Month: December 2016

Happy Birthday, Diego Luna

diego-luna-death-star-balloon

“I don’t have this feeling like, ‘Oh, I want to live in the United States and make movies and become famous just because the money is here.’ I like to make movies that tell stories that I care about.” – Diego Luna

12

13

14

Mexican actor Diego Luna, who played Captain Cassian Andor in the new Star Wars movie Rogue One, is celebrating his 37th birthday today. Happy Birthday, Diego Luna!

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Source for animated gifs: Tumblr.

Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds dies at 84

debbie-carrie“A long time ago… I realized that I loved to sing, dance, and make people laugh,” Debbie Reynolds said in 2002. “The trick is finding something that you like and sticking with it.”

Source: EW

Debbie Reynolds’ death comes the day after her daughter, actress Carrie Fisher, died unexpectedly at age 60. Debbie Reynolds was at Carrie Fisher’s estate Wednesday when she suffered a possible stroke and was rushed to the hospital. Her son, Todd Fisher, confirmed her death to multiple outlets including Variety, TMZ, and the Associated Press.

“She wanted to be with Carrie,” Todd told Variety. Debbie Reynolds released a statement about Carrie Fisher’s death on Dec. 27, thanking fans for their support and for embracing “the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter.”

Debbie Reynolds with her daughter Carrie Fisher.

I don’t know what kind of stupid unfair insane f*cking year we are living where only the good ones have to die… I’m done with 2016. All my thoughts are with Debbie Reynolds family right now, her son Todd Fisher and her granddaughter Billie Lourd.

Actress Billie Lourd with her mother Carrie Fisher and grandmother Debbie Reynolds.

See also: Celebrities pay tribute after Debbie Reynolds dies at 84

Some of the amazing talented artists we lost in 2016

Source: Tumblr.

Carrie Fisher’s fans and friends respond to her passing

carrie1

RIP Carrie Fisher. Gone way too soon at 60 after drowning in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. Source: Tumblr.

“Carrie was one-of-a-kind…brilliant, original. Funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely…My thoughts are with her daughter Billie, her mother Debbie, her brother Todd, and her many friends. We will all miss her.” – Harrison Ford

“Carrie holds such special place in the hearts of everyone at Lucasfilm it is difficult to think of a world without her. She was Princess Leia to the world but a very special friend to all of us. She had an indomitable spirit, incredible wit, and a loving heart. Carrie also defined the female hero of our age over a generation ago. Her groundbreaking role as Princess Leia served as an inspiration of power and confidence for young girls everywhere. We will miss her dearly.” – Kathleen Kennedy

“Carrie Fisher was one-of-a-kind, a true character who shared her talent and her truth with us all with her trademark wit and irreverence. Millions fell in love with her as the indomitable Princess Leia; she will always have a special place in the hearts of Star Wars fans as well as all of us who were lucky enough to know her personally. She will be sorely missed, and we join millions of fans and friends around the world who mourn her loss today.” – Bob Iger.

The Princess stole my heart at age 7. Anybody who knows me knows #CarrieFisher was my first love. I thrilled to the adventures of #princessleia in the @starwars movies, but from '77 to '84, I was in love with Carrie Fisher herself. My bedroom was filled with Carrie Fisher pictures from any movie she was ever in (including Polaroids I took off the TV when #thebluesbrothers hit cable). I was jealous of Paul Simon when he was dating Carrie Fisher and wouldn't listen to his music until they split up. I paid to see Carrie Fisher and #chevychase in Under the Rainbow nine times when it was in theaters (mostly because Carrie Fisher was in underwear in one scene). In childhood, I committed myself to Carrie Fisher without ever meeting her the way novice Nuns commit themselves to Christ without meeting Him. Decades later, I got to tell her this when Carrie Fisher and @jaymewes were in a station wagon on the set of #jayandsilentbobstrikeback. She was gracious about hearing it for the zillionth time from the zillionth man or woman who grew up idolizing her, but wickedly added "I'm glad to know I helped you find your light saber." And with that, she stopped being Carrie Fisher to me and just became Carrie. That's the Carrie I'll always remember: the dutiful standard-bearer of childhood dreams with a the wicked sense of humor and a way with words. She didn't want to get paid for her role in @jayandsilentbob Strike Back; instead, she asked that we buy her these antique beaver chairs. Her reason: "Beaver seems an appropriate currency for this movie." When she was a guest on Season 1 of our @hulu show #Spoilers, Carrie curled up in the throne like she belonged there. And she did: after all, she was royalty. As a boy, I dreamed of marrying Carrie Fisher. As a young filmmaker, I dreamed of casting Carrie Fisher. As an adult, I dreamed of being as sharp-witted and prepossessed as Carrie Fisher. And now that Carrie Fisher is gone, I'll dream of my friend Carrie – whose entire magnificent career I was lucky enough to witness, whose honesty made me a better person, and whose spirit – like The Force – will be with us always. Goodnight, Sweet Princess…

A post shared by Kevin Smith (@thatkevinsmith) on

“Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter. I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop.” – Debbie Reynolds

“Devastated at this monumental loss. How lucky we all are to have known her, and how awful that we have to say goodbye.” – Daisy Ridley

“Carrie and I have been friends most of our adult lives. She was extremely smart; a talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colorful personality that everyone loved. In Star Wars she was our great and powerful princess – feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think. My heart and prayers are with Billie, Debbie and all Carrie’s family, friends and fans. She will be missed by all.” – George Lucas

1

2

She is with the Force now… Source: Tumblr.

