Highlights: Star Wars Holiday Special


Y-Wing Fighter

SWHS provides the first demonstration of some interesting features of the canonical Y-Wing fighter that are unknown or little known in other references.

Firstly, the fighter used by Luke Skywalker is a double-seat version. The model in ANH movie had only one seat for a pilot, but Luke was able to take C-3PO along for translation. A similar arrangement was used in Splinter of the Mind's Eye when the droid flew with Princess Leia. Eventually, the publication of Star Wars Sourcebook in 1987 named the two-seat version BTL-S3, whereas the single-seater was designated BTL-A4.

Two further points of interest are concerned with the emergency landing performance of the Y-Wing. After a rough landing on the muddy moon of Panna, balloon-like floatation devices were inflated on the sides of the stem of the main hull, between the cockpit head and the engine section. When the propulsion section of the fighter was wrecked by a hungry indigenous monster, the cockpit section jettisoned from the rest of the craft, taking the rebel and his droids away from immediate danger. The reduced craft had some mobility on repulsors, like a very slow landspeeder or airspeeder.

deteached Y-wing head and hull

The Y-Wing's floatation balloons pop out of hatches near the engines and begin to inflate. This is probably a clue to the approximate location of the fighter's centre of mass.

Luke Skywalker drives the autonomous head of his Y-Wing a short distance before he is unexpectedly rescued from the monster by Boba Fett, astride a more docile native creature.

* *
Skywalker's fighter undergoing a rough landing on uncertain, gelatinous terrain.

Imperial armoured landspeeder

Chewbacca and Fett were pursued from the base of the Panna city by a trio of Imperial stormtroopers on a military landspeeder, with a siren blaring. The speeder is armed with an imposing laser cannon, fired by a gunner in a middle seat. The pilot sits in a semi-open cockpit at the front; a passenger stormtrooper sits in a high seat behind the gunner.

The vehicle floats above the gelatinous ground on repulsorlift fields, and for thrust it has two jet nacelles with forward air intakes, like larger versions of the three of Luke Skywalker's landspeeder on Tatooine. There is another arc-shaped air intake in front of the cockpit windshield. This may connect to the nacelle engines, or may perhaps provide a cooling airflow to machinery in the main body of the craft.

Imperial military landspeeder with big cannon

Closeup of the speeder's gunner and body of the cannon.

A temporary loss of control during the gunfight with Fett and Chewbacca; the speeder skids on the mud.

* * *
Front view of the landspeeder as it explodes after a critical blaster hit by Chewbacca. Note that the emblems on the left and right sides of the hull are reversed. In other words it is more like a directional arrow than a Latin, Greek or Cyrillic alphabet letter. However the Galactic Basic writing in ROTJ was reversible, [Text & Graphics].


Rebel ring base

During the Panna affair, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and the crew of Millennium Falcon were based in a huge rebel facility hidden within a rocky body in what appears to be the ring of a planet. The neighbouring field of debris is very dense but the relative motions are imperceptible within a few seconds. It is a lazy drift in contrast to the violent dispersion of asteroids seen in TESB.

Viewed from outside, the base is a boxy metallic area set within a rectangular groove cut into the side of its space rock. The hull has a large number of antennae. There is a singular aperture like one of the hangars of the Death Star, but it leads to a poorly-protected, multi-chambered interior. A great variety of rooms are visible through shafts and other open spaces near the entrance. Like on the Death Stars, the artificial gravity near the entrance is oriented towards a "pole", whereas deeper interior rooms seen in the background have gravity pointing towards the centre of the rock.

The range of external antennae, and the large number of communications/sensor operators near the main entrance suggests that this may be a surveillance or communications facility. The fact that it appears to be under the command of General Hudsol reinforces the impression, because Hudsol is associated with Bothan activities, one of the important spy networks of the Rebel Alliance. [Bob Hudsol SWCCG game card.]

exterior, rebel base

* *
Rebel base exterior, with antennae and hangar entrance.

* * * *
Dozens of monitors near the base entrance.

* * *
Detail of listening stations and hangars visible through the gaping apertures near the base entrance.

