Did George Lucas Want to Destroy All Copies of the Star Wars Holiday Special?

TV URBAN LEGEND: George Lucas once said, “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.”

The Star Wars Holiday Special is one of the most bizarre pieces of pop culture ever. A year after Star Wars debuted and was a huge success, they decided to do a TV special while waiting for the sequel to come out in 1980.

All of the major cast members showed up, from Mark Hamill to Harrison Ford to Carrie Fisher…

Of course, so did Bea Arthur…

The idea was that it was a variety special based on the basic concept of Han Solo and Chewbacca traveling to Chewy’s home world, Kashyyyk, to celebrate Life Day (essentially the Wookiee equivalent of Christmas).

The special is also known for having a cartoon in it that officially introduced Boba Fett before he showed up in the next film in the series.

Anyhow, the special was not warmly received and George Lucas clearly made a point to keep the show hidden. It made only a single official airing on broadcast television, but it aired in a number of other countries unofficially and those copies are the ones that places like YouTube air.

So Lucas did not like the special.

However, his dislike for it has created a bit of a legend.

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Did Harrison Ford Improvise His Famous “I Know” Line From Empire Strikes Back?

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Harrison Ford’s famous “I know” line in “Empire Strikes Back” was improvised.

When it comes time to actually translate movie screenplays into finished films, there are always going to be situations where things change base on circumstances. Sometimes problems that are beyond anyone’s control. There’s a famous scene in the screenplay for “Fast Times in Ridgement High” where two characters listen to a song from Led Zeppelin’s fourth album. Well, what do you do when Led Zeppelin won’t let you use any songs from their fourth album? These sorts of issues came up frequently in the filming of the first few “Star Wars” films, as George Lucas and company would often find themselves debating between multiple options with where to go with the screenplay. Kill off Obi-Wan Kenobi or let him live? Have Han shoot Greedo first or have Greedo take the first shot?

A similar debate came up during the filming of “Empire Strikes Back” in the scene where Han Solo and Leia say heartfelt goodbyes to each other before Han is encased in Carbonite. Leia professes her love and Han, in response, tells her, “I know.”

It’s a great line, and legend has it that Han’s portrayer, Harrison Ford, improvised the line on the spot and the film’s director, Irving Kershner, kept it in the film.

It’s a very popular legend. But is it true?
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Did George Lucas Add a Scene to Empire Strikes Back to Address Mark Hamill’s Facial Injuries?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: George Lucas added a scene to Empire Strikes Back to address Mark Hamill’s facial injuries.

In the past, we’ve discussed the legend of whether the wampa attack in Empire Strikes Back was written into the script specifically to address the facial injuries that Mark Hamill had suffered in a car accident a couple of years earlier.

You can check that legend out for the details of the story, but the simplest answer is that no, there was going to be a wampa attack either way. However, a couple of fans wrote in saying that while that was true, they believed that Lucas had tried to address Hamill’s facial injuries in the film, it was just in a different scene. It appears as though that is correct, and amazingly enough, in the same additional scene, Lucas also further explored the Luke/Leia relationship that we had also discussed in a past legend, namely whether Luke and Leia were intended to be brothers and sisters at the time of Empire Strikes Back.

Read on to see how filmed (but then deleted) scenes addressed both of these notable issues from Star Wars history…
Continue reading “Did George Lucas Add a Scene to Empire Strikes Back to Address Mark Hamill’s Facial Injuries?”