Remembering Carrie Fisher, Princess of Star Wars and Hollywood

carrie-fosher-leia-the-force-awakens

Source: Wired

Of all the dramatic introductions in the Star Wars series, few are as mysterious, or as crucial, as the very first scenes of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in 1977’s A New Hope. Standing amid a fog of smoke, she deposits a mysterious object into R2-D2 before retreating back into the dark, only to emerge later to fearlessly blast a stormtrooper—all moments that set the original trilogy into motion, and which helped make the then-21-year-old actress one of the most recognizable faces in the world.

leia-new-hope

And while Carrie Fisher, who died Tuesday at the age of 60, would spend the next few decades very publicly wrestling with her Star Wars celebrity, her work in the sci-fi series gave the films not only some much-needed levity—did anyone in the Star Wars universe seem so perpetually, justifiably over-this-shit as Princess Leia?—they also provided the audience (which included millions of Organa-adoring young girls) a tough, smart female leader who could always be relied upon to provide guidance, a sarcastic one-liner or two,and a variety of vexing hairdos. Han had the cool; Luke had the courage; but Leia, as played by Fisher, had the smarts. Compared to her, the rest of us were mere scruffy-looking nerf herders.

carrie-fisher-2That’s not to say that Fisher’s career should be judged solely on events that took place in a galaxy far, far away. For starters, she was an accomplished writer and performer, etching memorable supporting roles in films like The Blues Brothers and When Harry Met Sally (not to mention her turn as a wine-loving retro-radical on 30 Rock, and her recent stint as a happily self-absorbed—and even more happily dismissive—mom on Catastrophe). Her comedic voice (dry and wry, and knowingly neurotic) was perhaps best represented by her in-print and on-stage work: Fisher’s 1987 quasi-memoir Postcards from the Edge was an unflinching tale of Hollywood excess (and, later, a hit movie starring Meryl Streep and directed by Mike Nichols). She was a solid for-hire journalist, as well, as evidenced by her 1991 Rolling Stone interview with Madonna, a hilarious and sometimes startling give-and-take that was part juicy Q&A, part mutual confessional. And the 2009 Broadway show Wishful Drinking—a hilarious bit of performance-as-therapy—found Fisher reconciling not only her time as Princess Leia, but also with her depression, as well as her astonishingly kudzu family life (her parents were singer-actor Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds). In that show, as with much of her writing, Fisher could punctuate even the darkest memory with a blunt-force one-liner from out of nowhere.

carrie-fisherFisher would end her Wishful Drinking show by donning that infamous double-bun Leia wig; she was pop-culturally aware enough to understand that people would always see her as Leia, whom she played in the original trilogy, as well as in last year’s The Force Awakens. The Star Wars films have never been particularly actor-friendly—you try saying a line like “The heavy transport ships will leave as soon as they’re loaded” with a straight face—but Fisher managed to locate the humor and longing beneath Leia, while never sacrificing her resolve.

In A New Hope, she starts out as an insult-tossing bon mot-bot (she smile-face sneers at Grand Moff Tarkin, and rightfully calls out Han and Luke for being the piss-poor planners that they are) before turning into a unflappable take-charger; the film’s final minutes, in which she coolly stares down the Death Star death-clock, cemented Leia’s rep as a fearless frontwoman for the Rebellion. In Empire, she had a lot more fun; Fisher clearly took great joy in exploring character’s vulnerabilities, especially during Leia’s space-noir back-and-forths with Han Solo (Harrison Ford). Return of the Jedi didn’t give the actress a whole lot to work with—strangling a space-worm while wearing a bikini was probably not the most exciting moment of Fisher’s career, though she did ultimately find it somewhat cathartic— while her Force Awakens role was mostly a nostalgia-stoking, connect-the-plots cameo. Still, just watching a now-older Fisher give the side-eye to Ford, or oversee an attack on a planet-killing superweapon, was a reminder of just how deeply the actress could inhabit Leia.

