This article contains spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett‘s third episode
The Book of Boba Fett‘s third episode saw the character take delivery of a new pet Rancor. This was an apology gift from the Hutt twins for trying to assassinate him, who delivered it along with its trainer (played by cult actor Danny Trejo).
The episode’s best scene saw Fett bonding with the young Rancor, with Trejo’s character explaining that they’re not crazed monsters and are actually surprisingly emotionally complex. He also reveals that with the right instruction it’s possible to ride one, with Fett immediately saying that’s what he wants to do. When his trainer responds with disbelief Fett says he’s “ridden beasts ten times its size”.
This is a super-subtle reference to Fett’s debut in the worst thing the franchise ever produced: the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. Broadcast on CBS in 1978 it’s a truly nightmarish combination of Star Wars and light entertainment, featuring jaw-droppingly unfunny comedy sketches, bizarre musical performances, and excruciating scenes of Chewie’s family celebrating ‘Life Day’.
It’s also notable as the first time audiences got to see Boba Fett in the cartoon “The Story of the Faithful Wookiee”, written by George Lucas. The short (which is available on Disney Plus) shows Fett riding a giant purple dinosaur-like creature, which is almost certainly the beast he’s referring to in this week’s The Book of Boba Fett.
George Lucas did his best to pretend that the Holiday Special never happened, once saying to writer Kevin J. Anderson that he’d be happy “if every copy could be tracked down and burned.”s But since Disney bought the franchise, it’s jokingly referenced it a handful of times, notably in The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special in November 2020.
We also know it’s got a fan in Jon Favreau, who said in a 2019 interview with Good Morning America that he wanted to make a sequel to it. Favreau wrote this episode of The Book of Boba Fett, so if anyone was going to subtly reference it in a way only hardcore fans would appreciate, it’s him.