The Star Wars fanbase has experienced some rough years. Let’s not forget about the prequel era from 1999-2005 when the world was simultaneously introduced to Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan (great) and Jar Jar Binks (terrible). Though many criticize this period as being one of Star Wars’ lowest, there’s an even older movie that George Lucas himself doesn’t want you to see. It’s not on Netflix or Hulu. The only way to watch this monstrosity is to do some heavy digging…
Not long after A New Hope’s 1977 debut, the whole world knew the name Star Wars. George Lucas’s saga of a farm boy turned lightsaber-wielding Jedi — complete with jaw-dropping special effects and an epic sountrack — captivated all kinds of movie fans. Studio executives wanted more.
Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images
But the sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back,” wouldn’t come out until 1980, and impatient fans were craving a new story from the same universe. So, the executives convinced George that some kind of special could fill this void perfectly.
Photo by Lucasfilm/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images
Thus was born one movie that stands above the rest as the worst Star Wars-based project to ever exist: the Star Wars Holiday Special from November 17, 1978. Released a year after A New Hope, the special only aired once on CBS and now resides on YouTube — and for good reason.
Photo by Mark Ashman/Disney Parks via Getty Images
In the movie, Han Solo and Chewbacca travel to the Wookiee planet, Kashyyyk, to celebrate Life Day. Because the evil Galactic Empire apparently had very little going on at the time, it tails our heroes on their space travels, attempting to ruin the celebration. From there, the story gets weirder.
Viewers complained that some of the most difficult scenes occurred between Chewbacca and his family — his dad, Itchy; wife, Malla; and son, Lumpy. They would only speak in their unintelligible Wookiee language for minutes at a time without any subtitles to translate.
Surprisingly, the entire original cast appeared in the special: Luke Skywalker, C-3P0, R2-D2, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia. Even with all the characters being portrayed by their famous actors wasn’t enough to bring life to the special, though some odd celebrity guest stars tried.
Paul Thuaban/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Image
Disco singer Diahann Carroll performs as a seductive hologram for Itchy, which makes us extremely uncomfortable. We’re not sure why this had to be included. Regardless, she wasn’t the only unexpected presence.
Robert Angelli, YouTube
Future Golden Girls star Bea Arthur popped up as a singing bartender when the group visits the Mos Eisley Cantina. Harvey Korman, best known for The Carol Burnett Show and Blazing Saddles, played a multitude of characters. Oh, and there was a musical guest.
To bring a psychedelic poppy flair, Jefferson Starship performed their song, “Light the Sky on Fire.” They were in a suitcase, which functioned as a virtual reality device. Star Wars fanatics were appalled. How, they wondered, had George let this happen?
George admits that he had a small role in bringing the project together, but wasn’t present for a majority of production. Still, in a 1999 interview, he surprised fans with his candid response about the Christmas special.
In 1999, George opened up to Empire magazine about being convinced by Fox Studios to greenlight the abomination. There’s a rumor he said, “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.”
Even the actors were critical of their roles. Harrison Ford was embarrassed to be seen in it. The witty Carrie Fisher had a great take too. She called it “awful, and I don’t mean awful in a good way.” She even made a special request of her own.
Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Image
Later, Carrie acquired a rare DVD of the special from George Lucas. “I did the voiceover for some of the Star Wars discs or whatever and I made it a condition that he would give me the Star Wars Christmas special so that I could…have something for parties … when I wanted everyone to leave,” she said.
Photo by Aaron Rapoport/Corbis via Getty Images
Even Lucasfilm, George’s Star Wars-based production company, wanted to forget this flop. They refused to release the special on VHS or DVD. Anyone who missed the original airing had a tough time finding this rare movie. There was only one saving grace.
Of course, once YouTube was invented in the mid-2000s, the footage made its way online, entertaining and horrifying millions of curious Star Wars fans. It’s become a mild cult-classic, and fans love to hate-watch it. In fact, the film caught a modern filmmaker’s eye.
Bettmann / Contributor
J.J. Abrams, who directed “The Force Awakens” (2015) and “The Rise of Skywalker” (2019) was interested in creating another Star Wars Christmas special. We’re so tired of this reboot movie culture, but he’s determined to make it happen.