new-hope

empire

return

force

“I carry her around, and I know her better than anybody else and we wear the same clothes a lot of times,” Fisher said last year. “She’s mine. She’s mine!” But Leia was ours, too—a fighter who loved her work, her causes, and her friends, and who lived one of the most extraordinary lives imaginable. The same could be said about Fisher, a rare-breed raconteur who was Hollywood royalty in her own right, and whose sense of humor—whether it was about addiction, depression, or long-running space-operas—was more powerful than we could possibly imagine. One of the biggest moments of Rogue One is its final scene, in which A New Hope-era Leia is brought back via CGI, giving the movie a proper pre-credits send-off. I can’t imagine what Fisher thought of seeing her circa-1977 self resurrected on the big screen (I’m guessing she had more than a few notes). But I’m sure she loved the fact that, finally, Leia got the last word.

force-awakens

Carrie Fisher passes away at 60

carrie

“Carrie holds such special place in the hearts of everyone at Lucasfilm it is difficult to think of a world without her. She was Princess Leia to the world but a very special friend to all of us. She had an indomitable spirit, incredible wit, and a loving heart. Carrie also defined the female hero of our age over a generation ago. Her groundbreaking role as Princess Leia served as an inspiration of power and confidence for young girls everywhere. We will miss her dearly.” – Kathleen Kennedy

carrie-fisher

I still can’t believe. But hell it’s true. I’m emotionally devastated now. No words can’t express so deep sadness.

carrie-gary

RIP Space Mom, you are the one with the Force now.

carrie-mark

Carrie Fisher dies at 60

Source: People

Carrie Fisher has died at age sixty after suffering a heart attack on a plane from London to Los Angeles four days ago. Billie Lourd, Carrie Fisher’s daughter confirmed that she passed away. Four days ago when the heart attack occurred, friends and experts in the medical field were letting us know it didn’t look good considering the conditions. The situation looked better on Christmas, as Debbie Reynolds, Fisher’s mother, stated she was in stable condition. Her condition this worsened and we lost her this morning.

Family spokesman Simon Halls told People:

“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” reads the statement.

“She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly,” says Lourd, 24. “Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”

Carrie Fisher was flying from London to Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 23, when she went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics removed her from the flight and rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she was treated for a heart attack. She later died in the hospital.

The daughter of renowned entertainers Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Carrie was brought up in the sometimes tumultuous world of film, theater and television. Escaping Hollywood in 1973, the star enrolled in the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, where she spent over a year studying acting. Just two years later, though, the bright lights of Hollywood drew her back, and Carrie Fisher made her film debut in the Warren Beatty-led Shampoo.

debbie-reynolds

Her role in Star Wars would follow in 1977 – and she detailed the experience, including her on-set affair with costar Harrison Ford, in her  latest memoir, The Princess Diarist. She was only 19 when the first installment of the beloved sci-fi franchise was filmed. In addition to the second and third Star Wars films – and last year’s The Force Awakens – Fisher starred in 1980’s The Blues Brothers, The Man with One Red Shoe, Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters in 1986 and, later, When Harry Met Sally.

Carrie Fisher wed musician Paul Simon in 1983. It was an explosive marriage, according to Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon author Peter Ames Carlin, and was cut short by swinging stages of depression, the actress’s drug use and an array of personal insecurities. The relationship continued, though, on-and-off for several years after the pair divorced in 1984.

Carrie Fisher was candid about her substance abuse issues over the decades, starting at only age 13 when she began smoking marijuana. She said she later dabbled in drugs like cocaine and LSD. She explored her own issues with addiction in her 1987 bestselling, semi-autobiographical novel, Postcards from the Edge, which was later turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep.

“I never could take alcohol. I always said I was allergic to alcohol, and that’s actually a definition to alcoholism — an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind,” Carrie Fisher told the Herald-Tribune in 2013. “So I didn’t do other kinds of drugs until I was about 20. Then, by the time I was 21 it was LSD. I didn’t love cocaine, but I wanted to feel any way other than the way I did, so I’d do anything.”

In 1985, Carrie Fisher was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she subsequently became an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness. Throughout much of the ’90s, Carrie focused on her writing career, publishing Surrender the Pink and Delusions of Grandma. In addition, she helped craft the scripts for numerous Hollywood films, going uncredited, for films like The Wedding Singer, Hook and Sister Act.

Billie Lourd, Carrie’s only child, was born in July 1992. The Scream Queens star’s father, talent agent Bryan Lourd, dated Carrie Fisher for three years and is now married to Bruce Bozzi.

carrie-billie

In 2005, Carrie Fisher was recognized with the Women of Vision Award by the Women in Film & Video – DC. Three years later, Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking autobiography was turned into a one-woman stage show and eventually an HBO documentary.

Of returning to the role that launched her career – Leia Organa – for The Force Awakens, Carrie Fisher told PEOPLE in 2015, “I knew that something enormous was likely going to impact my life from this film and that there was absolutely no way of understanding what that was or was likely to be.”

