At this time, Marvel has revealed four Life Day Variant Covers — one by Mike Del Mundo and another three by Rod Reis. Inspired by the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, these variants show the denizens of the galaxy far, far away getting into the holiday spirit. Han Solo and Chewbacca decorate for Life Day on Del Mundo’s variant for Star Wars #40 (on sale November 1). Meanwhile, Shmi and Anakin Skywalker celebrate the holiday on Reis’ variant for Star Wars: Darth Vader #40 (on sale November 8).
Doctor Aphra and Black Krrsantan pose for a Life Day photo on Reis’ cover for Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #38 (on sale November 15). Finally, Reis’ variant for Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #40 (on sale November 22) stars none other than Chef Gormaanda, one of the most notorious characters from the Holiday Special.
Check out Marvel’s Life Day Variant Covers below:
The strange legacy of The Star Wars Holiday Special
The Star Wars Holiday Special aired on CBS on November 17, 1978 — a mere year and a half after George Lucas’ original film hit theaters. The television special centers on Chewbacca trying to make it home to Kashyyyk in time for the Wookiee holiday of Life Day. This plot is tied together by a number of variety show segments, guest star appearances, and musical numbers.
In the decades following its debut, the Holiday Special garnered a reputation as arguably the single most infamous piece of Star Wars media. Lucas himself was reportedly very unhappy with the production. Additionally, critics and audiences panned the special for its poor script, flat performances, cheap production value, and off-puttingly bizarre tone.
Even so, The Star Wars Holiday Special was something of a holy grail among collectors for many years. Prior to the advent of the internet, the special was notoriously difficult to find. It only aired on TV once, and never saw an official home video release. As such, the limited copies in existence were all fan-made bootlegs.
In recent times, Lucasfilm has actually embraced certain aspects of the Holiday Special, with these new Marvel covers being only the latest example. In 2019, the fan-favorite Disney+ original series The Mandalorian explicitly confirmed Life Day as being Star Wars canon. Additionally, while the company has yet to re-release the special in its entirety, it did release its animated segment — “The Story of the Faithful Wookiee” — on Disney+ in 2021. The animated short is notable for featuring the first official appearance of Boba Fett.