Now that would have been a hairy situation for Han (Harrison Ford)!
The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) is infamous within the fandom. Though not officially available through Lucasfilm, various copies have popped up online, and the legend lives on. Born out of the immense popularity garnered by Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), the Holiday Special had the characters, and settings in common with the franchise, but that’s about it. There is, however, one character reportedly, that almost made an appearance, and would have changed the galaxy forever!
Lengthy for a special, the Star Wars Holiday Special is a strange and wild ride. Han Solo (Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) are on the run from the Empire, trying to get Chewie (Mayhew) home for the Star Wars holiday, Life Day. Included in this adventure, are heroes like Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in a horrendous wig, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) belting out a tune, even a cameo from Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) and a whole family of Wookiees who don’t speak English, and carry the plot forward without any words, or even subtitles, leaving the audience to glean the plot from context clues.
The Holiday Special also featured strange guest appearances by Bea Arthur as a bartender in the Tatooine Cantina, Harvey Korman as a four armed cooking show host, a performance by Jefferson Starship, and the debut of Boba Fett by way of a cartoon watched by Chewie’s (Mayhew) son, Lumpy (Patty Maloney). After an excruciating two hour runtime, Han (Ford) and Chewie (Mayhew) arrive at the old Wookiee homestead in time for Life Day.
As strange as all of this was, it was almost even stranger! While this has not been verified by creator, George Lucas, there was almost another Wookiee character as part of the Holiday Special. According to a recent interview with the production team involved with the creation of the special, co-writer, Leonard Ripps revealed something that definitely would have thrown a wrench in the romance between the smuggler and Princess Leia (Fisher). The writer said:
“Lucas told us Han Solo was married to a Wookiee but that we couldn’t mention that because it would be controversial.”
If you did a doubletake, you’re not alone. The famous scoundrel from the original series was almost a married man, and not only that, but, he was almost married to a Wookiee! This certainly would have changed a few things in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and the final film in the original trilogy, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983). It’s easy to imagine that Han (Ford) having a Wookie wife would have also have changed his dynamic with Chewie (Mayhew), and the entire persona of the character as a swashbuckling devil-may-care rogue.
It’s safe to say, most fans can agree that Leia (Fisher) was a better match for the smuggler, and, at the very least set up the appearance of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) as the force sensitive antagonist of the sequel trilogy. Who knows what would have happened in the event of a Wookiee spouse?
What do you think about Han Solo almost being married to a wookiee? Let us know in the comments below!