The film – which brought Carrie Fisher back into the spotlight – earned  her a nomination for the 2016 Saturn Award for best supporting actress. She had already filmed scenes for the next Star Wars installment, Episode VIII, due out in December 2017.

carrie-gary

Just last month, Carrie Fisher also revealed her surprising on-set affair with Star Wars costar Harrison Ford in The Princess Diarist, telling PEOPLE of the three-month fling during the making of the 1977 movie, “It was so intense.” The memoir, which drew from Carrie Fisher’s old diaries and notebooks, brought up mixed feelings for the actress. “I had forgotten that I’d written them, and I’ve never written diaries sort of like that,” she said. “I write when I’m upset … it was about two or three months of upset.”

Carrie Fisher added, “It was sad because I was so insecure, and it’s very raw and obviously I didn’t expect anyone — including myself, I suppose later on — to read it.”

She is survived by her mom Debbie Reynolds, daughter Billie Lourd, brother Todd Fisher, half-sisters Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher, and beloved French bulldog, Gary.

1

2

3

4

How Rogue One brought back familiar faces

rogue-one-banner

Source: The New York Times

Making a new “Star Wars” movie can be like gaining access to a toy collection that has been amassed over four decades. For the creators of “Rogue One,” a film designed as a narrative lead-in to the original “Star Wars,” it was a chance to play with characters, vehicles and locations sacred to this series.

But as they revisited the 1977 George Lucas movie that started the “Star Wars” franchise, and gave fresh screen time to some lesser-known heroes and villains, the staffs of Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic faced artistic and technological hurdles: most prominently, using a combination of live action and digital effects to bring back the character Grand Moff Tarkin. This nefarious ally of Darth Vader and commander of the Death Star was played by Peter Cushing, the horror-film actor, who died in 1994.

peter-cushing-as-tarkin-in-star-wars-1977Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin in the original 1977 Star Wars film.

In doing so, they also waded into a postmodern debate about the ethics of prolonging the life span of a character and his likeness beyond that of the actor who originated the role.

The effects experts and storytellers behind “Rogue One” (which was directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy) say they have given careful thought to these issues and were guided by their reverence for this interstellar epic.

“A lot of us got into the industry because of ‘Star Wars,’ and we all have this love of the original source material,” said John Knoll, the chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic and a visual effects supervisor on “Rogue One” who shares story credit on the film with Gary Whitta. In his view, the character effects are “in the spirit of what a lot of ‘Star Wars’ has done in the past.”
Some vintage “Rogue One” characters were easier to conjure than others. General Dodonna, a rebel officer from the original “Star Wars” was simply recast; he was played by Alex McCrindle in the first film and Ian McElhinney in the new one.

dodonna

Jimmy Smits, who played the galactic Senator Bail Organa in the “Star Wars” prequels, returned in that role. And Genevieve O’Reilly, who played the rebellion leader Mon Mothma in “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” only to have her footage cut from the film, finally got to appear as that character in “Rogue One.” (The role was originated by Caroline Blakiston in “Return of the Jedi.”)

mon-mothma

Tarkin presented considerably greater difficulties, but the filmmakers said it would be just as hard to omit him from a narrative that prominently features the fearsome Death Star — the battle station he refuses to evacuate amid the rebels’ all-out assault in “Star Wars.”

“If he’s not in the movie, we’re going to have to explain why he’s not in the movie,” said Kiri Hart, a Lucasfilm story development executive and “Rogue One” co-producer. “This is kind of his thing.”

guy-henryFor principal photography, the filmmakers cast the English actor Guy Henry (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”), who has a build and stature like Cushing’s and could speak in a similar manner. Throughout filming, Mr. Henry wore motion-capture materials on his head, so that his face could be replaced with a digital re-creation of Cushing’s piercing visage. Mr. Knoll described the process as “a super high-tech and labor-intensive version of doing makeup.”

“We’re transforming the actor’s appearance to look like another character, but just using digital technology,” he said.

In striving for a balance between a digital figure who seemed real and one who looked precisely like Cushing, the “Rogue One” creators said seemingly minor tweaks could make significant differences — and these details were tinkered with constantly.

For example, the original “Star Wars” film (also known as “A New Hope”) was lit differently than “Rogue One,” raising questions of how to adjust the lighting on the character.

Hal Hickel, an Industrial Light & Magic animation supervisor, said that lighting him “the way he was in ‘A New Hope’ improved his likeness as Tarkin, but it worsened the sense of him being real because then he didn’t look like any of the actors in the scene.”

Side-by-side comparisons of Cushing’s daily footage from “Star Wars” and Mr. Henry’s motion-capture performance also called attention to subtle tics in the original actor’s delivery.

As Mr. Knoll explained, “When Peter Cushing makes an ‘aah’ sound, he doesn’t move his upper lip. He only opens his jaw about halfway, and makes this square shape with his lower lip, that exposes his lower teeth.”

Before nuances like this were accounted for, Mr. Knoll said their creation “looked like maybe a relative of Peter Cushing and not him exactly.”

Still, the animators had one golden rule: “Realism had to trump likeness,” Mr. Hickel said.

