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Jon Favreau Might Make A Star Wars Holiday Special For Disney+

Maybe the second time will be the charm.

In response to a query from an interviewer backstage at last weekend's Saturn Awards, multi-hyphenate Jon Favreau — the driving creative force behind the upcoming Disney+ series The Mandalorian — indicated that he'd be down to revisit a near-forgotten, much-maligned part of Star Wars lore: the infamous holiday special. (via ETOnline)

"I would love to do a holiday special," Favreau said, and at the mere mention of the televised 1978 travesty that brought all of our favorite Star Wars characters back together for a sappy, musical number-laden mess, millions of fans' voices cried out in terror... and were not silenced. If you listen hard enough right this minute, you can still hear them, just crying away, their terror undiminished.

Undeterred by the ghastly chorus (seriously, how could he not hear that?), Favreau doubled down, looking straight into the camera and saying, "If you want to see a holiday special, let Disney+ know."

Okay, in all seriousness — well, as much as possible — we'll pretty much watch anything Favreau serves up; for that matter, we'll eat anything he serves up, because we've seen Chef, and it makes us really hungry. But there is a reason that, when Star Wars fans speak of the holiday special, they do so in hushed tones full of embarrassment and scorn.

It's tough to imagine now, but when Star Wars (later retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) was released in 1977, absolutely nobody expected it to be a hit. There was no such thing as a "sci-fi blockbuster" at that time; heck, the summer tentpole film had just been invented two years prior with Steven Spielberg's Jaws, and science fiction in the '70s was pretty much the domain of weird, atmospheric think-pieces like Westworld and Silent Running.

So, when Star Wars came out of nowhere to become one of the biggest events in the history of pop culture, those in a position to capitalize on it had absolutely no idea how to go about doing so. Sure, a sequel was put into the pipeline immediately, but those weren't standard procedure in those days, either — and even with a fans clamoring for more and studio 20th Century Fox's machinery kicked into high gear, it would still be three years in between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back hitting theaters.

So, to keep the property fresh in the minds of the public (an effort which was in no way necessary), studio brass landed on the obvious solution: a holiday special! Because, as we all remember, the concept of holidays not only exists in the Star Wars universe, but was key to the entire plot of the first film! Remember how the Death Star had a big Santa Claus hat on it? And how Darth Vader explained that he chose a red lightsaber as an homage to Saint Nick? (We're goofing, of course. None of that is true, and all of it is absurd as the Star Wars holiday special was.)

The hour-and-a-half long special aired on CBS on November 17, 1978, a day which will live in Star Wars infamy. The entire cast of the film was roped into appearing, and if you know anything about Harrison Ford, you can probably imagine just how psyched he appeared to be about the whole thing. A number of other television and musical luminaries of the '70s all took part, and they all had the distinction of being the absolute last people that would ever pop to mind when thinking of Star Wars.

Funnyman Tim Conway's longtime foil Harvey Korman appeared, as did Bea Arthur (the future Golden Girl), actor Art Carney (of Honeymooners fame) and singer/songwriter/actress Diahann Carroll, who popped up — no joke — as something called "Mermeia Holographic Wow," which at least proves that there have always been questionable names in Star Wars. Oh, and there was the rock band Jefferson Starship. That makes sense, right? They've got the "Starship" in their name!

The incredibly convoluted plot involves Han Solo attempting to get Chewbacca back to Kashyyk to visit his family for "Life Day" (the name of which is apparently the only element of the special that wasn't severely overthought). There was drama, there was intrigue, there was singing and there was dancing, and even though the '70s were rife with unmitigated weirdness, fans of the film simply had no idea what the heck they were watching.

The special only aired once, and was never given any kind of home video release, which should tell you all you need to know about George Lucas' opinion of it. In one of his only interviews on the topic, with Empire in 2009, he was a pretty good sport, however. "I'm sort of amused by it, because it is so bizarre," he said. "It's definitely avant-garde television. It's definitely bad enough to be a classic."

In our opinion, Lucas has an odd definition of the word "classic." In all of the craziness, however, there was one shining moment which not only carried over into Star Wars lore, but did so in a big way — and it just so happens that without it, we almost certainly wouldn't be marking our calendars to watch The Mandalorian. In a brief animated segment midway through the special, viewers were introduced to the notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett — who sports Mandalorian armor, despite being a clone of the non-Mandalorian mercenary Jango Fett — for the first time.

Favreau even mentioned this when discussing the possibility of a new Star Wars holiday special. "I love the holiday special — certain sequences more than others," he said. "I love the introduction of Boba Fett and that rifle that he had. That animated piece still holds up. It's pretty cool. I draw inspiration from that."

Well, we've got to admit, that's pretty cool (and he's right, the animated short isn't bad). We're also pretty certain that if Favreau actually gets around to fielding an updated Star Wars holiday special, it'll be much less haphazard, tonally bizarre, and plain freakin' weird than what we got in 1978.

The first episode of The Mandalorian will be available for streaming when Disney+ goes live on November 12.