The original trilogy of Star Wars films, as well as the prequel trilogy, may have been released in summer months, but a lot of fans of the series have a strong nostalgic connection to the holiday season. This might be inspired by the request for gifts honoring the galaxy far, far away, or it could be that a majority of projects crafted by Disney have been unveiled when the weather outside is frightful, which cements a connection between the franchise and the month of December. Making matters even more strange is that some of the weirder corners of the franchise are centered around the holidays, which includes the Star Wars holiday album, Christmas in the Stars.
In 1978, with every brand on the planet hoping to get into the Star Wars business, the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special was developed for CBS, which debuted on November 17th. The non-secular event focused on Chewbacca and Han Solo having to travel across the galaxy to reunite with the Wookiee's family for "Life Day," with much of the event being a typical '70s variety special full of comedy sketches, musical performances, and celebrity guests. George Lucas was so embarrassed by the special that it only aired once and has never been released in any official capacity.
One would think that this event would confirm that the franchise should avoid any attempts to cash in on holiday excitement, but just two years later, another bizarre event occurred.
Producer Domenico Monardo, who goes by the name "Meco," immediately became a huge fan of Star Wars after he first saw it in 1977, leading him to develop the album Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk, which was composed of disco-inspired interpretations of songs from the film. As Meco described to TheForce.net back in 2005, his success with his disco albums led to him getting on the phone with Lucas, where he pitched the filmmaker on the idea of crafting a Christmas album for the franchise. In addition to endorsing the record, Lucas jokingly said that the only thing Meco couldn't do is "kiss the Wookiee."
Following the record's original release, the record company faced legal troubles so the album, Christmas in the Stars, wouldn't be widely available again until 1996 when it was released on CD.
At first glance, the record would appear to be a generic holiday album with some Star Wars-themed cover art slapped on the front, but tracks like "R2D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas," "Christmas in the Stars," and "What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)" truly set the album apart from any other seasonal offerings.
For those curious about the answer on what to gift a Wookiee, the lyrics confirm:
"Let's give him love and understanding
Good will to men
We wrap it all up in bright-colored ribbon
And we give it to him all over again
And that's what you get a Wookiee for Christmas
When he already owns a comb"
If the official endorsement from George Lucas wasn't enough support, Christmas in the Stars also features a cover crafted by iconic concept artist Ralph McQuarrie as well as Anthony Daniels, C-3PO himself, contributing vocals, accompanied by official droid, blaster, and Wookiee sound effects. The album is also notable for featuring a teen-aged Jon Bon Jovi, as his cousin, Tony Bongiovi, was one of the producers.
Much like the original stars of the trilogy tried to ignore the Holiday Special, Bon Jovi tried to put Christmas in the Stars behind him. In a 2011 interview with Forbes, Bon Jovi confirmed, "They wrote me down like a session musician … It took 20 minutes, there was nothing to it." He also noted he got $180 for his contributions.
While it's hard to deny how bizarre the Holiday Special is, at least it has a beloved following. It's hard to compare one audio project to a multimedia experience that only aired once, but the fact that elements of the Holiday Special have been incorporated into official canon is proof that there were nuggets of good ideas in it. Multiple different narratives have embraced the concept of Life Day, as well as weapons and attire seen in the special showing up in the franchise in recent years. Christmas in the Stars, on the other hand, has essentially been abandoned by Lucasfilm.
Sadly, with Christmas in the Stars being out of print and unavailable to stream, you'll have to track down a used copy to enjoy the tracks. While it surely won't be happening this year, we hope that Lucasfilm will eventually embrace the effort and revive it for fans who need a little extra holiday spirit.0comments