Star Wars’ infamous Holiday Special, explained

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  • Published: 14 December 2017
  • How the 1978 spinoff accidentally shaped the Star Wars universe.

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    A long time ago in living rooms across the US, a bizarre 98-minute Star Wars-themed variety show aired on CBS to an estimated 13 million viewers. It wasn't necessarily the first of its kind: hosts like Donny & Marie Osmond and Richard Pryor had done TV variety shows with Star Wars characters in 1977, which had helped boost box office sales. But unlike those shows, the Holiday Special featured the original film's cast. George Lucas was convinced to approve the project in order to maintain interest in the franchise until The Empire Strikes Back's 1980 release — but the special itself is a confusing mess. A crossdressing Harvey Korman leads a cooking show segment, Jefferson Starship stars in a holographic concert, and Chewbacca's dad watches some very suggestive virtual reality entertainment. But if nothing else, the Holiday Special was one of the first examples of Star Wars' expanded universe — whose influence continues to shape the today's Star Wars stories. No spoilers for The Last Jedi, from a certain point of view.

    Watch more:

    Oscar Boyson on Star Wars influences: pistolshrimp.mobi/user/watch?v=TDlrd5SgWSo
    Lucasfilm's Story Group on the EU: pistolshrimp.mobi/user/watch?v=VUm0Lo6DL-E
    EU history by Star Wars Explained: pistolshrimp.mobi/user/watch?v=E9QyKl6dgA4


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Comments • 1 562

  • Gleep Wurp
    Gleep Wurp  3 hours back

    6:09 This visual cue pretty much explains what happened to Star Wars.

    • Pankojoy
      Pankojoy  7 hours back

      The EU is much better than any of the new disney media

      • Sammuel Parris
        Sammuel Parris  10 hours back

        Well love or hate them at least we can all agree Disney did one thing right for Star Wars.




        They de-canonized the holiday special

        • grumsbee
          grumsbee  1 days back

          I believe Disney has not taken down the movie off youtube for vopyright becuas eif they do that they will show that they own it and it will tarnish Disney's brand

          • Skull Kid
            Skull Kid  1 days back

            I liked Bea Arthur's part tho

            • Deadpool _I’m so cool_

              Ecept that Disney copied it

              • Nesterou
                Nesterou  2 days back

                You forgot to mention that Hamill had just had an accident and he was a zombie. And that Fisher was struggling with drug addiction at that time.

                • T-Rex Hunter
                  T-Rex Hunter  3 days back

                  Legends is canon in everything but name. It is still canon to me and a lot of fans.

                  • Sydney White
                    Sydney White  4 days back

                    We watch the Christmas Special, every year, all the way through. I don’t understand why we submit ourselves to this torture

                    • Brady Carrigan
                      Brady Carrigan  4 days back

                      The holiday special is way better than Disney’s Star Wars.

                      • bopp9
                        bopp9  4 days back

                        I think RedLetterMedia nailed their breakdown of this episode.

                        • Andrew Hay
                          Andrew Hay  5 days back

                          What do you mean you can't play with it now? Disney's trashed it.

                          • OhFishyFish
                            OhFishyFish  7 days back

                            People arguing over some miniscule lore details from a space fairy tale for kids from 40 years ago should definitely get a life.

                            • Shreker7
                              Shreker7  5 days back

                              OhFishyFish It isn’t just for kids. I mean some of it is quite dark just look at ‘Revenge of The Sith.’

                          • Thomas L
                            Thomas L  1 weeks back

                            A million dollar budget at that time is about 2.5million today jeez that’s bad I guess most of the actors got the money

                            • Thomas L
                              Thomas L  1 weeks back

                              I really hate chewie but this made me like him 😂

                              • Speed Racer
                                Speed Racer  1 weeks back

                                Happy Life Day. It lost me at Wookies not being understandable. I knew. Con but now. Hilarious. And has good parts.

                                • Sweaty fletchYT
                                  Sweaty fletchYT  1 weeks back

                                  Last jedi or christmas special?

                                  • Robert Johnston
                                    Robert Johnston  1 weeks back

                                    Leia didn't wear a bra so they got that right at least.

                                    • Sam Hurst
                                      Sam Hurst  1 weeks back

                                      How dare you insult my beloved Lord jaxxon he's the most Star wars thing to ever happen to Star wars and you're just too scared to admit it

                                      • CrudKip
                                        CrudKip  2 weeks back

                                        Oh yeah, and boba fett.

                                        • Com m
                                          Com m  2 weeks back

                                          1:12

                                          • 1joshjosh1
                                            1joshjosh1  2 weeks back

                                            I did not mind the look of Chewbacca's dad.