If the overall effect had not succeeded, Mr. Knoll said there were other narrative choices that would reduce Tarkin’s screen presence. “We did talk about Tarkin participating in conversations via hologram, or transferring that dialogue to other characters,” he said.

Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic said their re-creation of Cushing was done with the approval of the actor’s estate. But the technique has drawn criticism from viewers and writers. The Huffington Post called it “a giant breach of respect for the dead,” and The Guardian said it worked “remarkably well” but nonetheless described it as “a digital indignity.”

guy-henry-rogue-one

Mr. Knoll said he and his colleagues were aware of the “slippery slope argument,” that their simulated Cushing was opening the door to more and more movies using digital reproductions of dead actors.

“I don’t imagine that happening,” Mr. Knoll said. “This was done for very solid and defendable story reasons. This is a character that is very important to telling this kind of story.” He added: “It is extremely labor-intensive and expensive to do. I don’t imagine anybody engaging in this kind of thing in a casual manner.”

rogue-one-peter-cushing-digital

Live action and digital effects were used in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” to bring back the character Grand Moff Tarkin.

If “Star Wars” films are still made in 50 or 100 years, Mr. Knoll said audiences would probably not see likenesses of Mark Hamill or Harrison Ford playing Luke Skywalker or Han Solo. (He noted that the actor Alden Ehrenreich had already been cast to play the young Han Solo in a coming film about that character.)

“We’re not planning on doing this digital re-creation extensively from now on,” Mr. Knoll said. “It just made sense for this particular movie.”

The filmmakers also pointed to a scene at the end of “Rogue One,” when the intercepted Death Star plans are delivered to Princess Leia — who has been digitally recreated to look like Carrie Fisher in the original “Star Wars” — as an appropriate and effective use of the technology.

In her first shot, when Leia is seen from behind (wearing her trademark hair buns), she is played by a flesh-and-blood actor, Ingvild Deila. Then, in the reverse angle, when Leia is seen from the front, her face, hair and costume are a digital re-creation of Ms. Fisher, based on footage from “A New Hope.” (The character’s extended hand is Ms. Deila’s.)

star-wars-rogue-one-leia-cg-actor

“To deliver on that moment of hopefulness, that is really underscored by the fact that you do get to see her face,” Ms. Hart said.

“That’s the best possible use of effects, to enhance the meaning and the emotion of the experience for the viewer,” she said.

The “Rogue One” filmmakers reviewed the dailies from “Star Wars” and turned up other Easter eggs to add to their movie. They included unused footage of the X-Wing fighter pilots known as Red Leader (Drewe Henley) and Gold Leader (Angus MacInnes), who help wage the rebels’ attack on the Death Star.

star-wars-red-leader-gold-leader

(Some of that original film, Mr. Knoll said, was “somewhat underexposed,” requiring some digital repair work. The actors were then transferred by rotoscope, an animation technique, from that footage and inserted into computer-generated cockpits for “Rogue One.”)

Mr. Knoll said he did not come across a “vast gold mine” of footage that Mr. Lucas did not use in “Star Wars.”

“George was pretty economical in the way he shot the films originally,” Mr. Knoll said. “When he was happy with a performance, he’d go, ‘All right — I got it.’”

But Mr. Knoll gained a greater appreciation for “Star Wars” by seeing brief scenes and snippets of dialogue left on the editing-room floor.

One lost moment that Mr. Knoll described was a scene with Cushing and Ms. Fisher, after Princess Leia has seen Tarkin and his crew use the Death Star to destroy her home planet, Alderaan, and she bitterly responds, “And you call yourselves human.”

“It’s super fun, from a geeky fan point of view,” Mr. Knoll said. But, he added: “It’s a bit of a cheesy line. I totally understand why they cut that out.”

Updated: 15 most WTF moments from The Star Wars Holiday Special

holiday-special

Source text: ScreenRant. Animated Gifs: Tumblr

When it comes to holiday celebrations, TV holiday specials are a mainstay for many. Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown are just a few examples that one can count on for reliving nostalgia and embracing the season each year. But not every television special sticks the landing, which brings us to The Star Wars Holiday Special, which originally aired on November 17, 1978. Coming hot off the heels of the blockbuster smash Star Wars: A New Hope, expectations were through the roof. Things…didn’t go well.

The reaction by fans, cast and crew were so negative, that it never re-aired in the U.S. or received any official home video release. For children who watched it in ’78, this made the whole thing feel like some crazy hallucination. But thanks to the power of YouTube, we can attest that it did in fact exist — and that it is absolutely insane.

So why it’s Christmas time, here it is, with the best quality I could find. The infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. If you never watched it, you did not lose anything, and if you already watched, prove now you are a Star Wars die hard fan and watch it again until the end. May the Force be with you!

So in honor of the holidays and the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story premiere this month, let’s look at a horrible special far, far away and a long time ago, with 15 bizarre factoids about a production George Lucas laments ever came to fruition.

