'Star Wars Holiday Special' Wookiee Mask Gets Impressive Restoration

While many members of the Lucasfilm team have tried their best to forget about 1978's Star Wars [...]

While many members of the Lucasfilm team have tried their best to forget about 1978's Star Wars Holiday Special, it's still an infamous part of the saga's history. Special effects studio Tom Spina Designs recently shared that they restored a mask used in the special to bring out the original glory of Chewbacca's wife Malla.

star wars holiday special malla mask wookiee
(Photo: Tom Spina Designs)

"While it may look like Chewie's wife, Malla, this Wookiee mask was originally a Star Wars Chewbacca mask (made by legendary makeup artist, Stuart Freeborn) which was converted by Stan Winston's team for the infamous 1978 The Star Wars Holiday Special," the studio detailed. "Since Malla is not seen in any of the other Star Wars films, this is a very rare and unique piece. But since 1978, the Malla mask had begun to show signs of her age and came to us in need of some repair."

The special aired once in 1978 on CBS and was never released on any home video format. Despite the poor reception of the special, it was the event featuring original stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Anthony Daniels since filming the original Star Wars, helping satiate fans' desires to see the characters until 1980's Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

"Our client asked for only minimal touchup, and we agreed that was that best approach for a piece as important as this one," the studio continued. "After use in both the 1977 Star Wars and rework and reuse in 1978's television special, the Malla mask had several areas along the lips and nose where the foam latex had become fragile or cracked. Tom stabilized and patched these areas, carefully matching the surrounding material. Once the damaged areas were all repaired they were meticulously spot painted to match the original material."

star wars holiday special malla mask wookiee 2
(Photo: Tom Spina Designs)

With the special recently having celebrated its 40th anniversary, Hamill admitted on Twitter that he had never seen it in its entirety.

Despite having only aired once, many viewers made VHS copies of the event, bootlegs of which circled the globe for decades. Advances in streaming video services and lax copyright regulations have allowed the special to be hosted on various websites, making it easier than ever to see the debacle, even if those involved in creating it wished you hadn't.

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