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What Is Life Day? Star Wars Holiday Special Celebration Explained


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Life Day was a celebration first created for the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, but it has since been incorporated into Star Wars canon.

Over four decades have passed since Star Wars introduced “Life Day,” but the franchise is still making an effort to showcase the significance of the celebration. The specific day originated through the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, which aired on CBS in November 1978. Considering it took place between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, the TV broadcast marked the first official sequel and spinoff featuring the original cast. Despite the reception being notoriously negative, the events of the Holiday Special, as well as Life Day, have been referenced in recent projects. In fact, The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special serves as an animated sequel to the 1978 TV film.

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Set after A New Hope, The Star Wars Holiday Special followed Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) as the pair traveled to the latter’s home planet of Kashyyyk to celebrate Life Day. While attempting to travel to the planet in the Millennium Falcon, the duo was chased by members of the Empire. Meanwhile, Chewie’s father, wife, and son became worried that the ship hadn’t arrived so they contact Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). The group from the original movie reunited on Kashyyyk, including Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), C3P-O (Anthony Daniels), R2-D2, after eliminating Imperial officers searching the Wookiee home. Aside from song performances dedicated to Life Day, the special also featured a cartoon sequence that introduced Boba Fett in the franchise.

Related: Star Wars Finally Explains The Empire Strikes Back’s Timeline

Even though The Star Wars Holiday Special failed to launch a Christmas-like celebration at the time of its debut, the interest in Life Day has grown due to the legendary status of the original broadcast. Based on the special’s air date, Life Day is celebrated on November 17. Initially considered a Wookiee tradition, the holiday expanded across the galaxy after the Empire’s reign as a way to value family and joy. Whereas Wookiees celebrated at the Tree of Life, the rest of the galaxy honored the holiday with festive decorations, lights, feasts, music, and gifts for loved ones. Despite the fact that The Star Wars Holiday Special isn’t considered canon, Life Day has been mentioned in canonical titles.

How Life Day Was Incorporated Into Star Wars Canon

The Mandalorian and the Mythrol in episode 1

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The official Star Wars website acknowledged Life Day as a traditional holiday before it was mentioned in the 2017 video game, Star Wars Battlefront II, and the short story compilation novel, From a Certain Point of View, which debuted the same year. The following year, Life Day was referenced by General Leia in the YA Star Wars novel series, Join the Resistance: Attack on Starkiller Base. It was mentioned yet again in the recently released sequel to the 2017 story collection, From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back.

Disney+ has also made an effort to include Life Day in their original Star Wars projects. The Mythrol featured in The Mandalorian premiere episode mentioned that he hoped to be home in time for Life Day. The holiday was then incorporated into the children’s game show, Star Wars: Jedi Temple, during the Knowledge Trial in “Episode 10.” The streaming service dives even deeper into Life Day by dedicating an entire LEGO special to the holiday as a fun tribute to the controversial 1978 broadcast. The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special isn’t canon, but it follows Rey Skywalker on a new adventure during Life Day in which she travels across space and time, meeting all sorts of notable Star Wars characters.

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Updated: November 18, 2020 — 7:45 pm

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