The first episode of The Mandalorian has arrived thanks to the official launch of the Disney+ streaming service. If you’ve had a chance to sit down and watch the show–and haven’t been bogged down by service problems–you’ve no doubt noticed how the first episode is positively stuffed with Easter eggs and references designed to entertain hardcore Star Wars fans.
However, there’s one specific reference that stands tall over the rest. After being captured by The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), a lowly bounty (Horatio Sanz) makes mention of a specific holiday. “I was hoping to be free for Life Day,” he said. “Maybe even get home to the family.”
With that one small line, a massive piece of the extended Star Wars universe, has now been made canon. Life Day is a celebrated holiday on Kashyyyk–Chewbacca’s home world–that was first introduced in the Star Wars Holiday Special. You remember that, right? The Star Wars Holiday Special was a truly bizarre TV event in 1978 that has been practically lost to time because, well, it’s bad. It still has an important place in Star Wars lore, though. It’s in this special that Boba Fett is glimpsed for the first time, albeit as a cartoon character. It’s also the first appearance of Mandalorian armor, making it especially relevant to The Mandalorian.
So what is Life Day? It’s a day celebrated by Wookiees, in which they journey to the Tree of Life on Kashyyyk and feast with their family and friends, celebrating their culture. It hasn’t appeared that often throughout Star Wars, though there is a brief mention in the video game Star Wars Battlefront II and has popped up on the official Star Wars website.
When it comes to the Holiday Special, though, that particular Life Day celebration saw Han Solo (Harrison Ford) venture to Kashyyyk with Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) to visit the Wookiee’s family. It’s there that we met such important Star Wars characters as Chewie’s wife Malla, their son Lumpy, and his dad Itchy. Clearly, the 1970s were a weird time. However, it’s also interesting to note that should this Life Day mention make the Holiday Special canon, Chewie still has a family out there somewhere.
Looking forward, the creative team behind Star Wars should really lean into the celebration of Life Day. Why not feature it more heavily in an upcoming Mandalorian episode or even a future Star Wars movie? In fact, take it one step further and do a Life Day celebration during the holidays at the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme park expansions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Now that we know Life Day still has a place in Star Wars, it’s time to make it count.
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Author: Chris E. Hayner