In the biggest bulk release of “Star Wars” content since the streamer’s launch, several “Star Wars” TV spinoffs from the 1970s, 1980s and 2000s will debut on Disney Plus on April 2. Among them will be the animated short “The Story of the Faithful Wookiee” — featuring the debut of bounty hunter Boba Fett — that played in the middle of the live-action “Holiday Special” when it first aired on CBS on 1978.
Joining “Faithful Wookiee” will be two TV movies featuring the cuddly Ewoks, 1984’s “Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure” and 1985’s “Ewoks: The Battle for Endor”; the animated “Ewoks” TV series that aired from 1985 to 1986; and the animated “Star Wars: Clone Wars” TV micro-series from Genndy Tartakovsky that aired on Cartoon Network from 2003 to 2005.
These spinoffs have lived in the hearts of hardcore “Star Wars” fans largely because many have been difficult to find, no more so than “The Star Wars Holiday Special.” Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, the program, which did not involve creator George Lucas, was immediately panned as a slap-shod cash grab. While the “Holiday Special” has been known to crop up on YouTube every so often, it’s never been officially released in any format.
“The Story of the Faithful Wookiee,” however, has been widely considered to be the best part of the “Holiday Special,” in large part because it marks the debut of Boba Fett, who later appeared in live-action in 1980’s “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.” Lucasfilm even included “Faithful Wookiee” as an easter egg on the 2011 Blu-ray release of the first six “Star Wars” features. (A live-action TV series about the character, “The Book of Boba Fett,” is due to premiere on Disney Plus at the end of the year.)
After debuting on ABC as “The Ewok Adventure” in 1984, the 90-minute special was released in theaters internationally as “Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure.” Other than Warwick Davis reprising his role as the Ewok Wicket from 1983’s “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” neither “Caravan of Courage” nor its sequel the following year, “Ewoks: The Battle for Endor,” reference “Star Wars” mythology in any substantive way. The animated “Ewoks” TV series took a similar approach.
“Star Wars: Clone Wars,” by contrast, was deeply tied to the prequel trilogy. Set between 2002’s “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” and 2005’s “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith,” the first two seasons of “Clone Wars” were comprised of three-to-five-minute-long, action-heavy animated shorts, tracking the characters of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. Season 3 of the show expanded the storytelling to five, 12-minute long episodes. (In 2008, Lucasfilm revived “The Clone Wars” as a more traditional animated series without Tartakovsky’s involvement; that show ended its run on Disney Plus in May 2020.)
Curiously, rather than make a splashy announcement of the release of all this long-lost “Star Wars” content, Disney quietly included the titles among its list of material coming to Disney Plus in April. A spokesperson for Lucasfilm did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Variety, but io9 is reporting that there aren’t any further plans to release more of the “Holiday Special” beyond the Boba Fett animated short.