A segment of the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, The Story of the Faithful Wookiee is now streaming on Disney+. While the special may have been known for silly musical numbers and skits, it also introduced Star Wars fans to Boba Fett. Even if it was only in animated form, it’s still the first time fans would witness the bounty hunter before his live-action debut.
A portion of the Star Wars Holiday Special, The Story of the Faithful Wookiee, is now available to watch on Disney+.
Fett first appeared in the animated segment, The Story of the Faithful Wookiee. To watch this segment previously, you’d have to hunt down a bootleg of the Holiday Special. George Lucas famously noted how he despised the special and wanted it wiped out.
The story finds the team of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca working alongside Boba Fett. They do not know then that this bounty hunter works for Darth Vader. They discover later that Fett was trying to inform Vader of the Rebels’ location.
The Nelvana animation studio developed the nine-minute Story of the Faithful Wookiee animated short. The studio had been known for several Canadian animated TV specials like A Cosmic Christmas and The Devil and Daniel Mouse. One look at Cosmic Christmas convinced George Lucas that the holiday special should have an animated sequence.
Lucas would meet with Nelvana and outline the story he had in mind. After approving the project, the studio had to turn around the animated special fast. Even though it’d be much shorter than other TV specials they’d worked on, there was pressure for this to be a Star Wars special.
The animation style in Story of the Faithful Wookiee had an exaggerated style. Han Solo would have an elongated face, and R2-D2 would appear more stretchy in how the droid moved. This short would lay the groundwork for future Star Wars animated TV series like Droids and Ewoks (also streaming on Disney+).
Considering how often he speaks, Boba Fett has more to do in Story of the Faithful Wookiee compared to his first appearance in The Empire Strikes Back, which debuted two years later. While Fett was quiet and aloof in Empire, he’s far more vocal in animated form.
Fett’s presence in this special reflects a similar aspect of how Lucas’ prequel trilogy played out. Before Revenge of the Sith premiered, Lucas allowed animation director Genndy Tartakovsky to develop the animated short series The Clone Wars.
During The Clone Wars, the villainous General Grievous is first revealed. Grievous fights off Jedi before making his escape. He would return in Revenge of the Sith, much like how Fett vowed to return at the end of the 1978 animated short.
Story of the Faithful Wookiee was one of many asides for the primary story of the Star Wars Holiday Special. The central premise is that Chewbacca is trying to return to his home planet in time for the holiday known as Life Day. Chewy’s son, Lumpawarrump, watches this “video book” to pass the time.
This short would lay the groundwork for future Star Wars animated TV series like Droids and Ewoks (also streaming on Disney+).
The special featured the original cast, including Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, and Peter Mayhew, all reprising their roles. Guest stars for the special included Beatrice Arthur, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll, Jefferson Starship, and Harvey Korman.
It’s uncertain if more of the Holiday Special will grace the Star Wars section of Disney+. So, while we wait for Beatrice Arthur’s cantina number to grace the service, fans can catch up on the animated origins of Boba Fett.
You can watch The Story of the Faithful Wookiee by searching for it on Disney+ or at the bottom of the site’s Star Wars page under the section labeled Vintage.