The Star Wars Holiday Special may live again thanks to the young Han Solo movie!
The second trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story has arrived, and while it goes a bit more into giving us some story and character details about the young Han Solo film, perhaps the biggest takeaway from the preview comes in a blink or you’ll miss it moment. Yep — it looks like the mighty Wookiee Chewbacca’s wife Malla may be in the film.
The shot comes at the 1:40 mark in the trailer as Chewie pulls another Wookiee close and they touch foreheads in what is clearly a display of affection.
Of course, there’s no way to be certain that this is in fact Malla, though it certainly appears to be someone close to Chewie who he might be saying goodbye to as the Wookiee heads off to have adventures with his new pal Han Solo. But who is Malla, you may be wondering… To answer that, we must travel back to a different time. A dark time. A time when The Star Wars Holiday Special was what passed for new Star Wars.
The Holiday Special is a now-notorious 1978 TV movie/variety special that was produced as a sort of stop-gap between the huge success of A New Hope (then just called Star Wars) and The Empire Strikes Back. Set mostly on the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk, the special is an oddity that manages to bring back most of the major players from the films (in smallish roles), including a mascara-wearing Mark Hamill, a singing Carrie Fisher, and an awkward-as-hell looking Harrison Ford, along with celebs of the era like Art Carney, Beau Arthur, and Harvey Korman. Because the kids just loved Maude back in the day.
But the real focus of The Star Wars Holiday Special is on Chewie’s family, and that’s where Malla comes in. The plot involves Han and Chewie’s attempts to get to Kashyyyk in order to celebrate the Wookiee holiday Life Day. Waiting for dad at home is Chewbacca’s wife Malla, his son Lumpy, and his father Itchy. George Lucas was not happy with the special and it basically became forbidden after it aired, never to be rerun or released on home video. Of course, bootlegs have seen to it that the Holiday Special has lived on.
As with the equally curious Endor TV movies, fans have wondered and debated over the years about how the Star Wars Holiday Special could fit into canon. Impressionable and anal retentive young fanboys of the late ’70s/early ’80s were hard-pressed to figure out how to squeeze the special in between Star Wars and Empire. Malla and Lumpy did pop up in the EU/Legends here or there (where Malla’s full name was revealed to be Mallatobuck), but these days we know that Chewie’s family, at least, is canon. Malla was made official in the 2015 children’s book A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy, while Lumpy (a.k.a. Lumpawaroo/Waroo) was also brought into the new continuity in The Aftermath Trilogy. It turns out Chewie and his family were separated by the Empire’s cruel ministrations, which actually adds a new level of weight to his joining the Rebellion.
Ron Howard teased this moment between the Wookiees on Twitter last summer, though it was difficult to really make out what we were seeing there. But now that it seems as though Malla is appearing in Solo, it raises many questions. Is Chewie already married when he meets Han (there is a line in the trailer confirming the Wookiee’s age to be 190, after all, which would make him a pretty old bachelor)? Does he have a Lumpy back home as well? And where does the famed life debt come in to play which bonded Chewie to Han? Does it perhaps involve Malla in some way? So many questions, and not many answers right now — but we’ll know more when Solo: A Star Wars Story hits on May 25, 2018.
Talk to Executive Editor Scott Collura on Twitter at @ScottCollura, where he’s tweeting every shot from The Empire Strikes Back for some reason. Or listen to his Star Trek podcast, Transporter Room 3. Or do both!