Marianna Massey/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures International
“Maybe there’s a version that none of us could imagine that would be genius,” J.J. said. We’re sure fans are salivating at the chance to take another director to town over the franchise. Still, he might just get his wish.
Though J.J. isn’t directing it, Disney+ is actually releasing another Star Wars holiday special. No, this isn’t a joke. They are truly trying to do it again on November 17, 2020 with the “LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special.” Fans are horrified by the details.
The plot is strikingly similar to the 1978 original. In the updated movie, LEGO versions of Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, Rose, R2-D2, and BB-8 (among others) travel back to Kashyyyk to enjoy a Life Day feast. There are other elements sure to enrage Wars fans.
Another part of the movie involves Rey traveling back through some of the most memorable moments in the Star Wars canon. We can hear fans preemptively demanding apologies. It wouldn’t be the first time George Lucas had to say sorry.
As the creator of the Star Wars universe, George Lucas established himself as the ultimate authority on every film, video game, and action figure in the franchise. Still, George proved to be a surprisingly polarizing figure.
Mercury News Daily
Lucas drew criticism for his constant tinkering with the canon of his films. In A New Hope, he eyed Han’s introductory scene, where the smuggler shoots bounty hunter Greedo without provocation. Undermining his ruthlessness, George re-edited the scene in 1977 to make it appear that the bad guy was about to kill Han.
The filmmaker also gained a reputation for his overly convenient explanations of plot points. Infamously, he revealed in the prequels that the mysterious Force came down to whether an individual had microscopic Midi-chlorians in their body. It could be determined by a simple blood test!
But it wasn’t until 2019 that Lucas addressed arguably the biggest inconsistency in the entire series. It had to do with the treatment of Chewbacca, the heroic Wookiee who’s appeared in most of the films. Many thought George disrespected him.
Even the greenest Star Wars viewer would know that Chewbacca plays a key role in destroying the Death Star in the original film. Some might even say that he risked more than any other of the main characters.
After all, while Han and Luke Skywalker posed as Stormtroopers, Chewie endured getting paraded around as their prisoner. He put up with physical and verbal abuse for the sake of the mission and ended up getting the short end of the stick — or lightsaber.
The final scene presented the main heroes standing proudly at a rebel celebration. They each receive medals, which is a nice touch. But upon closer inspection, fans were horrified to notice that Chewbacca didn’t get one!
How could George Lucas and his team be so cruel? Warsies pointed out that Chewbacca was a favorite character. It wasn’t like he was Jar Jar Binks, whom everyone was grateful to see moved out of the main storyline.
There is also the fact that Chewie was a very personal character for George. His dog Indiana provided the initial spark of inspiration for the character, so it seemed strange that the creator would shove him aside.
Denver Art Museum
Original Chewie actor Peter Mayhew met tons of sci-fi buffs outraged by this slight, but he had a pretty reasonable take on the matter. He theorized that because Carrie Fisher wasn’t tall enough to place a medal around his neck, they just skipped him.
After all, the first Star Wars installment had a relatively low $11 million budget. Relying on practical effects for space sequences and the famous opening crawl, producers very well could have saved a few bucks by not buying Chewbacca a medal.
However, Lucas rarely admitted that any story detail came down to production finances. He instead suggested that a cultural ideology propelled their decision to not have Chewbacca wear a medal. This explanation really divided fans.
The filmmaker explained, “Chewbacca wasn’t given a medal because medals don’t really mean much to Wookiees. They don’t really put too much credence in them.” He went on to assure viewers that the Wookiees held their own offscreen celebration shortly afterward.
A Marvel comic book, simply titled Chewbacca, sort of corroborated Lucas’ reasoning. Its story had the Wookiee adventuring and bonding with a girl named Zarro. At one point, he gave her a shiny rebellion medal, and Chewie certainly didn’t seem too attached to it.
With Star Wars devotees being such a passionate bunch, George’s official explanation didn’t exactly end the great Chewbacca-medal debate. A few people have gone really out of their way to correct this injustice.
For one thing, a number of convention attendees recreated the scene to include the Wookiee receiving his gleaming reward. But they weren’t the only ones to do so. Big-name talents also stepped up in this regard.
At the 1997 MTV Movie Awards, Chewbacca received a Lifetime Achievement Award. That was cool enough, but the crowd went nuts when none other than Carrie Fisher presented it to him — in the form of a huge gold medallion, no less.
