It all starts as we see Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) on the run from Imperials, and evidently trying to get Chewie back to his home planet of Kashyyyk in time to see his family for what they call "Life Day" - so often seen as, essentially, the 'Star Wars' version of Christmas. The special then opens, featuring a look at an all-star returning cast (save for Kenny Baker as R2), with a few new additions.
The camera brings us into the treehouse home of Chewie's family; his wife, Mala; Father, Itchy; and son, Lumpy. It's just a bunch of noise and Lumpy getting in trouble for being a kid followed by Mala and Itchy worrying about Chewie. There's more noise, and then Lumpy watches some holographic circus act. Then there's more noise, and Mala hops on some computer.
Mala tracks down the most blonde-headed, blue-eyed Luke (Mark Hammill) and R2, and tell them how Han and Chewie are missing and it all amounts to Luke saying "it's gonna be okay". Mala tries the computer again and comes across a local trader named Saun Dann (Art Carney) who basically tells her Han and Chewie are on their way. Then it cuts to Vader because... cameo, and back to the treehouse home where Malla tries her hand at cooking, with the aid of the Juila Child-like Chef Gormaanda (Harvey Korman). It's right about here I began to wonder what the hell I was thinking. So far, this isn't just the worst 'Star Wars' thing I've seen, it's one of the worst THINGS I have seen. 'Charlie Brown's Christmas' would have ended by this point, and all we have is "Han and Chewie are on their way". NOTHING has happened!
Carrying on ever-so reluctantly, however... Han and Chewie are still outrunning Imperials and Chewie's family is still worried. An Imperial call comes in, informing them of their planet being put under Marshal Law due to supposed rebel activity. Anyway, Saun Daan comes by, dropping off presents. The most legendary of these, is of course, Itchy's present. He watches some kind of VR helmet deal where Diahann Carroll pops up playing what is credited as a "Mermeia Holographic Wow". In short, one could say this might as well be Itchy watching some porn. She sings a song, and at this point I'm bored as hell AND weirded out... But I press on.
It then cuts to 3P0 (Anthony Daniels) and Leia (Carrie Fisher) making contact with the family, and once again the cameo is essentially pointless, because all they do is ask Saun Daan to take care of the family until Han and Chewie arrive. Some imperials storm the house, looking for the rebels (Han and Chewie), and Saun Daan makes the leader sit and watch a Jefferson Starship music video. After this, the imperials continue the search, and Malla has to keep Lumpy busy, so he ends up watching a cartoon of his father's adventure featuring Boba Fett (Gabriel Dell/Don Francks). All we really need to know is that, despite how aged the animation looks, this is about as 'Star Wars' as the special gets. It's also kinda sorta legendary as it's what introduces everyone to Boba Fett, and honestly gives you more reason to like him than 'Empire' or 'Jedi' ever did (which is saying a lot about my general opinion on the character).
Anyway, after he cartoon, more imperial searching (sometimes in bizarre places), and Lumpy is ordered to go clean his room. This leads to what is surprisingly the most boring moment of the film where Lumpy watches a mini transmitter instructional video, hosted by Harvey Korman. There's some "gags" here where the picture and instructor keep glitching, but all it is, is annoying. At this point, it's pulling out hair territory, and if that cartoon didn't exist, I may have given up by now. For the record, we've been at this for one hour and seven minutes, and all that has happened as far as the main plot goes is Chewie and Han are on their way to Kashyyyk to celebrate Life Day with Chewies family, and Storm Troopers are looking for them... But I press on.
The next viewing (because this whole special is just characters looking at screens) involves the Cantina, and bartender, Ackmena (Bea Arthur) who... is admittedly likable. She's trying to stave off a creepy stalker type, but does so as only Bea Arthur can. The Empire then imposes a curfew on the Tatooine System, and Ackmena breaks into a song about the Cantina closing, and the song is kind of... meh. But the character is still pretty likable. I mean, how can we not enjoy our favorite Golden Girl (who isn't Betty White) giving us a touch of a Broadway show? It's not spectacular, but a slight breath of fresh air and kind of fun nonetheless.
Anyway, after this, the invading Imperials are still being jerks, but Han and Chewie come in to save the day. Life day gets underway when the Wookies go through some trippy tunnel of light using the Tree of Life, and all of our favorite 'Star Wars' heroes gather in celebration as Princess Leia sings a song. I'm sorry the end part is kind of a rambling on of nonsense, but to be fair, that's exactly what this whole production was. It's just a bunch of Wookies and Imperials looking at screens that feature guest stars combined with noise, and the most simple plot for much longer than it needs to run. The ENTIRE movie is "Han Solo and Chewie are trying to get to Kashyyyk to celebrate Life Day, and the Empire chases them along the way, as they are known rebels." The rest is grunting, lazy cameos, noise, and boredom.
I'd probably go so far as to say the messages it's trying to convey are certainly there, but they take far too long to get to, and it's a simplified snooze-fest along the way. Parts of it are oddly uncomfortable, parts are equally irritating, and there were far too many moments I almost pulled the plug on this one. I am happy to say I made it. I am happy to say I saw it for myself at least once. But I'll be damned if this is anything I'll be looking to enjoy ironically in the future. If anything, maybe just a fast-forward to the Boba Fett cartoon that allows me to see what everyone else sees in the character. Other than that, it's pure trash, especially to a 'Star Wars' fan. I'm just glad I'm not surprisingly disappointed, as I expected it to be terrible.