The ring and its planet primary, as seen from afar. Curiously, the ring seems off-centre. This may be a false impression due to part of the planet being unilluminated.

* * * * *
Progression of views of the belt and the base as the Millennium Falcon careens past.

newer rebel base

By the time of the Life Day celebrations, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and their droids must have departed General Hudsol's planetary ring base and settled at in another base. (The rebels would not have distributed the video account of the Panna adventure unless the ring base had already been evacuated or was in some other way immune from the danger of discovery in the event of Imperial interception of the cartoon.)

The Star Wars Holiday Special shows two interior views of the current base. The first is a workshop area off one side of a hangar. An X-wing fighter is visible in the darkened background. In the foreground, Luke Skywalker and his astromech droid attempt maintenance on an "engine". It looks too small to be the whole engine of a starfighter; it may be from a smaller, surface vehicle. The deck is a metallic grille, and the walls are bland and artificial, unlike the walls of the Yavin 4 base.

The second scene from (presumably the same base) is Princess Leia's office. The environment looked spartan and artificial, like the interior of a spaceship. C-3PO works tirelessly standing at a computer terminal on one side of the room; there is at least one communications flatscreen on the wall in front of him. Lighting strips on the wall behind the Princess' massive desk are reminiscent of the Imperial aesthetic. Perhaps this is not a base, but rather a rebel starship?

Chewbacca's family made two social video calls to this rebel base: once to Luke Skywalker and then later to the Princess. The rebels must have great faith in their communications network and its encryption. Because the base is in a system other than Kashyyyk (Solo and Chewbacca made at least one hyperspace jump before reaching the planet) the transmissions must be parasitically relayed through the hyperwave holonet, which is Imperial government infrastructure. [Imperial Sourcebook]

* * *
Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 tinkering (disastrously) with an "engine" somewhere in a rebel base. A parked X-wing fighter is visible off in the background.

* * *
Princess Leia's office interior.

Wookiee relatives of Chewbacca are able to obtain a video link to the Princess' office.


With Han Solo infected with an Imperial-engineered sleeping virus acquired from a talisman, Chewbacca landed on a moon in the Panna system, where he was followed by Luke Skywalker. Numerous other celestial bodies hang in the moon's green sky, including a greyish splotched world, a more distant orange mottled world, a huge orb that is probably the mother planet Panna, and a closer, smaller banded world that may be a clouded, spinning moon. Other satellites exist but are less distinctly visible.

The inhabited moon is largely covered in a red/pink gelatinous mud, and at least one huge domed city stands on a rocky ridge or mesa above the mud.

* * * *
High-altitude and orbital views of the moon of Panna where the rebels had an adventure with Boba Fett.

* * *
Crash site of the Millennium Falcon, with three large globes in the sky. Judging by their crescents of illumination, these bodies may be different from the ones seen in the sky during the ship's atmospheric descent. Interestingly, the foreground globe is banded like a rapidly rotating world with a cloudy atmosphere, and yet it is smaller in front of another object. It must be another planet-sized moon of Panna.

* * * *
The Millennium Falcon lifts off, passing a grey-lilac world with a close satellite, an orange splotchy world, and a more distant grey=green body.

Panna's city

The one known city of Panna is a vast multi-level metropolis perched on a mesa or ridge of what may be basalt columns. It is enclosed in a translucent dome shaped like the surface of a cluster of gigantic bubbles. The entire structure thrusts well above the cloud level.

There are at least two or three street levels with over a hundred metres of vertical space between them. Nevertheless there was sunlight falling on the visible sections of the lowest level seen so far. The shadows in the higher level of the city were long at the time when Chewbacca and Boba Fett went there, so perhaps the sun was near the horizon or the camera point of view may have been near the city perimeter.

gigantic metropolis of Panna

Multi-level interior of the huge city on Panna. Airspeeders move through a hole between levels. A small crowd gathers around what may be a public entertainer or busker. Also visible are a fountain or statue, and a series of tents, perhaps for a market.