15. CHEWBACCA’S FAMILY GRUNTING SCENE

The plot for the holiday special revolves around “Life Day,” a sacred holiday that brings Chewbacca and Han Solo to visit the Wookie’s home planet Kashyyyk for a yearly celebration. This leads to the anti-climactic opening scene where Chewie’s family does chores while awaiting his return. It’s a sluggish and annoying ten-minute segment (we dare you to watch it on repeat for an hour–betcha can’t!) spoken entirely in Wookie, with no subtitles for clarification.

harrison-ford-in-the-star-wars-holiday-special

Yep, this awkward exchange of desperate and indecipherable pantomime (with cheesy background music to match) pretty much sets up the dysfunctional dynamic that plagues the entire storyline. And to further understand just how perfunctory and poorly thought out Chewbacca’s relatives are, get a load of their nicknames: his father is “Itchy” and his son is named “Lumpy ” (his wife gets off with the least ridiculous moniker of “Mala”). Keep in mind that these are only slightly more poetic than their full names of Attichitcuk, Mallatobuck, and Lumpawarrum.

14. BEA ARTHUR: SINGING MOS EISLEY BARTENDER

Maude and Golden Girls star Bea Arthur doesn’t exactly scream “musical barkeeper”, and her unlikely casting as Mos Eisley bartender Ackmena is yet another odd element of one whackadoo special. In this scene, she provides her husky pipes over a familiar but slowed down Cantina Band melody. The song Good Night, But Not Goodbye is a paean to customers that she can’t wait to get rid of (having to dance with a few drunken louts in the process, including one groping giant rodent). And her vocal performance is the definition of acquired taste.

Like everyone else in the Holiday Special, Arthur has a look of “Let’s wrap this up…and do you have my check?” throughout the proceedings. The cast and crew backed this up in an article with Mental Floss, saying she was “cold” and “demanding.” As for her own feelings, the late actress recalled in a 2005 interview that “I didn’t know what that was about at all…I had no idea it was even a part of the whole Star Wars thing … I just remember singing to a bunch of people with funny heads.” That may be the most appropriate description about the whole cursed production.

13. BOBA FETT’S TOTALLY RANDOM FIRST APPEARANCE

While most fan’s introduction to the mysterious bounty hunter Boba Fett occurred in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, hardcore fans of a certain age got their first look at the helmeted mercenary in the Star Wars Holiday Special. But his introduction proved a bizarre one at that.

boba-fett-star-wars-holiday-special

While Chewie’s son Lumpy is trying to keep himself preoccupied when Imperial stormtroopers raid his home, he decides to watch a cartoon on his view screen. The animated film in question features his dad along with Han, Luke and Leia and the droids, who visit a planet made of goo that’s filled with dinosaurs.

Why would Lumpy be watching an animated feature with his dad in it? How did that ever get created, and why does Lumpy try to hide it from the stormtroopers? It’s never explained at all, but we get a glimpse at Fett, who appears at first to attempt to befriend our heroes before his true nature is revealed. Oddly enough, Fett gets more screentime in this goofy cartoon than Empire Strikes Back or Return of The Jedi! It’s also the least grating moment in the entire holiday episode, so take that for what it’s worth.

12. JEFFERSON STARSHIP’S HOLOGRAM MUSIC VIDEO

Basically, the Star Wars Holiday Special is comprised of two things: bad jokes and bad songs. But the holographic music video featuring Jefferson Starship is notable for being an especially bonkers segment. Honeymooners star Art Carney appears as an electronic salesman, tasked with soothing an especially irritable Imperial officer.

His fix? A magical suitcase capable of projecting this trippy musical number, featuring groovy laser-light effects that play over the band’s performance of “Light The Sky On Fire”, which, while not as horrible as the group’s later hit “We Built This City”, manages to be a completely unmemorable rock number. Not to mention the fact that its a bit too uptempo to qualify as “soothing.” As far as why they chose a generic Jefferson Starship rock song to include in a futuristic holiday special (introduced by an aging comic legend no less), we have no clue. But that goes for about every moment in this train wreck.

11. HARRISON FORD LOOKS COMPLETELY MISERABLE

Aside from the occasional wry grin, we’re used to seeing a sourpuss Han Solo on-screen. But even by his scoundrel standards, the character looks pretty miserable throughout the entire production of the Star Wars Holiday Special. You can chalk that up less to characterization and more to actor Harrison Ford’s mindset about being included in such a horrific project. To see him saunter about in his role, which brings Solo to the planet Kashyyyk to visit Chewbacca’s family, is almost painful, as he’s clearly unhappy about being in the low-rent production padded with sickeningly sweet moments and corny jokes.