Many still prefer to think of this stunt as part of the official Star Wars saga. Wasn’t it high time everyone’s favorite furry hero got the love that he deserved? Fans will do anything to get closer to these characters, and now they can get closer than ever.
With the latest batch of Star Wars films, the galaxy far, far away is at peak popularity. Fans want nothing more than to throw themselves right into the story alongside their favorite heroes and villains. Thanks to Disney, that fantasy will soon be a reality.
In 2015, Disney announced plans for a Star Wars theme park. Versions would open in both Orlando and Anaheim locations, featuring an unprecedented level of immersion. That’s what the entertainment giant claimed, anyway.
They were so tight-lipped on the exact details of experience for the next couple years you’d think they were guarding the actual Death Star plans. Once concept art and ride descriptions started to emerge, however, this idea seemed like it could really take off.
Disney Imagineer Scott Trowbridge, the supervisor of the project, shared that the park would be called Galaxy’s Edge. It would introduce a completely original Star Wars setting: Black Spire Outpost.
Anticipation soared as construction on the 14-acre site got underway. There was a lot to do before the park’s August 2019 opening, but even then, some Star Wars nerds couldn’t wait. They demanded a sneak peek.
Disney obliged, releasing more concept art and behind-the-scenes photos of full-scale Imperial AT-AT walkers. A few fans, however, couldn’t help but get a closer look. There were fences all over the perimeter of the site, but maybe that wouldn’t be a problem.
Disneyland Resort Public Affairs
One Twitter user took his drone out for a spin and snapped photos of the sprawling Disney complex. Though the images very much showed a work in progress, Galaxy’s Edge already had enough intricacies built in to confirm rumors about the park.
Twitter / bioreconstruct
For instance, even the most casual Star Wars watcher will recognize the Millennium Falcon parked in a spaceport. The ship isn’t just there for show, apparently. It serves as the centerpiece for one of the park’s main rides.
Twitter / bioreconstruct
The interactive journey will make visitors feel like they’re right in the middle of their favorite movie moments. They will be tasked with flying the Falcon on a simulated mission, in which the ship will directly respond to their performance.
If enemy vessels shoot them up, for instance, the Falcon’s painstakingly detailed interior will appear battered at the conclusion of the ride. The high-tech experience also puts fans face-to-face with intergalactic creatures.
While waiting to board the Millennium Falcon, riders will meet Hondo Ohnaka — or at least a robotic version of him. The alien pirate is the second-most complicated animatronic Disney’s ever developed, after Avatar’s Shaman of Songs.
YouTube / Orlando Informer
Photos alone can’t sum up the full rush of the Falcon ride. Based on the range of aerial shots, that’s not the only attraction that has fans chomping at the bit either.
Disney claimed they designed the park sightlines to prevent visitors from seeing anything from the real world. They’re also making good on that promise by filling the space with Star Wars goodies. Take a look at this hanger, for starters.
This space, plus many others, will feature life-size ships that blend in seamlessly for the environment. If there is an X-Wing Fighter, for instance, Disney employees dressed as members of The Resistance will emerge periodically and perform “maintenance.”
Like any other Disney site, guests won’t go home hungry. The flagship of their Star Wars hospitality will be Oga’s Cantina. This restaurant will show off the weird aliens and funky music that made fans fall in love with the original film.
Naturally, the Cantina boasts an impressive menu of galactic fare. In a rare move for Disney, they’re offering alcoholic beverages in the form of deep-space cocktails. No visit will be complete without a refreshing Carbon Freeze or Jabba Juice.
Disney has also assured shoppers that they will not leave disappointed. Black Spire Outpost, as isolated in the galaxy as it is, contains stores like the droid depot. Guests can buy their own robots, which will interact with the park around them!
These photos, both official and leaked, escalated fan excitement to an all-time high. It’s quite possible that the popularity of this theme park could overshadow that of any of the actual films.
Because Galaxy’s Edge is a living, breathing experience, Scott and the other Imagineers can continually improve upon their work. Just like our galaxy, this theme park will just keep expanding.
YouTube / Orlando Informer
In fact, the biggest source of entertainment in the Star Wars park might be the visitors’ interaction with characters. They’ll likely take a cue from the Disneyland stormtroopers, who are trained to march in formation behind any kids dressed as Darth Vader or Kylo Ren.
