Aug 10, 2014

Everything you need to know about Chewbacca and Peter Mayhew

Peter Mayhew filming Hoth scenes in The Empire Strikes Back
Peter Mayhew while filming Hoth scenes in The Empire Strikes Back

All the facts you need to know about Chewbacca and Peter Mayhew

He's the tallest fuzz ball in the galaxy that's far far away, he's Chewbacca.

Or Peter Mayhew.

Or Chewie.

Or the giant walking carpet.

Either way everyone loves Han Solo's most loyal friend and also the actor who plays the big goof is loved by millions of Star Wars fans around the world.

Here's a few facts and figures about Chewbacca & how Pete got to play the role of a life time.
  • Muscle man David Prowse was considered to play Chewbacca but eventually get got to play Vader as he wanted to play a villain. This meant George Lucas had to a search for a suitable replacement and the rest is history for Peter. A movie producer saw the article and cast him—in an uncredited role—as Minoton the minotaur in the film Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. One of the makeup men on Sinbad was later working on the Wookiee costume with Stuart Freeborn and suggested to the producers that they screen-test Mayhew. 
  • Legend has it then when Peter Mayhew stood up to meet Lucas for the first time, Lucas knew that because of his great height, he would be a great Chewie.
  • Chewbacca has appeared in four of the Star Wars movies. 
  • Mayhew's height is seven-foot, three-inch height. 
    Chewbacca playing chess with R2D2
    Let the wookie win!
  • "I think I just ran over a Wookiee on the expressway." This was an ad libbed line that game from the Lucas film THX-1138. It stuck with Lucas and it became Chewbacca's species.
  • Peter suffered from Marfan Syndrome.
  • Chewbacca's distinctive growl is an amalgam of animal noises. Ben Burtt created it by mixing noises from walruses, bears, tigers, camels and badgers.
  • In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Chewbacca is 200 years old. This is a handy trick which allowed Chewbacca to make a brief appearance in Revenge of the Sith. He defends his home planet Kasshyyk with his army and the help of Yoda. 
  • Here's some sweet Chewbacca quotes.
  • Chewbacca's costume was made with a combination of real yak and rabbit hair knitted into a base of mohair. 
  • They killed Chewbacca in the books by dropping a moon on his head but now that the books are no longer cannon Chewbacca lives!
  • Chewbacca’s character design was based on concept art drawn by Ralph McQuarrie. Lucas had originally given McQuarrie a photo of a lemur for inspiration, and McQuarrie proceeded to draw the character as a female—but Chewbacca was soon changed to a male. McQuarrie based his furry design on an illustration by artist John Schoenherr that was commissioned for Game of Thrones scribe George R.R. Martin’s short story “And Seven Times Never Kill a Man.” Yes, the George R.R. Martin that went on to write the Game of Thrones novels.
  • Before he got famous doing Star Wars, Peter Mayhew was employed as a deputy head porter in a London hospital.
  • Peter Mayhew has issues with his knees and would have struggled with the rigours of film Chewie's part in The Force Awakens. So the role was double teamed with fellow giant, Joonas Suotamo. The quick way to tell which actor is doing what is that if Chewbacca is sitting, it's probably Peter and if it's an action shot, it's more than likely to be Joonas.

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