In an interview promoting Cowboys and Aliens, Ford made no apologies for his disdain: “It was in my contract–there was no known way to get out of it.” He admitted that he hasn’t even seen the finished product: “No…I was there, man.” In a separate interview with Yahoo! News, he was more concise: “What an embarrassment.” Perhaps this experience was the initial inspiration for Ford to beg Lucas to kill off his character. But alas, the character’s end didn’t come until 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

10. COOKING SHOW SEGMENT 

As if the opening 10 minute Wookie grunting sequence wasn’t ridiculous enough, the Star Wars Holiday Special also treats viewers to a Wookie cooking segment. Because why not, right? While Chewbacca’s wife Mala is mortified that her hubby may be dead, she decides to lift her spirits by watching a weird cooking show to get her thoughts focused on the holiday festivities.

The cooking program features Harvey Korman as Chef Gormaanda, a Julia Child-like celebrity chef, but of the extraterrestrial variety. Sporting an annoying accent, stale jokes, and looking like a cross between The Tin Man and Doctor Octopus, Korman’s character offers a manic style of cooking, repeatedly reminding his audience “stir, whip, stir whip, whip, whip, stir” and that they should be “having fun” as they cook. The commandment to have a good time feels more like a desperate cry for help to the audience to find a morsel of humor in this joyless segment. And despite his (and Mala’s) ridiculous antics, there’s no such luck.

9. THE FIRST STAR WARS SEQUEL

Perhaps the most dubious and crazy aspect about this clunker of a production is that it’s officially the second installment in the Star Wars franchise, which is somewhat amazing. That’s right folks, the first Star Wars sequel was a bargain basement variety show, not the stellar The Empire Strikes Back. It makes for a fascinating juxtaposition, however, as the franchise would go from its most saccharine chapter to the darkest (and best) entry in the series.

The fact that George Lucas’s name doesn’t appear in the Holiday Special credits isn’t simply a vote of no confidence from the Star Wars creator — more on that in a bit — it also shows how his and the cast members’ involvement with Empire at the time contributed to the lack of focus and slapdash production. No one was truly invested in the Holiday Special, and it’s readily apparent. It was a cynical effort to push toys and keep the name alive. Amazingly, Lucasfilm consultant Miki Herman would sum up the disaster thusly: “The interesting thing is, the day after the special aired was the day of the Jonestown Massacre. It was just a bad time for everyone.

8. THE HOLOGRAM NIGHTMARE CIRCUS

In this segment, Lumpy treats himself to a hologram performance by a group of costumed dancers. Imagine a pint-sized Cirque du Soleil without any interesting choreography and that’s pretty much it. To top off this lame display, we get a queasy honking synthesizer score that sounds like a Mannheim Steamroller outtake. While it only lasts 2 minutes and thirty-four seconds, it feels like a lifetime (like in Wookie years).

Lumpy is way into it however; grunting, clapping and trying to make it look far more impressive and entertaining that it is, which is yet another perfect example of how network brass and the behind-the-scenes production team repeatedly tried to polish a turd that stunk too terribly to ever coalesce into anything worthwhile. That’s the thing about the Star Wars Holiday Special: it may be an assault on the eyeballs and ears, but you just can’t look away.

7. HORRIFIC PRODUCTION VALUES

While The Star Wars Holiday Special is the first official sequel to Lucas’s space opera property, it clashes so visually and tonally with A New Hope that it pretty much prevents audience immersion from the get-go. Whereas A New Hope looked amazing on a modest budget of $11 million, the special cost only $1 million, and that translated into a production entirely shot on videotape, with no flashy effects.

This cheap look gave it the visual panache of your average network variety special, and this trickled down into its additional cast of sitcom performers like Bea Arthur and Art Carney, along with The Carol Burnett Show’s Harvey Korman. The Burnett comedy and musical stylings were also present thanks to series writer Bruce Vilanch contributing jokes. Not a good mix.

Special co-writer Leonard Ripps would later complain about this cross-pollination of the production, saying “Lucas wanted a show about the holiday. Vilanch and everyone, they were wonderful writers, but they were Carol Burnett writers. In the litany of George’s work, there was never kitsch. Star Wars was always very sincere about Star Wars.”

6. GEORGE LUCAS HATED THE CONCEPT, BUT GAVE IN ANYWAYS 

If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.” Those words came from George Lucas himself when describing how much he despised the end results of the holiday special. The Star Wars creator felt roped into doing the variety show in the first place, saying in a 2009 interview that “Fox said, ‘You can promote the film by doing the TV special.’ So I kind of got talked into doing the special.

While he may have had reservations, he did craft the original story (which would be fleshed out and drastically changed by a host of writers). Co-writer Leonard Ripps noted that Lucas’ “idea was basically for a Wookiee Rosh Hashanah. A furry Earth Day.” Oddly enough, he also recalled that Lucas said that Han Solo “was married to a Wookie but that we couldn’t mention that because it would be controversial.” Come again? How amazing would that have been to include?

As oft is the case with Lucas, his desire to sell toys and merchandise came at the expense of his reputation. That being said, the Holiday Special is still more fun to watch than those damn prequels.

