“Star Wars” and the holidays don’t have the best history.
The trouble began in 1977 — the first Hanukkah after the original “Star Wars” hit theaters. Toy company Kenner found itself unprepared for the demands of the season and, instead of gifting kids action figures of Luke, Leia and Chewbacca, parents were forced to give them an IOU — certificates for future toys and a crummy cardboard display for said future toys to eventually stand on. Next came 1978’s “Star Wars Holiday Special,” deemed so toxic that it was purged from Star Wars lore, which, considering the canonical status of Jar Jar Binks, is saying something. And, while the new films produced under Disney have earned big box office with December releases, this year promises disappointment, with toy store shelves barren of Baby Yoda merch.
But, in times of our people’s greatest struggle, sometimes a beacon of hope appears, turning us from the dark side through the miracle of the light. Enter… an a capella “Star Wars” Hanukkah video? Why not? Better than Wookiee Life Day and Chewie’s nightmare-inducing son Lumpy.
In their latest, Jewish a capella group Six13 have dropped a tribute to lightsabers and the Festival of Lights just in time for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and Hanukkah.
The video covers all the bases.
We have a text crawl upfront teasing the reason for the season: An evil Empire (Greek) and a band of defiant heroes (Maccabees), with Force Ghost-looking singers crooning the Hanukkah blessing to John Williams’s opening theme. The boys sing “Rock of Ages” to the cantina music from “A New Hope,” while spinning a dreidel. We even hear the names of holiday treats, latkes and sufganiyot (those little jelly doughnut numbers) featured in their riff on “Duel of the Fates.”
Like the best of Hanukkah content, the video brings the schmaltz with extra helpings of earnestness and nerdiness. Whether you loved or hated “The Last Jedi” or are still sour about Ewoks, we dare you not to crack a smile while giving this one a look.
PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture fellow. He can be reached at Grisar@Forward.com.