Following the success of Star Wars in 1977, all of pop culture wanted to cash-in on the excitement surrounding the space opera, which ultimately led to the debut of The Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978. The bizarre variety special brought together unexpected musical acts while Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher all appeared to celebrate "Life Day," only for George Lucas to ultimately try to erase the special from existence. Despite the absurdity of the special, it holds a place in many fans' hearts, including Solo: A Star Wars Story co-writer Jonathan Kasdan's. The writer recently admitted he tried to get multiple Holiday Special references into the film, but failed.
When a fan shared an image from the Solo home video release which confirmed one connection to the Holiday Special, Kasdan added, "Did several versions of this. I like references to the Holiday Special & tried (& failed) to get more in. One of the frustrating things about making a [Star Wars movie] is that you don't get to preview for a full audience like other movies & don't get to test jokes the way you'd like."
The scene in question was when Han Solo officially introduced himself to Chewbacca, with the Wookiee revealing his full name, only for Han to joke that there was no way he would refer to him by that entire title, instead giving him the nickname "Chewie." The film's script confirmed that Chewbacca's dialogue included a reference to himself as "Chewbacca, son of Attichitcuk," with Attichitcuk having made his debut in the Holiday Special.
It's unclear why Kasdan was unable to get more references to the Holiday Special into Solo, though it likely wasn't entirely pushback from Lucasfilm, who has allowed a number of references to a piece of lore that Lucas himself would rather forget make their way into other projects.
The bartender Ackmena, who was played by Bea Arthur in the Holiday Special, made a memorable appearance in an official canonical appearance in a Star Wars novel. Earlier this year, Star Wars: The Mandalorian producer Jon Favreau took to Instagram to reveal a rifle prop from the series, which resembled the weapon Boba Fett used in his animated debut in the special.
As the Star Wars franchise continues to expand and audiences are given new stories, we can likely expect to see more references to the Star Wars Holiday Special, though many of them will likely be subtle.
Would you like to see more references to the notorious special in future projects? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!