The Star Wars Holiday Special is a 1978 American musical science fiction television film set in the Star Wars galaxy. It stars the first film‘s main cast while introducing the character Boba Fett, who would appear in later films. It is one of the first official Star Wars spin-offs and was directed by Steve Binder.
In the storyline that ties the special together, Chewbacca and Han Solo visit Kashyyyk, Chewbacca’s home world, to celebrate Life Day. They are pursued by agents of the Galactic Empire, who are searching for members of the Rebel Alliance on the planet. The special introduces three members of Chewbacca’s family: his father Itchy, his wife Malla, and his son Lumpy, though these names were later explained to have been nicknames, their full names being Attichitcuk, Mallatobuck, and Lumpawarrump, respectively.
The program also features many other Star Wars characters, including Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, R2-D2, Darth Vader and Princess Leia(who sings the film’s “theme song”, set to the music of John Williams‘ Star Wars theme, near the end), all of them portrayed by the original actors. The program includes stock footage from Star Wars, and also features a cartoon produced by Toronto-based Nelvanathat officially introduces the bounty hunter Boba Fett. Scenes also take place in outer space and in spacecraft including the Millennium Falcon and an Imperial Star Destroyer. The variety-show segments and cartoon also take place in a few other locales, such as a Mos Eisley cantina on the desert planet of Tatooine and a newly introduced red ocean planet known as Panna.
The special is notorious for its extremely negative reception and has never been rebroadcast or officially released on home video. It has therefore become something of a cultural legend, because of the “underground” quality of its existence. It has been viewed and distributed in off-air recordings made from its original telecast by fans, which were later adapted to content-sharing websites via the Internet and bootleg copies.