What you have just watched is the trailer for the 1987 “Star Wars Christmas Special”. A feature length show focusing around Chewbacca getting home for a family holiday called “Life Day”. After the opening chase you’ve just seen, the first episode shows us family life in his home with his wife Malla, his father Itchy and son Lumpy. Now I don’t want to say the writing for this series was anything less than adequate but with those names and the fact the opening is mostly Wookie grunting it worried me slightly.
In true TV special style they did include a few popular celebrities from the time in the cast to try and help boost ratings. As well as all the original cast from Star Wars including Mark Hammill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Lewis and Peter Mayhew they included Bea Arthur who rose to popularity most famously in “Golden Girls” and Art Carney who stared in “The Honeymooners”. Sadly these headliners weren’t enough to save what turned out to be the holiday special that nobody wants to talk about.
Long scenes of Wookie conversation and unexplainable song and dance numbers make for very slow watching and it has none of the pace or excitement that we had in the movies. In the mid-section we do however get a fantastic piece from Jefferson Starship which is used in the story as a distraction for an Imperial Officer.
It seems quite obvious why this film has only ever been shown in its entirety once on TV (November 17th, 1978) but its still interesting to watch. The way the characters we know like Han Solo and Chewbacca are changed into a more TV-acceptable image with no shooting or action of that sense and a focus on getting Chewbacca home to his family. Worth a watch, even if it’s only the once!