As a matter of fact, all Disney park characters love interacting with park guests. It’s what makes the Disneyland experience so magical! Gaston, for instance, rebuked the idea of marriage — he had another lady on his mind!
Donald Duck’s nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie always get into trouble, which is probably why Donald is so protective of these actual ducks. On the other hand, maybe he’s chasing them out of the park because they didn’t buy tickets.
You want to dress comfortably when you’re out and about in the Disney heat, but make sure you don’t wear anything that could lead to an awkward situation. Minnie surely loves all kinds of music, but even she doesn’t need to see a shirt covered in mouse skulls.
Disney is where dreams come true…unless another tourist gets in your way. This poor man realized he was blocking a photo session of a surprise proposal, but it was already too late. On the bright side, he gave the couple a goofy photo they would never forget.
Reddit / SpnkyHappy
Did Woody and Jessie get caught sleeping on the job? Not quite. If you shout “Andy’s coming!” at the Toy Story characters in Disney, they will instantly drop to the ground and pretend to be inanimate.
Dean Norris is best known for playing tough guys, so it’s nice to see him embracing his inner princess. The Breaking Bad actor shared this photo via Twitter and joked that he was auditioning to be the eighth dwarf. That actually sounds like a movie worth seeing!
The internet is filled with wacky photos from the top of Splash Mountain, but this one takes the (urinal) cake. These friends expertly posed as if the camera caught them during their morning bathroom routine. That’s a lot of props to carry around on vacation, but it was definitely worth it.
Beware of dog! Goofy was probably just palling around with this toddler, though this picture makes it look like he’s getting ready to swallow the kid whole! Either way, we can only hope Goofy remembered to chew a breath mint before picking up the kid.
Tigger loves attention, so much so that he won’t let anyone else’s face appear in a group photo. Hopefully, he’ll someday learn that the Hundred Acre Wood is large enough for more than one big personality.
Most kids are thrilled to meet their favorite Disney characters, but this girl can’t wait for Sleeping Beauty to beat it. Maybe she could’ve been a better sport, but then again, the princess shouldn’t be interrupting strangers’ breakfasts first thing in the morning.
Everybody knows Gaston failed to woo Belle, but here he is striking out for a second time. Even for cartoons, Tinder dates can go off the rails. Maybe he shouldn’t have turned down that engagement ring from earlier!
We’re all used to seeing Hollywood love triangles in the tabloids, but this takes it to the next level! We expect this kind of behavior from Donald Duck, but from Goofy? It’s almost enough to break your heart.
Don’t worry — no horrific accident occurred here. One Disney guest just saw a golden opportunity to pay homage to cartoon classics by placing his head under this vault. Though he wasn’t in any danger here, we can only hope that no nauseous visitors got sick on that walkway earlier in the day.
Disney World is full of surprises! Case in point: Cristina was over the moon once she finished her Disney race, but then her boyfriend topped that by proposing! However, one of their fellow racegoers looks like she was even more blown away than Cristina.
You can’t beat dad humor! Where other people would’ve just seen a magic lamp decoration, this father recognized a prime photo opportunity. Coincidentally, this picture depicts exactly how you feel after eating your way through every country in Epcot.
Every kid dreams of going to Disneyland, but there can be too much of a good thing. This little girl couldn’t even keep up the energy for a nice family photo. Somebody get that tired kid some sugar, STAT!
They say that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. However, the guys in the Chip and Dale costumes appear to be enjoying their jobs a little bit too much here. Don’t they know it’s rude to stare, especially when you’re wearing a mask with giant eyeballs?
It turns out that Disney characters aren’t happy to see everybody. For this Little Mermaid, spotting her arch-nemesis Ursula on a guest’s shirt was enough to take her voice away. Awkward moments like this happen even under the sea.
Every parent who brings their kids to Disney deserves a medal, but this dad clinched first place! When his daughter dressed as Ariel for the day, he did the right thing and cosplayed as the great King Triton. He really earned that crown!
Would you get excited if we told you that a celebrity was making eyes at you from across the room? What if we told you that the celebrity was Mickey Mouse? It has to be hard to resist his charms, especially when he’s wearing his finest gloves and bowtie.