In the legend of the Star Wars Holiday Special there is a single constant: Bea Arthur’s the best part. That’s right, Dorothy from the Golden Girls is technically Star Wars canon. When we first see her, she’s behind the bar at the cantina egging on a regular to drink faster because “Well, I’m certainly not going to get rich with customers like you, I thought I taught you drink faster than that.”
Put aside the absurdity of the Star Wars Holiday Special. Put aside thinking too hard about when this happens in the timeline. Put all of that away. Let’s just focus on one simple fact: Bea Arthur is great, something we made sure to note in the latest episode of Strong Female Characters. In a fever dream of a Star Wars-themed '70s variety show, she sticks out as a beacon of gravitas. Just her very presence brings a validity to the Special’s existence.
Arthur plays Ackmena, owner of a cantina (heavily implied to be the cantina). She’s hardboiled, she’s no-nonsense. When a (clearly annoying) dude comes in with a crush on her, she shuts it down with that acerbic wit we all know and love. Whomst amongst us, whomst I ask, has not had to pretend they don’t understand when a rando comes in spouting crap about destiny or something.
And then the song. Friends. THE SONG. Just listen to this song that, uh, smacks. (Not slaps. Smacks.)
At the end of the day, we’ll say Goodnight, but not Goodbye, to our sweet cantina owner. Here’s to Ackmena showing up in The Rise of Skywalker.