Luke Skywalker and Han Solo actors pay tribute to Chewbacca

(Left to Right) Chewbecca, played by Peter Mayhem, Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill and Han Solo, portrayed by Harrison Ford in a scene from Star Wars: A New HopeLucas Film


  • Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Chewbacca in the sci-fi film series Star Wars, passed away on April 30 at the age of 74.
  • Co-stars Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, who played Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, shared their thoughts on their time Mayhew on the sets of Star Wars.
  • Before Star Wars, Mayhew played a minotaur in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.

Peter Mayhew, the actor that plays the giant furry Wookie warrior called Chewbacca in Star Wars, passed away at the age of 74 on April 30.

Co-stars Harrison Ford, who flew the Millenium Falcon alongside Chewbacca as Han Solo, and Mark Hamill, known as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga, issued statements to express their loss.

Han and Chewbacca abroad the Millenium FalconLucasfilms

Ford told the Hollywood Reporter, “We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years and I loved him. Rest easy, my friend.”

Peter Mayhew was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character. These aspects of his own personality, plus his wit and grace, he brought to Chewbacca.
Harrison Ford told the Hollywood Reporter

Ford and Mayhew worked together for the first time on the sets of Star Wars: A New Hope continuing that partnership till Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015. After which, Mayhew continued on as a consultant on the sets due to physical problems from gigantism.

Hamill, who also met Mayhew on Star Wars: A New Hope, shared his thoughts on Twitter saying, “He was the gentlest of giants. A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile and a loyal friend who I loved dearly.”


Here are five things you may not know about Peter Haymen:


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Chewbacca’s won a lifetime achievement award

Chewbacca’s won a lifetime achievement award

Even though Chewbacca didn’t get a Medal of Bravery like his co-stars, Skywalker and Solo, at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope, he did receive a lifetime achievement award from MTV in 1997.

Mayhew received the award in full costume with Princess Leia by his side.

His entire acceptance speech was in Shyriiwook, one of the Wookie dialects that consists mostly of grunts and snorts.

Mayhew’s height helped him land the role of Chewbacca

Mayhew’s height helped him land the role of Chewbacca

George Lucas chose Mayhew to play Chewbacca specifically because of this height at 7-feet 2-inches.

Mayhew kept his day job while shooting for Star Wars

Mayhew kept his day job while shooting for Star Wars

While working the film sets as Chewbacca by day, Maybe kept his job as a deputy head porter at London hospital. He was even let go in between because of the many variations in his shooting schedule, the hospital hired him back once production wrapped up.

Mayhem’s big feet are what kick started his career

Mayhem’s big feet are what kick started his career

Before Mayhem made into the big leagues with his landmark role as Chewbacca, that he landed because his height — his feet are what got him into films when he was chosen to play a minotaur in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger when a feature story on people with big feet caught the movie producer’s interest.

Stuart Freeborn, one of the make up artists on the sets of Sindbad who was involved with Star Wars, recommended Mayhem for the role of Chewbacca.

The guy who plays Darth Vader could have been Chewbacca

The guy who plays Darth Vader could have been Chewbacca

David Prowse, who towers at 6-feet 5-inches and eventually ended up playing the role of Darth Vader, was originally supposed to be Chewbacca.

According to Prowse, it was his choice to turn down Vader because “people remember villains longer than heroes” under the assumption that Vader wouldn’t have a mask and that James Earl Jones wouldn’t be coming in to replace the audio — two features that are actually integral to Vader being Vader.

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