The 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special is notorious. I remember watching it when it first aired. I was desperate for more Star Wars, and was willing to watch anything. Afterwards, I went “Huh?” I got more out of watching the Ewok movies eight years later.
The 1978 Special is best known for introducing the character of Boba Fett. It also features the spectacle of watching Mark Hamil, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford sing. Basically it was a low-budget attempt to cash in on the Star Wars craze. The bulk of the show is a series of unfunny or uninteresting sketches involving Chewbacca’s family.
It was never formally shown again after that first airing. In the age of the Internet, you can find it if you’re curious. I can assure you that it’s 97 minutes of your life that you will never get back again.
Now we have the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special on Disney+. Despite the similarity of the name, the only thing the two shows have in common is the notion that there’s something called “Life Day” that’s celebrated on Chewbacca’s home planet of Kashyyyk. The bulk of the LEGO Special is a trip through the highlights of the main Star Wars films, with a brief nod towards The Mandalorian.
It’s definitely not worth subscribing to Disney+ just to watch this special. (Perhaps for The Mandalorian, though…) The LEGO Special is not the dumpster fire that the 1978 special was. It has some clever moments that riff off the movies and that adults will appreciate. However, it is for young kids (it’s rated Y7); anyone looking for a deeper message than “Life Day is for family” won’t find it here.
It must also be acknowledged that the LEGO Special exists mostly to sell LEGO Star Wars toys. Parents should be prepared for their kids to start demanding LEGOs for Christmas if they let them watch this. I suppose it can spark a child’s imagination of ways to have their Rey and Darth Vader figures battle each other.
If you already have Disney+, it’s not entirely a waste of 44 minutes. If you’re enough of a Star Wars completest to have watched the 1978 Special, this is worth watching… if you already have Disney+.
A special shout-out to Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, and Kelly Marie Tran who voice their movie characters for the special.