It sounded like a good idea at the time. In 1978, Star Wars was huge, but a sequel was 2 years away. So why not make a TV special? Why not a holiday special? Centered on Wookiees? "The only sound they make is like fat people having an orgasm," writer Bruce Vilanch recalls telling the producers. Suffice it to say he was skeptical, but George Lucas was sold on the idea. Vanity Fair presses "play."
Lucas was also busy. The Star Wars Holiday Special, which aired Nov. 17, 1978, morphed into a variety show—think musical numbers and "Why all the long, hairy faces?" jokes—interspersed with Chewbacca scenes. "I was like tripping on it myself, man," Jefferson Starship's ex-guitarist said. But Lucas? Not a fan. He calls the special a “travesty” and wishes he could "smash" every bootleg copy.