* * * * * *
Fett leaves Chewbacca hiding in an alcove while he seeks the serum for the sleeping virus. This is a diverse and literally cosmopolitan city. Aliens such as the frond-headed parent and child haggling for fruit are as distinctive as any in the movies. The pale skin and red eyes of the Rodian beggar may be signs of peculiar ill health, or a racial alternative to the Rodian people seen in the movies.

* *
The shop where Boba Fett obtained the serum for the Imperial sleeping virus.

* * * *
Drifts of garbage near the base of the city are a haven for scavenging wildlife. Chewbacca and Fett ride through this area in order to enter the city secretly from below. Towers of the lowest level of the city are visible through the domes in the background.


The first and only live-action views of the Wookiee homeworld appear in the SWHS. From a great distance, the planet looks totally green and cloud-streaked. (Unremarkably, it looks a lot like a colour-filtered version of Yavin and then Yavin 4 from ANH.)

* *
Kashyyyk, as seen from space. If a special edition of the SWHS is ever released, some new celestial graphics would be nice.

View of the forest depths, from the circular veranda of Chewbacca's house.

Wookiee house

The house of Chewbacca's family is a circular structure mounted around the trunk of a wroshyr tree. Unpainted wood is the basic building material. A veranda extends around the entire circumference of the building. In human terms, the street level is the equivalent of two storeys lower, and is connected to the house via a steep ladder or staircase without bannisters.

The lowest floor is a contains common living and cooking areas (spanning half the arc of the building). A staircase leads clockwise upwards to an attic level, where there is at least one bedroom (for the child of the house, Lumpawarrump). There remains uncertainty over whether the Wookiees have the equivalent of a human bathroom.

The ground floor area farthest from the entrance is the kitchen. There are benches on the circumferential wall and the radial wall that ends the main living area. On the radial wall there are windowed cupboards which may contain foodstuffs. A flatscreen display stands on the outer bench, where Mallatobuck receives video cooking lessons. A circular stove/oven stands between the kitchen and the lounge area, with a large air-hood hanging over it. Both are over a metre in diameter.

Wookiee house

* * *
Kitchen details, with Mallatobuck at work. The flatscreen is a tall grey object off to the left. On the radial wall hangs a painting, perhaps an example of Wookiee art. The broadcast cooking lessons are conducted by a four-armed chef, whose actions are difficult to emulate by viewers with fewer limbs.

* *
Lounge room interior, facing towards the kitchen. Chewbacca's father Itchy is fixing an orange model of what seems to be an X-wing fighter. He is annoyed when his relatives rouse him.

An Imperial search team arrives at the door of the house, as part of a systematic search for signs of rebel activity.

* * * *
Views of the lounge area, facing towards the entrance.

View to the lower forest from the edge of the veranda.

Trading post

One affable human has befriended Chewbacca's family and makes a living on Kashyyyk by trading with the Wookiees. His store interior is quite different from the Wookiee dwelling, as the floor and walls are thick and stony-looking. The entrance doorway is arched, like a Tatooine style. With millions of inhabited worlds in the galaxy, this isn't likely to be a direct connection. Rather, the Tatooine style is probably a generic Outer Rim human fashion. Perhaps the shop is in a human sector of the Wookiee town, where the Imperial occupation forces might be nearby?

The shop's furnishings and contents include its light-table counter, several treadwell droids, amusements such as pocket-sized aquaria, and tools such as a personal groomer. The groomer's stated features include the care of hair, teeth, nails and the ability to recite all 17 volumes of the Imperial Penal Code.

Kashyyyk trading post

* *
Trading post interior.

* *
The shopkeeper serves a difficult customer, offering first a miniature aquarium and then a personal groomer. The "Imperial guard" eventually accepts the groomer as a "gift".


Thanks are due to, in alphabetic order:

Return to STAR WARS Technical Commentaries.
Return to Curtis Saxton home page.
Original content is © copyright Dr Curtis Saxton 2001.
Online since 3 February 2001.
Last updated 9 February 2001.

This page was constructed and is maintained by Curtis Saxton.
This page is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by Lucasfilm Ltd.
Images included in or linked from this page are copyright Lucasfilm Ltd. and are used here under Fair Usage terms of copyright law.
This site is kindly hosted by