||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (December 2014)|
|Star Wars character|
Chewbacca in Star Wars
|Portrayed by||Peter Mayhew (Episodes III–VII, The Star Wars Holiday Special)|
|Voiced by||Dee Bradley Baker (Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars)|
|Position||Co-pilot and first mate on Millennium falcon|
Chewbacca, or "Chewie", is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. Chewbacca belongs to the Wookiee species, who are tall, hirsute bipeds native to the planet of Kashyyyk. Chewbacca is fiercely loyal to Han Solo, and serves as co-pilot on Solo's Millennium Falcon. Chewbacca was portrayed by actor Peter Mayhew in the Star Wars films. The character has also appeared on television, in books, comics, and video games.
Chewbacca, a 200-year-old Wookiee, becomes Han Solo's companion after Han, then an Imperial officer, refused an order to kill him, for which Han was dismissed from the Imperial Navy and became a smuggler. To repay this debt, Chewbacca protected Han for the rest of his life, and served as his co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon. Standing at 8 feet tall, Chewbacca is a fearsome sight. His weapon of choice is the Wookiee bowcaster (a crossbow-shaped directed-energy weapon). Chewbacca was named one of the "greatest sidekicks" in film history by Entertainment Weekly.
Chewbacca's creation as a "gentle, hairy, non-English-speaking co-pilot" was inspired by George Lucas seeing his own dog sitting up on the passenger seat of his car. The dog, named Indiana, also inspired the name of the lead character in another one of Lucas' film franchises – Indiana Jones. It is said that Chewbacca's name is derived from собака (sobaka), the Russian word for dog.
In all four screen appearances, Chewbacca was played by Peter Mayhew, who was chosen for his height of 7'3" (2.2 m). Five identical costumes were made for Mayhew: in the three original films and a holiday special, the suits were made of yak hair and mohair. In Revenge of the Sith, the suit was made of more comfortable materials, though Mayhew's filming only lasted a day. Only Mayhew's blue eyes could be seen in his costume, but fans easily recognize him by his gestures, and his co-workers claimed ability to tell when a stand-in was taking his place.
Chewbacca's voice was created by the original films' sound designer, Ben Burtt, from recordings of walruses, lions, camels, bears, rabbits, tigers, and badgers in Burtt's personal menagerie. The individual recordings were mixed at different ratios for Chewbacca's different utterances. One of the most prominent elements in the voice was a black bear named Tarik, from Happy Hollow Zoo in San Jose, California.
In the prequel film Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Chewbacca and Tarfful fight in the Clone Wars when their planet Kashyyyk is invaded. They also help Jedi Master Yoda escape after Commander Gree and an unidentified clone scout trooper are ordered to turn on Yoda by Palpatine. Chewbacca is not identified until Yoda thanks him at the end of a scene, rendering his appearance something of an easter egg.
First appearing in A New Hope, Chewbacca and Han Solo accept a charter to take Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and droids C-3PO and R2-D2 to the planet Alderaan. When they find the planet destroyed by the Death Star, the two smugglers are drawn into the Rebel Alliance. As part of a plan to Rescue Leia, Luke tries to put Handcuffs on Chewbacca to make it look like He's a prisoner. Chewbacca almost attacks Luke believing him to be selling him and Solo out, but Han explains that he knows what Luke has in mind and convinces the Wookie to play along. After Rescuing Leia and taking her to the Rebel Base on Yavin IV, The two smugglers are given reward money in the value of a payload lost by him to which He owes Jabba The Hutt. Somehow Chewbacca is able to Convince Han to Put his debt to Jabba aside for the time being and help The Rebels in their fight against the Death Star. They Manage to save Luke from being killed, also allowing him to be the one to destroy the Space Station.
In The Empire Strikes Back, Chewbacca finds a dismantled C-3PO in a junk pile in Cloud City and rescues him from being melted down. He later tries to repair him, but does a terrible job at it. Before Han is frozen in Carbonite, he asks Chewbacca to look after Princess Leia for him. When Lando Calrissian is able to save Leia & Chewbacca from being taken to Darth Vader'sship, he uncuffs the Wookie, who upon release starts strangling him for selling them out. When Lando explains that they still have a chance to Save Han, Leia has Chewbacca stop choking him. Even though they're unsuccessful at saving the frozen Han, they Make it back to the Falcon with R2-D2. Chewbacca carried C-3PO on his back throughout their escape to the Falcon. When Leia hears Luke's cry for help, she has Chewbacca turn the ship around to rescue him. After doing so, they attempt the jump to lightspeed but fail, even after Lando's men fixed it. Chewbacca is furious at Lando and goes to fix it himself, having spent part of the movie trying to do so. What none of them except for R2-D2 realize is that the hyperdrive was deactivated as R2-D2 Had learned from Cloud City's Central Computer while helping them escape. Admiral Firmus Piett's men disguised themselves as Lando's repairmen and deactivated the hyperdrive as part of Vader's plan to capture Luke and turn him to the dark side of the Force, but R2-D2 is able to fix it allowing them to make the Jump to Hyperspace and get to the Rebel Fleet. While Luke heals and is given a robotic right hand to replace the one he lost against Vader, Lando and Chewbacca prepair to leave to find Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett and rescue Han.
