MOVIES

Is The Star Wars Holiday Special Canon? It’s Complicated

Back when it first aired, “The Star Wars Holiday Special” was, for all intents and purposes, a canonical entry. The holiday special fits snugly in the Star Wars timeline, resting between the end of the original “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope” and “Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back.” Of course, the special’s many odd additions almost immediately jeopardized its canon status as the franchise continued to develop.

For roughly 40 years after its original premiere, “The Star Wars Holiday Special” was still officially acknowledged as canon — though only in the loosest sense possible. Leland Chee, a Star Wars continuity expert who maintained an official database detailing Star Wars continuity across all media known as the Holocron, once clarified the holiday special’s status on a forum. He said the special was internally considered S-canon, a classification given to projects that, while technically falling into a secondary level of canon, could be largely ignored by creators and fans if they saw fit.

Despite the unclear canonical status of “The Star Wars Holiday Special,” some elements it introduced were nevertheless adhered to in subsequent projects, such as the existence of Chewbacca’s family. Chee noted that these particular details that made their way outside the special were considered to be stronger and more prominent fixtures of Star Wars continuity, falling under the C-canon — or Continuity-canon — classification.

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