FOR THE LOVE OF FILM: The Star Wars Holiday Special

The now infamous special was aired just one time. November 17, 1978. On that day, from 8 to 10 PM EST, CBS premiered what would become one of the most iconic and coveted visual pieces of geek culture. A 97 minute variety show of sorts set in the universe of Star Wars, specifically and most prominently, the Wookiee planet of Kashyyyk.

The story that weaves together the various sketches and bits is a simple one that introduced some new content to the Star Wars canon. The gist is this. It’s Life Day, the generically named holiday celebrated by the Wookiees that celebrates, you guessed it, life. Chewbacca and Han Solo are trying to make it home for the celebration, but they are being chased by the Empire’s forces, who are ticked because they helped Luke Skywalker blow up their space ship in the first movie.

My late friend Justin Proper of Under The Gun Review had an running column for several years called “For The Love Of Film.” He once asked me to fill in for him when he was too sick. Our colleague Dane Sager had recently bashed the living hell out of the Star Wars Holiday Special, so I used the opportunity to fire back and come to the special’s defense.

I came up with 5 solid reasons for why the now infamously terrible CBS special wasn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. Any Star Wars fan who thinks differently might benefit from my point of view.