In Return of the Jedi, Chewbacca pretends to be the prisoner of a bounty hunter named Boushh, which is actually Leia in disguise as part of Luke's plan to rescue Han From Jabba The Hutt. During the Battle of Endor, Chewbacca and some Ewoks commandeer an AT-ST from the empire and use it to shoot down other Walkers and imperial troops.
The 1978 television program Star Wars Holiday Special introduces Chewbacca's family: Mallatobuck (his wife), Lumpawarrump (his son) and Attichitcuk, Chief of the Kaapauku Tribe (his father). They live together on Kashyyyk. The Star Wars Holiday Special consisted of a frame story in which Chewbacca and Han must prevent Darth Vader from spoiling Life Day, and get home to be with Chewbacca's family. It aired only once.
In the season 3 finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Chewbacca is captured by Trandoshan hunters, but is freed by Ahsoka Tano and agrees to help her and two younglings escape. He builds a transmitter out of parts from the damaged Trandoshan ship, but it seems unable to work. Later, he and Ahsoka attack the Trandoshan fortress, killing many in sight, before they are found and assisted by other Wookiees led by Tarfful.
Chewbacca's family also appears in the Non-Canon Star Wars Legends books (Star Wars books published before December 2014), most notably The Wookiee Storybook, The Black Fleet Crisis trilogy by Michael P. Kube-McDowell, and The Hutt Gambit and Rebel Dawn by A. C. Crispin. The latter also introduces other family members, including a sister named Kallabow and cousins named Dryanta and Jowdrrl, as well as the matriarch, Ellen.
In the novel Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, set just after the events in Revenge of the Sith, Chewbacca is forced to leave Kashyyyk after he narrowly escapes a major Imperial attack on the planet. Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine (Lord Sidious) enslave most of Kashyyyk's population of Wookiees for forced labor on the construction of the Death Star. It also explains how he joins a ship of smugglers who are friendly to the Jedi.
The novel The Hutt Gambit explains how Chewbacca and Han first meet when Han, a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy, finds him unconscious aboard a slave ship. Han's commanding officer orders him to skin Chewbacca, but Han refuses and rescues the helpless prisoner. Upon regaining consciousness, Chewbacca swears a "life-debt" to Han, and the two become business partners and best friends.
The 1999 novel Vector Prime by R. A. Salvatore (the first in the New Jedi Order series) marks Chewbacca's last chronological appearance in the Star Wars Legends universe. Chewbacca dies when he sacrifices his life to save Han's son Anakin from a collision between the planet Sernpidal and one of its moons. Lumpawarrump and Lowbacca offer to assume Chewbacca's life debt to Han. Han initially protests, but relents by the end of the series.
Chewbacca appears in the third book of the Origami Yoda series. The book is titled The Secret of the Fortune Wookie and also stars Han as translator.
Lucasfilm followed Vector Prime with a four-issue comic book titled Star Wars: Chewbacca, in which C-3PO and R2-D2 travel the galaxy to collect the stories of beings who knew or met the Wookiee.
In the fighting game Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi, Chewbacca is a playable character.
In Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, Chewbacca appears briefly at the Mos Eisley spaceport as an NPC, assisting Jaden Korr in disabling the tractor beams holding both the Millennium Falcon and the Raven's Claw captive.
In LucasArts' game Kinect Star Wars, the player acts as gunner on a spacecraft piloted by a young Chewbacca.
In Star Wars Battlefront II, Chewbacca is a playable hero on the rebels side.
He was a playable (LEGO version) character in LEGO Star Wars: The Original Trilogy and LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game as he had a big role in the original trilogy movies but is only in one level in The Video Game. The level is where Chewbacca's home is under attack, Yoda helps him and so at the end of the level Chewbacca and another Wookie lead him to a space pod to escape, just as in the film.
IGN has been fond of the character, choosing the character as the 9th top Star Wars character, listing his relationship with Han Solo as one of their top 10 movie bromances, claiming him as one of the characters they would like to see in The Clone Wars, and choosing him as one of the characters they'd like to see in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and (along with Han Solo) its sequel. UGO Networks listed the character as "one of the most bad-ass archers in popular culture."
In contrast, Roger Ebert in his 1997 review of the Special Edition re-release of The Empire Strikes Back declared that the character gave the worst performance of the film: "This character was thrown into the first film as window dressing, was never thought through, and as a result has been saddled with one facial expression and one mournful yelp. Much more could have been done. How can you be a space pilot and not be able to communicate in any meaningful way? Does Han Solo really understand Chew's monotonous noises? Do they have long chats sometimes?"
Chewbacca is one of the few fictional characters to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the MTV Movie Awards. Because fans complained that he should have received a medal along with Luke Skywalker and Han Solo at the end of A New Hope, MTV presented the award as a medal bestowed by Carrie Fisher. Peter Mayhew had voiced concern about Chewbacca being skipped in the original medal scene as well, but noted that Chewbacca does get the last 'line' in the film as compensation.
In other countries
Chewbacca in Italy is known as "Chewbecca", "Giube" or "Ciube".
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