In the years between the first and second Star Wars movies, George Lucas agreed that a TV special could keep fans interested in the blooming sci-fi franchise. And so, on November 17th of 1978, The Star Wars Holiday Special aired on CBS, taking the timeslot usually occupied by The Incredible Hulk.
The Holiday Special took on a variety show format. Along with short sketches of the original cast, it featured dedicated segments for stars like Bea Arthur, plus a short Boba Fett cartoon. While this formatting may seem a bit odd, it kinda-sorta makes sense in the context of the 1970s, as there were some very memorable Star Wars-themed sketches on The Richard Pryor Show and The Donnie & Marie Show.
But, as you’ve probably guessed, The Star Wars Holiday Special was a disaster. The dialog is bad, the actors seem embarrassed, it’s kind of a stupid idea, and so on. It didn’t help that during the Holiday Special‘s airing, the United States was laser focused on former CIA agent William Kampiles, who was being sentenced for selling top-secret information to the Soviet Union.
Now we’re getting into story territory. The amount of weirdness and lore surrounding The Star Wars Holiday Special is incredible, and that’s why Jeremy Coon and Steve Kozak are spinning it into a documentary titled A Disturbance In The Force.
The documentary features a ton of big names, including Weird Al, Donny Osmond, the late Gilbert Gottfried, and Star Wars Holiday Special co-writers Steve Binder and Bruce Vilanch. It’s set to debut on March 11th at the South by Southwest festival, and a trailer is available today.
I should note that Jeremy Coon previously directed Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made. If you’re into weird and forgotten film history, you should check out both this film and the upcoming Disturbance In The Force. You can watch the original Star Wars Holiday Special on YouTube.
Source: Hollywood Reporter