Disney+ has announced that this holiday season it will be premiering a hybrid sequel and winking tribute to 1978’s disco-era Star Wars Holiday Special. The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, as described to USA Today in an exclusive interview, “brings beloved heroes like Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron back together to celebrate Life Day.” Several actors from throughout the entire film canon, still unnamed, will reportedly be reprising their roles. The new special is scheduled to premiere on November 17 on Disney+, meaning it will air on the anniversary of the original–November 17, 1978 on CBS–a network part of GameSpot’s parent company ViacomCBS.
“We wanted to give a wink and a nod to the original,” executive producer Josh Rimes said, adding that the new 45-minute holiday special was “inspired by It’s a Wonderful Life, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Christmas Vacation, and old Burl Ives musical cheer.”
Rimes also teased that the special is “a celebration of the Saga” in which “a lot of characters will be interacting with… perhaps even different versions of themselves at different ages.”
The original Star Wars Holiday Special has had a lengthy road to something resembling redemption. It was universally panned by critics and fans, and it’s not hard to understand why: There are agonizingly long segments in the misshapen variety show where Wookiees speak to each other in their native language with no subtitles, what plot there is makes no literal sense, and one of the highlights is Bea Arthur’s turn as Mos Eisley cantina proprietor Ackmena singing “Good Night, But Not Goodbye” set to the “cantina band” song.
But slowly, elements of the special have been acknowledged as canon, largely in The Mandalorian’s Jawa-disappearing Amban phase-pulse rifle (wielded by Boba Fett in a holiday special’s trippy animated sequence) and also explicit references to Life Day, the fictional holiday at the center of the original Star Wars Holiday Special. So, in many ways, it isn’t a surprise that Disney+ is taking a crack at updating the special.
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