While we have sadly been denied a high-def release of Bea Arthur belting out groovy Tatooinian torch songs amongst a crowd of grotesque drunken aliens --
-- at least a part of the Star Wars Holiday Special has made its way onto Disney+. Just last week, the streaming service introduced a new line of “Star Wars Vintage” content, including the murder-filled nightmare that is The Battle For Endor, the original Clone Wars series, and “The Story of the Faithful Wookie,” the animated (and by far the most watchable) segment of The Holiday Special.
Most famously, the cartoon features the first appearance of Boba Fett, who shows up riding a giant pink dinosaur on a planet made of polka-dot Jell-O. Yeah, it’s pretty trippy. If the cartoon’s cosmic psychedelia seems familiar, that’s probably because the style is extremely reminiscent of legendary comic artist Jean Giraud, AKA Moebius. And it turns out that’s because George Lucas straight-up told the Canadian animators he hired to “design the show in the style” of Moebius -- which they did using “piles” of magazines featuring Moebius’ work as a reference to help them convincingly ape his style.
It’s not just The Holiday Special; fans have pointed out that the original Star Wars, too, borrowed heavily from Moebius, whose “fingerprints are all over it.” Lucas later “collaborated” with Moebius using one of his designs as the Imperial Probe Droid in The Empire Strikes Back.
But Moebius wasn’t the only French comic artist Lucas seemingly pilfered from; Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres’ Valerian and Laureline series was almost undoubtedly a primary visual inspiration for much of the Star Wars universe; from the Millennium Falcon --
To Han Solo’s carbonite coffee table --
To Princess Leia’s famous gold bikini --
Mezieres wasn’t happy about it, either, claiming that he was “dazzled, jealous and angry” about the whole thing. So maybe the lesson here is, if you’re one of the richest men in the world and you built your wealth by liberally borrowing from lesser-known artists, maybe you should, um, pay those people?
Top Image: Disney