5. HARVEY KORMAN POURS A DRINK IN HIS HEAD

Harvey Korman does his best to liven up this cursed affair, but he could never rise above the material. In addition to his groan-worthy cooking show host character, he also plays the pervy alien Krelman, who hits on bartender Bea Arthur while getting sloshed in the Mos Eisley Cantina. After tiring of his harassment, she actually gets so irritated that she goes over to lavish attention on Hammerhead.

harvey-korman-star-wars

While she wanders off, he pours a big glass of intergalactic grog in a hole in his head. After that proves ineffectively impressive, he keeps on hitting on Arthur’s character, offering her a flower and totally creeping her out by misreading her indifference as some sort of hard-to-get routine: “I decided what you meant was exactly the thing I needed to hear.” Luckily, in her typical gruff manner she gets him to buzz off and sings the aforementioned closing time song to further the hint — get out, dude!

4. CHEWBACCA’S DAD GETS SEDUCED BY DIAHANN CARROLL IN EROTIC HOLOGRAM PERFORMANCE

We’re not sure exactly how this bizarre and provocative moment ever made into a children’s holiday special, but thank the Sith Lords that it did, because it’s one of those remarkably (and unintentionally) hilarious moments that has baffled anyone with the misfortune of seeing the Star Wars Holiday Special.

Dynasty actress and musical theater star Diahann Carroll appears as Mermeia, a holographic fantasy woman who gets Chewie’s father Itchy all hot and bothered while using the virtual reality device described as a “mind evaporator.”

Her gyrating musical performance of “This Minute”, featuring lyrics like “I am your fantasy, I am your experience — so experience me. I am your pleasure,” would feel inappropriate for any family show, but that fact that there’s an interspecies sexual element added on top makes it even more unnerving. We think some things in the Star Wars universe should be left sacred, most notably how a Wookie grandpa decides to gets his rocks off. None of our business. Thanks!

3. LUKE SKYWALKER’S AWKWARD ATTEMPT TO MAKE CHEWIE’S WIFE SMILE 

In one of the most off-putting sequences you could ever hope to see, Luke Skywalker talks to Mala via a communications device. In between performing maintenance on R2-D2 in his workshop, he tries to calm her nerves as she awaits her hirsute hubby to return: “C’mon, Chewbacca’s not going to want to come home to a bunch of long faces. C’mon, let’s see that smile.

luke-skywalker-star-wars-holiday-special

We’re then subjected to what seems like an eternal moment of Mark Hamill grinning in deranged fashion, until Mala finally breaks into some sort of pseudo-smile. It’s yet another unintentional example of a human and wookie having a weird romantic moment, which would surely result in Luke getting his limbs ripped off if Chewbacca had walked in and took it the wrong way. Making things even more garish is Hamill’s clown-paint makeup, a drastic attempt to hide his recent cosmetic surgery after a car accident. As far as the actor’s involvement in the special, he had this to say: “I thought it was a mistake from the beginning…I initially said that I didn’t want to do it, but George said it would help keep Star Wars in the consciousness.” At least he succeeded in getting his musical number nixed. Our next entry wasn’t so lucky.

2. PAINFULLY UNCOMFORTABLE MUSICAL FINALE

The Star Wars Holiday Special saves the worst for last in this cringe-worthy finale: a musical number performed by Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. Her Life Day song is downright sacrilegious, with lyrics like “No matter how different we appear, we’re all the same in the struggles against the powers of evil and darkness” awkwardly retrofitted upon John William’s classic Star Wars theme. Fisher gives it her all, but let’s just say there’s a reason she never had a musical career.

Like the rest of her Star Wars alumni, Fisher wasn’t excited about doing the special, but got lured into it with the musical number. Sure, she was dealing with her own off-camera personal issues at the time (the actress has been pretty vocal about her battle with substance abuse), but there’s no excusing this melodic trainwreck. As far as her own thoughts on the infamous Star Wars entry, Fisher makes it short but sweet: “It was awful.

1. IT REFUSES TO DIE 

It’s true…all of it.” Those solemn words spoken by Han Solo in The Force Awakens could just as easily apply to the Star Wars Holiday Special. Despite nearly everyone involved in the production being embarrassed by it, the fact that Lucas wants all evidence that it exists destroyed, that it only aired once and isn’t commercially available, the fact that it seems too crazy to actually exist…all these points are immaterial. It does exist, it is horrible, and no one affiliated with the Star Wars franchise will ever fully rid themselves of it.

It lives on through bootlegs, YouTube, Rifftrax and other incarnations, allowing fans who saw it as kids to relive its odd charms, and newbies the chance to discover that yes, it’s just as bad they’ve heard. Even Lucas has accepted its place in pop culture, saying in an interview, “I’m sort of amused by it, because it is so bizarre. It’s definitely avant-garde television. It’s definitely bad enough to be a classic.” We like to believe that he doesn’t feel the same way about The Phantom Menace.

And after all you watched and read, you still want to know more about The Holiday Special, check this site entirely dedicated to the Star Wars Holiday Special. Happy Christmas!