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 George Lucas Initially Plan on Killing Darth Vader off in the First Star Wars Sequel?

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 initially planned on killing Darth Vader off in the first sequel to Star Wars.

A while back, I talked about how in 1976 George Lucas had Alan Dean Foster write a screenplay for possible sequel to the first Star Wars film. This was when Lucas wasn’t sure what kind of box office numbers the film would do. There was a chance that the film could bomb, but there was also a chance that the film might do just “okay” business. Good enough to merit a sequel, but not good enough to merit a big budget sequel. So Foster worked out a screenplay for a low-budget sequel to the film. Obviously, the film became a big hit, so Foster’s screenplay was not necessary, and it instead became his Star Wars novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye.

One of the fascinating things that we’ve seen come up in a number of Star Wars legends over the years (like whether Darth Vader was always going to be Luke’s father or whether Luke and Leia were always going to be siblings) is that George Lucas was a lot looser with the Star Wars canon at the time. That was quite logical, of course, as he did not yet know that he had created a blockbuster film franchise. He just knew that he had made a film that he was hoping would be a hit but was fully prepared for it to not be a hit (he had even made a bet with Steven Spielberg that the film would not be as successful as Spielberg’s next film!). One of the great pieces of historical Star Wars information are the story conferences that Lucas, Foster and Lucasfilm Vice President Charles Lippincott had back in 1976. The great Star Wars historian J W Rinzler transcribed the conference and they revealed a great many things – including Lucas’ desire to move on from Darth Vader as soon as he could!

Read on to see what Lucas’ problem was with Vader and why he wanted to kill him off!
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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…
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Was Splinter of the Mind’s Eye Originally Written as a Cheap Film Sequel to Star Wars?

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: Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind’s Eye was originally written as a film sequel to Star Wars.

One of the things that has been made clear in past legends about the early days of Star Wars (like whether Darth Vader was always supposed to be Luke’s father or whether Luke and Leia were always supposed to be siblings) is that George Lucas was often playing things by ear at the start of his epic film franchise. This makes sense, of course, as there was no way for Lucas to know that his first Star Wars film would become such a sensation, so how could he spend much time planning for future films when he wasn’t even positive that he would get a second film, let alone a franchise of films and related tie-in materials?

This uncertainty led to the intriguing origin of the first full length novel based on the world of Star Wars, Alan Dean Foster’s acclaimed Splinter of the Mind’s Eye.

While the book is famous for being the first notable expansion of the Star Wars universe, it was also, remarkably enough, originally written as the basis for a possible sequel to the original Star Wars!
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Was There an Ending Filmed for Raiders of the Lost Ark That Was Cut From U.S. Prints of the Film?

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: There was an alternate ending filmed for Raiders of the Lost Ark that was cut from all U.S. prints of the film for fear it would be offensive to U.S. film-goers.

One of the most fun aspects of living in the DVD/Blu-Ray/YouTube generation is that so many never-before-seen pieces of pop culture history are now available to us, whether as extras on DVD/Blu-Ray collections or just as clips that pop up on YouTube out of nowhere. The recent Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures box set, for instance, has a partial alternate version of the classic fight between Indiana Jones and the Sworsdman.

While in the released film, Indy famously just pulls out his gun and shoots the guy, that shortened version of the scene resulted from Harrison Ford being physically unable to continue to film the original, much more elaborate scene where Indy fights him off only using his bullwhip (it appears likely that some intestinal issues on Ford’s part played a major role in him being unable to film the scene). The box set shows what little they filmed of the original version. There are other notable deleted scenes in the film, of course, including one that explained how Indy was able to survive being on the Nazi submarine towards the end of the film (he ties himself to the periscope with his bullwhip). However, one of the most famous deleted scenes in the film is most famous for the fact that it doesn’t actually exist!

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Was Jon Bon Jovi’s First Professional Recording a Star Wars Christmas Song?

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

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Jon Bon Jovi’s first professional song recording was for a Star Wars Christmas Album.

One of the most truly bizarre pieces of popular culture is the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special…

The show had little involvement from George Lucas, and has only aired once (George Lucas was never going to approve a DVD release, but perhaps the new owners of LucasFilm will think otherwise?).

So it is pretty surprising, considering the failure of the project, that just two years later the Star Wars gang was right back with another Christmas-related project.

This time it was a Star Wars Christmas album, mostly sung by Anthony “C-3PO” Daniels!

Titled Christmas in the Stars….

the album featured vocals by some other singers, including one very surprising young singer!

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