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