Before The Phantom Menace (1999) and The Rise of Skywalker (2019), there was the infamous and ever-sought-after Star Wars Holiday Special (1978).
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Not to be confused with the Lego Star Wars Holiday Special (2020), the atrocious Christmas special that aired on CBS on November 17, 1978, is the subject matter for the 2023 documentary A Disturbance in the Force.
Diehard fans, since its inception, will recall the special being the first “sequel” to the franchise after A New Hope (1977) and wouldn’t get a full-length installment until The Empire Strikes Back (1980). In the late 70s, audiences were not bombarded with back-to-back releases of their favorite franchises as they are today. It became legendary when the holiday special only aired once, and no physical copy was available. Even though the plot was questionable, it did introduce Boba Fett into the Star Wars universe. It also gave us the Wookiee holiday we all know and love, Life Day.
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Not only was the special odd and disappointing, thousands of Star Wars fans never got to see it, which is why it became an instant commodity. An “oddity commodity,” if you will. These are all the topics discussed in the new documentary by documentarians Jeremy Coon and Steve Kozak.
The new doc debuted at the South by Southwest film festival this weekend. It features several interviews with celebrities and filmmakers, such as Kevin Smith, Seth Green, and ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, as they discuss the notorious special and make jokes that have been told a dozen times. The documentarians were also able to snag interviews from the director of the Holiday Special, Steven Binder, and one of the writers, Bruce Vilanch. Unfortunately, George Lucas was unavailable for comments on the special, a surprise to no one since he has long been silent about the film.
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Overall, reviews on the documentary claim it to be thrown together with some fascinating insight. The doc feels bland at times and doesn’t always flow. Nevertheless, A Disturbance in the Force might be worth the watch for hardcore fans. However, you could always watch a bootleg version of The Star Wars Holiday Special on Youtube instead.
Have you ever seen The Star Wars Holiday Special? Let us know in the comments below.