end, Chewbacca and his family celebrate Life Day, and Princess Leia performs a song to a group of wookies singing life day carols, the tune of which follows the Star Wars theme.[3]


While the movie was deemed rotten with only a 27% favorable score on Rotten Tomatoes with 15 critic reviews, it went on to be beloved by many due to the many bad qualities it possesses. Chewbacca’s son Lumpy quickly became a fan favorite due to his human-like face and mannerisms and became popular in many memes, and fans began to use "more Lumpy" as a call to action beneath content related to the special.

With overwhelmingly negative reviews, the special failed to make a positive impact on fans or continue the Star Wars story. Ultimately, the only part of the special tying it into the Star Wars franchise in a meaningful way is an animated short halfway through the special (seen below) that first introduces the character Boba Fett to the Star Wars universe. However, this animation was also panned by critics and viewers alike for its perceived distortion of characters' faces and overall low-budget feel.

Online Presence

The Star Wars Holiday Special was mocked since its release; however, since it never aired again, finding clips for memes and jokes was uncommon until 2016, when the movie was uploaded in its entirety to YouTube and has not yet been struck with a copyright claim. However, the earliest known clip (seen below) appearing online from the special was this clip uploaded on January 28th, 2011, showing the wookies interacting with one another. From Yeti Migoi, it has since received over 56,000 views.[4]

The special is frequently parodied on YouTube. Another popular video (seen below) made from it is this April 29th, 2017 compilation of all wookie sounds in the film, which is approximately six minutes long. Uploaded to YouTube by Wibble, it has received over 30 thousand views.[5]

Many scenes and screenshots of the special were shared as memes within Star Wars communities. For example, this meme (seen below) from 2020 references the animated portion of the sequel; many similar memes about Han's appearance in the cartoon have been made. By Redditor u/PrinceOfMonsters9, it received 748 upvotes and 17 comments on /r/OTMemes.[6]

When you don't see anyone tapping into the meme goldmine that is the Star Wars Holiday Special This does not please

Search Interest

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Top Comments

Chris the Lovable Jerk
Chris the Lovable Jerk

Fun Fact: George Lucas hated the holiday special so much that he wanted Chewbacca's father to appear in Revenge of the Sith and be killed off just so the holiday special would forever be non-canon.

Also, check out Yesterworld's video about the special going into Lucas' original story for it and how much the people in charge deviated from it to make the disaster we all know today.


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