Honor The Force recently got a chance to speak with the internet's foremost expert on the Star Wars Holiday Special, Scott Kirkwood. Scott has built and maintained the definitive Star Wars Holiday Special website for the past 12 years. He had lots to say about his thoughts and hopes for the Holiday Special as a new generation of fans awaken.
Honor The Force: What first sparked your love of Star Wars?
Scott: I read the novel, and that did it. Prior to that, I was a staunch Trekkie and thought that this "Star Wars" thing was just trying to rip off Star Trek. After reading the novel, I became the biggest Star Wars fan in my school (no joke, ask my teachers!), even though I hadn't seen the movie.
Honor The Force: Why did you choose to create a website devoted to the Holiday Special?
Scott: I've always had a strange fascination with the Holiday Special, in part I'm sure because I saw it when it aired and it was actually the first Star Wars "movie" I ever saw (I didn't see the actual Star Wars film until it finally came out on video, because my family did not go to theaters!). Years later, nobody seemed to remember the Holiday Special at all...but I definitely did. And yet I couldn't find any real evidence of it, let alone a copy of the Special itself. So I became obsessed with proving its existence, and started collecting up every article, photo, or mention of it (and there weren't many). Finally around 1994 I found a horrible quality bootleg VHS of it, and then I had my proof! After that it was just a matter of sharing all the things I'd found about it with the rest of the world, and that's when I decided to do the website. It went up in 2003, but I'd been thinking about doing it since the late 90s. Basically, I did it because no one else would.
Honor The Force: Name your favorite 3 Star Wars Characters and tell what makes them so special to you.
1. Jawa - my first action figure was a Jawa, and I invented a whole back story for him. Eventually I had a whole world based around Jawa characters that I shared with my friends.
2. Tusken Raider - my second action figure, and he was friends with my Jawa. Still a huge favorite.
3. Stormtrooper - that armor was just so cool, even if it was completely ineffective against anything. From day one I wanted nothing as much as I wanted to have an authentically detailed Stormtrooper helmet (having the armor was too much to even dream of). Now as an adult I finally have my wish.
Honor The Force: The Holiday Special is undoubtedly a huge piece of Star Wars history, due in part to the controversy that surrounds it. How does it make you feel that the Holiday Special is frowned upon by so many?
Scott: I completely understand. I mean, it's not just bad: it's far worse that than you can possibly imagine. But at the same time, there are some things to really appreciate about it. I really tire of the myriads of online reviewers basically writing the same caustic review over and over again, repeating the same jokes every other reviewer has used already. It's like picking on the crippled kid, really...there's no sport in it! Come up with something unique and interesting to say about it instead, even if it's negative. When doing my website, I made it a point to maintain a generally neutral tone about it. I wanted facts, not opinions, to be the content. I left judgment out of it, and just presented every possible thing I could about it, so the viewer could make their own decisions about it. I think the site succeeds in that regard.
Honor The Force: As the internet's resident expert, are their any changes that you feel could have made the Holiday Special better?
Scott: Certainly. But those changes would have to have been made prior to filming for it to have been a really good story. The real tragedy of the Holiday Special is that it had the potential to be a really great continuation of the Star Wars story, a mini-movie of sorts...but instead it wound up as this confusing farce of a variety show. If there hadn't been so many people working on it with so many different ideas about what it should be, it might have had a chance, but it didn't. There are a few fans out there who have edited it down and created their own "Holiday Special Edition" of the show, which is great - I really encourage people to do that. It's tough to do, though: there's really only about 5 minutes worth of plot and nearly 90 minutes of irrelevant diversions to work with. But I think that in the hands of someone really talented and clever it could possibly be turned into something halfway decent. It might only be 10 minutes long, but still...it could be done. I'm still waiting to see a really good one.
Scott Kirkwood is webmaster of StarWarsHolidaySpecial.com and is a huge Star Wars
Watch the entire Holiday Special in it's best format below...
OR check out this video, to see Boba Fett's first appearance.