I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the Star Wars Holiday Special is one of the most infamous misfires in the history of Hollywood, but the behind-the-scenes tale of how it came to be has yet to be documented in any long-form content– until now, that is. A new book entitled A Disturbance In the Force by author Steve Kozak is arriving tomorrow, and promises to be an informative companion to the soon-to-be-released documentary of the same name (which also happens to be co-directed by Kozak).
- A new book entitled A Disturbance In the Force: How and Why the Star Wars Holiday Special Happened will be released tomorrow from Applause publishing.
- A Disturbance In the Force is written by Steve Kozak, who currently works for Jimmy Kimmel Live! and also happens to be the co-director of a documentary of the same name, which premiered at SXSW earlier this year to rave reviews, including one by Laughing Place’s own Alex Reif.
- In a conversation last week, Steve told me that the book covers many fascinating tidbits about the Star Wars Holiday Special that the documentary does not, including a connection to the Manson Family, wacky dialogue for Darth Vader, and a physical fight between Wookiee costume designer Stan Winston and a Fox financier.
What they’re saying:
- Official synopsis: “Even by the standards of the 1970s, even compared to Jar-Jar Binks, the legendary 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special is a peerlessly cringeworthy pop-culture artifact. George Lucas, who completely disowned the production, reportedly has said, “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.” Just how on earth did this thing ever see the light of day? To answer that question, as Steven Kozak shows in this fascinating and often hilarious inside look into the making of the Special, you have to understand the cultural moment in which it appeared—a long, long time ago when cheesy variety shows were a staple of network television and Star Wars was not yet the billion-dollar multimedia behemoth that it is today. Kozak explains how the Special was one piece of a PR blitz undertaken by Lucas and his colleagues as they sought to protect the emerging franchise from hostile studio executives. He shows how, despite the involvement of some of the most talented people in the business, creative differences between movie and television writers led to a wildly uneven product. He gives entertaining accounts of the problems that plagued production, which included a ruinously expensive cantina set; the acrimonious departure of the director and Lucas himself; and a furious Grace Slick, just out of rehab, demanding to be included in the production. Packed with memorable anecdotes, drawing on extensive new interviews with countless people involved in the production, and told with mingled affection and bewilderment, this never-before-told story gives a fascinating look at a strange moment in pop-culture history that remains an object of fascination even today.”
- Jimmy Kimmel: “No man alive is better equipped to chronicle the history of Chewbacca-related television than Steve Kozak.”
- Star Wars Holiday Special co-writer Bruce Vilanch: “There are no words for how much fun this book is, so I will just quote something I wrote for one of the Wookiees: “Urgh oofa ghooba bhutt floote! [followed by a howl]”
A Disturbance In the Force will be released tomorrow, November 15th, but is available for pre-order right now.