Official Star Wars Costumes is happy to announce this first installment in our newest blog series named Star Wars Character Corner. We’ll take an in-depth look at some of the famous characters, as well as some lesser-known characters. The first installment is of the famous walking carpet: Chewbacca!
Chewbacca, the Wookiee co-pilot to Han Solo during the original trilogy, is one of Star Wars’ most popular characters. He is featured in all three original movies as one of the main characters, and makes an appearance during the Kashyyyk battle as one of the leaders of the Wookiee forces that combated the Droids.
Chewbacca was born two hundred years before the battle of Yavin on the lushly-forested planet of Kashyyyk. His father, Attichitcuk, was the head of their tribe. In his early years, Chewbacca was famed for his skill in climbing the giant Wroshyr trees, and for his mechanical prowess. He was forced to kill a rival Wookiee, Tojjevvuk, when fighting for the favor of a female Wookiee named Malla. Malla would later become Chewbacca’s wife.
During the events leading up to the clone wars, Chewbacca met Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Alaris Prime, a Wookiee colony. Chewbacca would end up assisting the Jedi on several other occasions before the end of the war. One such occasion was when Chewbacca helped Jedi Master Yoda escape the Clone Troopers after Order 66 was executed.
Several years later, Chewbacca was injured during a firefight with a squadron of TIE fighters, led by Han Solo. Solo refused to kill Chewbacca when ordered to, and later ended up saving Chewbacca from torture. They escaped the Imperials with a bounty on their heads, and starting their lives as smugglers. Chewbacca swore a life debt to Solo as payment for sparing and saving his life.
Han and Chewie (as Han affectionately called him) spent time as smugglers, traders, freighters, and more until they met Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. They would be instrumental in destroying the Death Star and defeating the Empire. Chewbacca was hailed as a hero of the Republic Alliance and of the Wookiee race. His face was carved into a Wroshyr tree, a great honor for a Wookiee.
After the end of the Galactic Civil War, Chewbacca would continue to assist Han and his wife, Princess Leia, in establishing the Republic. Conflicts from splintered factions of the Empire continued to appear and threaten them. Chewie was known to fiercely protect Han and Leia, as well as their children, whom he considered his own family.
Twenty-five years after the battle of Yavin, Chewie, Han, and Han’s son Anakin went to the planet of Sernpidal during the war with the Yuuzhan Vong. The Yuuzhan Vong used a tactic to bring Sernpidal’s moon Dobido on a collision with the planet. The three of them were able to evacuate many people, but as the moon got close, Anakin was blown out of the Millennium Falcon. Chewie jumped down to rescue Anakin, but wasn’t able to return to the ship himself. Anakin was forced to pilot the Falcon away even as his father tried to help Chewie up. Chewbacca died when Dobido collided with Sernpidal.
Behind the Scenes:
Chewbacca was played in all movies by 7′ 3″ Peter Mayhew, a British-born American citizen. Mayhew suffers from gigantism, which contributed to his huge height, and was also the cause of a double-knee replacement surgery in 2013. Mayhew was originally going to be played by David Prowse, but Prowse choose to be Darth Vader instead.
George Lucas had the idea for Chewbacca when he saw his dog, an Alaskan malamute named Indiana, sitting in his car. Indiana would later go on to inspire another famous character. The original Chewie suit was designed by Stuart Freeborn, and made out of knitted mohair and yak hair. The sounds Chewbacca made were designed by Ben Burtt, the sound designer for all six Star Wars movies. He mixed different animal noises for different emotions, including walruses, tigers, camels, and badgers. The most prominent animal was a black bear named Tarik.
Chewbacca is one of few fictional characters to receive an MTV Movie Award. He was given a medal by Carrie Fisher, the actress who plays Princess Leia, to make up for Chewbacca not receiving a medal at the end of A New Hope.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the first installment of the Star Wars Character Corner. We will be running the Star Wars Character Corner on the blog occasionally, so be sure to check back for additional fun trivia!