Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters this Friday, marking the first Star Wars film to open during the holiday season. However, it won’t be the first piece of Star Wars history to be associated with the holidays. The Star Wars Holiday Special infamously aired in 1978, the year after the original Star Wars film came out. Though George Lucas provided the outline for the story, he had little involvement with the development of the TV special. Unfortunately, the Holiday Special was a massive failure, and considered one of the most infamous blunders in television history.
George Lucas himself said of the Star Wars Holiday Special, “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.” The special was only broadcast once on November 17, 1978. After that, Lucas prevented the show from ever airing again. It has not been released in any format since, and can only be found through bootleg copies, though these poor-quality copies of the Holiday Special have been digitized and uploaded to the Internet where you can watch it today.
The Holiday Special followed a common trend of the ’70s and ’80s by acting as a frame story for a variety show of some kind. The special contained multiple performances from singers, bands, and comedians of the day. But what would such a holiday special look like if based on The Force Awakens? That is the question that Funny or Die tried to answer with a “hypothetical” holiday special for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which you can watch above.
The hypothetical holiday special stars Jason Alexander, Lydia Hearst, and others, but also (like the original) features musical groups. In this case, the hypothetical holiday special features Train. The new special follows a similar structure as the original, though much more condensed. However, despite the dramatic difference in screen time, the hypothetical holiday special still manages to tell a very similar story.
Each of the specials contain many similar story elements. The original tells the story of Life Day, a tradition held by Chewbacca and his family. The hypothetical tells the story of Droid Day, a tradition held by BB-8 and his family. Jason Alexander plays a similar role to Art Carney from the original. Both feature cartoon segments. The original featured musical performances from bands like Jefferson Starship, while Train provides a song for the hypothetical version. Both follow a similar, cameo-filled structure with incredibly loose ties to the actual Star Wars films.
The original Holiday Special was so bad that we ranked it as the weirdest Star Wars story out there, but Funny or Die has managed to produce something that is both familiar to those who have seen the original Holiday Special, and also comedic by today’s standards. This new special also makes a lot of clever jokes surrounding current Star Wars culture and the Star Wars: The Force Awakens buzz (such as the Tatooine/Jakku reference, since many still confuse the two desert planets). Overall, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Funny or Die