                                            • zepequeno 23
                                              zepequeno 23  2 weeks back

                                              A rabbit.... 😒 there are walking teddy bears and no one say nothing

                                              • P77777777
                                                P77777777  2 weeks back

                                                Still better than last jedi

                                                • Samuel Carrillo
                                                  Samuel Carrillo  2 weeks back

                                                  3:01
                                                  Quentin Tarantino??? (Left side black glasses)

                                                  • Amy Sternheim
                                                    Amy Sternheim  2 weeks back

                                                    I think I watched the special back then! The creature guy "drinking" by pouring his glass into the hole on top of his head looked familiar!

                                                    • luke strawwalker
                                                      luke strawwalker  1 weeks back

                                                      That was Harvey Korman... they used to do multiple "skits" and characters on the old variety shows...


                                                      Throwback to the old days of television, back when you had "holiday specials" and variety shows and made for TV miniseries and movies of the week and stuff like that... back when TV was still good...
                                                      Later! OL J R : )

                                                  • eneseus M4
                                                    eneseus M4  2 weeks back

                                                    All the comic books are not canon, of coarse if George Lucas doesn't approve of it it, that's good

                                                    • Sirius Rehkind
                                                      Sirius Rehkind  2 weeks back

                                                      For me it’s the most overrated franchise of all time... just because it gets [email protected](ked up by almost everyone that is involved in creating new things to it.

                                                      • rivotrich7
                                                        rivotrich7  2 weeks back

                                                        Spaceballs was better and more serious than the Holiday Special.

                                                        • rivotrich7
                                                          rivotrich7  2 weeks back

                                                          The Sequel Trilogy could use a similar explanation....

                                                          • Lord Garmadon259
                                                            Lord Garmadon259  2 weeks back

                                                            J.J Abrams played with star wars alright.

                                                            • Lord Garmadon259
                                                              Lord Garmadon259  2 weeks back

                                                              0:15 Rise of Skywalker says no to this.

                                                              • Killian Vandroogenbroeck

                                                                This ain’t star wars, more like “Planet of the apes”

                                                                • Joshua Marais
                                                                  Joshua Marais  2 weeks back

                                                                  1:52 That face says it all lol

                                                                  • Jose Rovirosa
                                                                    Jose Rovirosa  2 weeks back

                                                                    The sequels are leyends

                                                                    • EasyPeasy
                                                                      EasyPeasy  2 weeks back

                                                                      2:19 yo that's a meme right there

                                                                      • Lawrence Turner
                                                                        Lawrence Turner  3 weeks back

                                                                        Making a song and dance version of a visually stunning space Opera was already done by Seth MacFarlane just saying that it is possible

                                                                        • Mark the Infinitely Tired

                                                                          Explanation....The 70’s and cocaine.

                                                                          • Old School Uncensored
                                                                            Old School Uncensored  2 weeks back

                                                                            I was thinking they were on hallucinogens, but sure, we'll go with coke😂

                                                                        • Spcki de Spock Spock
                                                                          Spcki de Spock Spock  3 weeks back

                                                                          Star Trek is mouch better with Galaxy building

                                                                          • Logo4Poop
                                                                            Logo4Poop  3 weeks back

                                                                            Baby Yoda approves

                                                                            • Aidan des Mittleren Westen

                                                                              Palpatine back is legend based.

                                                                              • darthspeaks
                                                                                darthspeaks  3 weeks back

                                                                                Who says that cocaine doesn't produce brilliant things ... if not unintentionally comedic brilliant?

                                                                                • Chip Hardy
                                                                                  Chip Hardy  3 weeks back

                                                                                  Hold up, so none of Disney's extra story books, that should have explained the story gaps that they didn't explain, aren't cannon.

                                                                                  • davilol :v
                                                                                    davilol :v  3 weeks back

                                                                                    Yes, since ep 7, all content except TCW and a few comics aren't canon.
                                                                                    Everithing made after is

                                                                                  • FendiXantana
                                                                                    FendiXantana  3 weeks back

                                                                                    naw they are

                                                                                • Generous G
                                                                                  Generous G  3 weeks back

                                                                                  Still better than Last Jedi

                                                                                  • T_h_e_o
                                                                                    T_h_e_o  3 weeks back

                                                                                    What if i told you there's a full movie on youtube
                                                                                    Harrison Ford: *forcechokes him to death even tho he is not force sensitive*

                                                                                    • R Task
                                                                                      R Task  3 weeks back

                                                                                      My grandfather worked on the programming for the moons on tatouinne he told me that before the movie came out he always thought that it was going to flop guess he was wrong

                                                                                      • Everything 80's Podcast

                                                                                        Still better than the prequels and the Last Jedi

                                                                                        • Everything 80's Podcast

                                                                                          This is all now canon thanks to the Mandolorian