Star Wars’ Greatest Failure Is Getting Its Own Movie

The infamous Star Wars Holiday Special is getting its own documentary movie that will be released at the South by Southwest film festival.

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Chewbacca‘s dad sat in his living room watching porn on network TV. That crazy “did I really just see what I think I did?” moment and others came courtesy of the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the most insane fever dream ever to feature Luke Skywalker and co. is getting its own documentary.

The documentary is called Disturbance in the Force and premiers March 11th at the South by Southwest festival. Disturbance is directed by Jeremy Coon and Steve Kozak and will feature talking head segments from many celebrities familiar to the geek community. Seth Green, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Paul Scheer, and Taran Killam are just some of the celebs contributing to the doc as well as the late Gilbert Gottfried. Bruce Vilanch, one of the writers on the Star Wars Holiday Special, also makes an appearance.

The Star Wars Holiday Special was a one-off variety show that aired exactly once on November 17, 1978, on CBS. If the variety show format sounds like an odd fit for Star Wars, that’s because it is. People tuning in back in ’78 were probably not expecting Golden Girl Bea Arthur to sing a diddy for all the cantina aliens. And they definitely weren’t expecting a Wookie watching VR smut a good thirty years before the invention of Pornhub.

Along with the above-mentioned lunacy, The special featured a holographic performance from Jefferson Starship and cameos from Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher, reprising their Star Wars roles. Carrie Fisher, in particular, sings a song about Life Day (the Wookie equivalent to Christmas) set to the main Star Wars theme. Yeah, the Star Wars Holiday Special was wild.

star wars holiday special

In the dark days before the internet, the Star Wars Holiday Special was a mythical holy grail for Star Wars collectors. Fans would scour flea markets and comics book conventions for VHS bootlegs of the special. Not a ton of Americans had VCRs in 1978, so most copies available to fans were a copy of a copy of a copy.

This writer bought his copy back in the ’90s from a local comic book store while on the hunt for Magic The Gathering cards. Those were the days! Now you can watch the two-hour cringefest on YouTube, complete with era-appropriate commercials.

The Star Wars Holiday special wasn’t all bad. There was a cartoon segment that featured the first appearance of Boba Fett (technically second if you count the 1978 San Anselmo Country Fair Day and Parade ). The cartoon is available to watch on Disney+ under the title The Story of the Faithful Wookiee. Sadly the rest of the special isn’t on the streamer.

And it won’t be. Lucasfilm pretty much disavowed the Star Wars Holiday Special after its one airing. George Lucas himself famously once said, “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every bootlegged copy of the program and smash it.” That, of course, begs the question, why was the special made in the first place?

The short answer, according to co-writer Bruce Vilanch, is simply that, “Back then, a network variety special was one of the ways you promoted things.” For a longer, more in-depth explanation, we’ll have to wait for Disturbance in the Force to get a wider release after South by Southwest.