Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) has quietly edited out an animated segment from the infamous 1978 debacle, “The Star Wars Holiday Special,” so it could stream on Disney+.
A Long Time Ago … : “The Star Wars Holiday Special” was the first spinoff of the 1977 landmark film, and its bizarre mix of “Star Wars” characters with unlikely sitcom shenanigans — including Beatrice Arthur singing to the denizens of the Mos Eisley cantina — was met with universal scorn. And time has not healed the wounds inflicted on viewers: In 2020, Mark Hamill facetiously requested President Donald Trump pardon it.
For most “Star Wars” fans, the one bright spot in the production was “The Story of the Faithful Wookiee,” an animated sequence involving several of the characters from the original film, while introducing bounty hunter Bobo Fett, who would later be part of “The Empire Strikes Back.” This was the only segment of “The Star Wars Holiday Special” in which George Lucas had involvement — he wrote the segment’s screenplay — and the animation was produced by Nelvana Ltd. in Toronto, which later created the “Star Wars”-inspired television shows, “Droids” and “Ewoks.”
In A Galaxy Far, Far Away … : “The Star Wars Holiday Special” has never been commercially released in any home entertainment format, although bootleg copies have circulated for many years. The animated segment appeared as an Easter egg on the 2011 “Star Wars: The Complete Saga” Blu-ray release.
Disney+ did not formally announce “The Story of the Faithful Wookiee” was being streamed as a standalone offering, but included the title in a slate of April 2 debuts that include other “Star Wars”-related works including: “Ewoks: The Battle for Endor,” “Star Wars: Clone Wars, Volumes I & II” and “Star Wars: Ewoks, Season 1 & 2.”
(Bobo Fett in “The Story of the Faithful Wookiee.” Photo courtesy Wookieepedia.)