I haven’t read the new book Star Wars: Aftermath – Empire’s End, but the internet has done a fine job of picking its bones clean over the past few days, discovering every Easter egg and tiny reference it has to offer. The third and final novel in author Chuck Wendig‘s Aftermath trilogy is mostly about the last stand of the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance’s final victory in the time after Return of the Jedi, but it also finds time to explore the fringes of the galaxy…and expertly troll Star Wars fans.
The latest example of Jedi-level trolling: a chapter that suggests that the much-maligned Star Wars Holiday Special may be canon.
If you’re a Star Wars fan (or just a pop culture fan with a love of all things diseased and unwatchable), you owe it to yourself to suffer through The Star Wars Holiday Special at least once. Produced quickly and cheaply to capitalize on the success of the original 1977 Star Wars, it’s deeply unpleasant and boring and genuinely fascinating – it’s like a bad dream spurred on by eating too much spicy food and sleeping in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable bed. For those of you who haven’t endured it, the special takes place on the Wookiee home planet of Kashyyyk, where Chewbacca’s family eagerly awaits his arrival to celebrate “Life Day.” Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher all put in awkward, embarrassed appearances. Art Carney, Bea Arthur, and Jefferson Starship all stop by to say hello.
One of the key characters in the special is Lumpy, Chewbacca’s young son…and Empire’s End features (via ScreenRant) a chapter set on Kashyyyk, where a young Wookiee named Lumpawaroo battles the Empire’s forces to free captives from a labor camp. After being cornered by a vicious Imperial officer, Lumpawaroo is rescued in the nick of time by his father…Chewbacca. And then the victorious father and son “sing a song of family.” Holy shit.
This obviously doesn’t make The Star Wars Holiday Special part of the new canon, but it’s a knowing wink toward one of the most despised corners of the franchise’s history. And here’s the thing: George Lucas spent decades trying to destroy this special, never officially releasing it and essentially refusing to acknowledge its existence. This only made it more infamous, its sins against Star Wars all the more grand. Everyone had to see the thing Lucas didn’t want them to see. And with one dumb joke, one small reference that will fly over the heads of many, Wendig has gone and defused the Holiday Special‘s awful, toxic power. By acknowledging that Chewbacca has a son named Lumpawaroo/Lumpy, Star Wars is officially in on the joke. I called it trolling above, but it’s actually a pretty canny touch.
For additional Wendig trolling, you only need to look for how he treats Jar Jar Binks in the book. Or how he rewrites one of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s most eye-rolling moments into something so dumb that it almost makes sense.
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Related youtube video: (not from post)