San Francisco-based illustrator and concept artist Nick Acosta has given the internet an incredible gift in the form of a 4K 60FPS remastered trailer for the Star Wars Holiday Special. Some say you simply cannot be basing your opinion of the divisive film on that scratchy old bootleg VHS copy you have laying around–you must witness it with the best modern technology has to offer.
Upon release, the 1978 disco-era Star Wars Holiday Special was universally panned by critics and fans, and it’s never been hard to understand why: There are agonizingly long segments in the misshapen variety show where Wookiees speak to each other in their native language with no subtitles, what plot there is makes no literal sense, and one of the highlights is Bea Arthur’s turn as Mos Eisley cantina proprietor Ackmena singing “Good Night, But Not Goodbye” set to the “cantina band” song. On Twitter, Acosta clarified that he didn’t–yet–remaster the whole movie but judiciously chose a few spots to up-res because “a 5 [minute] clip takes about 12 hours to upscale to 4K.” Check it out below.
The original special has had a lengthy road to something resembling redemption. Slowly, elements of the special have been acknowledged as canon–notably in The Mandalorian’s Jawa-disappearing Amban phase-pulse rifle (wielded by Boba Fett in a holiday special’s trippy animated sequence) and also explicit references to Life Day, the fictional holiday at the center of the original Star Wars Holiday Special. In 2020, Disney+ released The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, which “brings beloved heroes like Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron back together to celebrate Life Day.”