This is a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one. Disney has added a few of the old Star Wars classics to Disney+ under the label of Star Wars Vintage. Most of these are based on the original trilogy era with a particular focus on ewoks. To start with, though, I decided to take a look at something that could very well have remained lost to time – purely because of what it was attached to.
A year after the original Star Wars released, and during the making of The Empire Strikes Back, The Holiday Special arrived a week before Thanksgiving, and then was never broadcast again. The critics and viewers ripped into it as an experience, naming it as one of the worst things to have ever aired. But the one small light within this otherwise dark spot on the franchise was the animated short that featured within it.
While The Holiday Special might never see the light of day in an official capacity, the animated short has finally seen an official release on Disney+. The Story of the Faithful Wookiee is a small story featuring several elements that would make their way into The Empire Strikes Back. The main one being Boba Fett.
It’s a fun story that - despite it being named after Chewie, doesn’t have much for the faithful Wookiee to do. He does what’s needed to attract the attention of the rebels, but then it feels as though his importance drops off a cliff. Despite wanting to go with Boba to get that serum, Chewie stays hidden when ordered to. Sure, it’s heavy Imperial territory they find themselves in, but then why would the story be named after Chewie if he’s not going to make the important discoveries?
If you also want to get pedantic about it, this talisman – and by extension the entire story – feels a bit contrived. It puts humans into a deep sleep, which affected Luke almost as soon as he saw it. While we don’t know when Han dropped off, it’s possible he did too. However, for the serum for said talisman to easily be available at an Imperial owned store, why were the rebels not prepared for that? Why did they not get some of the serum beforehand? Are you telling me that there’s only one planet that sells it?
Clearly, then, there are a few problems in terms of story. But then what story doesn’t have them? It’s certainly an enjoyable watch, with some smooth animation and a nice visual style that still holds up. Except for Han’s face. I’ve no idea what they were thinking with that. There are also some great shots at times, such as the ones featured above.
It’s not one of the best pieces of media relating to Star Wars, but during a time where the only other material relating to the franchise was the original film, it’s clearly a product of its time. As a fan of Star Wars, however, it is worth watching. Even if just once for the historical value of it. For as short as it is, I think you owe yourself that.