There is a new Star Wars movie hitting movie theaters tonight. You may already be in line to get your seats. Even if you bought those tickets online months ago. You might only be reading this Friday Flash because, “hey, it’s Star Wars.” The reason we got you reading is because Star Wars has been a cultural force for more than four decades now. The characters transcend social strata. People everywhere know the lines by heart. It has entry points for children and adults, and has spread across numerous media platforms since the first movie sprung forth from George Lucas’ head in 1977.
Saying that, we always are a little surprised when people have never seen any of the films, television, shows, documentary, fan movies, art, etc. Of course, we always get surprised when we meet people who know a lot about the hidden gems and nuances of the Star Wars universe. This blog is mainly for them, because we are offering up five hidden treasures from Star Wars that you may have never seen before.
- The Holiday Special: The lost movie of the Star Wars universe. This misguided made-for-television movie was a colossal failure on release in 1978 and Lucas has disowned it over the years. If you have never heard of this film or seen it, be warned. It is pretty bad. Let’s just summarize: imagine a film where all the main characters from the first movie come back to interact with Art Carney, Bea Arthur, Harvey Korman, Jefferson Starship (with no Grace Slick!), and Chewbacca’s family, who dominate the first 20 minutes with no dialogue save for various grunts. Ok, there is the animated sequence where the character of Boba Fett was first introduced, and there is a Rebel Alliance alien in the background that looks like Admiral Ackbar, but no one really talks about that. You can find the back story here. We would link directly to the film itself, but some of you are good friends of ours and we don’t want to subject you to that.
- Donnie and Marie’s Star Wars Special: All the big shows were doing Star Wars bits in the late 1970s, but no one quite did one like Donnie and Marie, who play Luke and Leia as brother and sister long before it was ever announced in the films. Actually, based on the official Star Wars timeline, one has to wonder if George Lucas was sitting at home, saw this and said, “hey, that’s a good idea!” Probably not, but this video is worth it just for Paul Lynde as an Imperial officer with a legion of dancing Stormtroopers. Redd Foxx also cameos as an Obi Wan Kenobi type character.
- Return of the Ewok: This curious entry into the world of Star Wars was the brain child of young Warwick Davis, who played Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi. It is a pseudo sneak preview of the movie, and was never completed. You can watch raw footage here. Why watch it? Because it is very, very funny and there are some nice little Easter Eggs. For example, watch in the background for posters stating Revenge of the Jedi, which was the movie’s working title before being changed at the last minute because Lucas didn’t think Jedi (Jedis?) would seek revenge. Harrison Ford also makes a fun joke about agents. Also listen closely to the Darth Vader scene. It uses the voice of David Prowse (the actor who physically played Vader) and not James Earl Jones, who famously did the voice in the movies.
- Bon Jovi and Star Wars: Jon Bon Jovi was just named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We hope that his induction speech references his first professional recording where he sang on a Star Wars Christmas album. Yes, he debuted on an album that featured R2D2 chirping lyrics on numerous tracks. His musical number actually is a duet with R2 called “He’s a little Runaway Droid.” Kidding, they do “R2D2, We wish you a Merry Christmas.”
- Famicon’s Star Wars video game: Right before the NES system became standard in American homes that had kids in the late 1980s, Nintendo had a system called Famicon that almost solely existed in Japan. One of its 1987 releases was Star Wars. The game is hard as hell to play, which is a big reason it was never redone for American audiences. Watch the video here, but what makes it so interesting in the “story line.” Ever want to see Darth Vader turn into a shark? It’s here. How about a Dinosaur? Oh yeah. Why does Luke have black hair? Who the hell knows? Maybe the programmers still wanted Robby Benson to play the lead role. Why does….ok, you get the point, we have a lot of questions that go unanswered because the game’s flash movie scenes are all in Japanese.
Anyway, that is what got. Would love to hear your favorite obscure parts of the galaxy far, far away.
May the Force be with you.