Autograph of the week: Peter Mayhew / Chewbacca, the Wookiee that came back from the dead for The Force Awakens.
Our heroes have aged, Chewbacca, the Wookiee that (retrospectively) started his relationship with the force in Episode III has also aged. But, apparently, his relationship with the captain of the Millennium Falcon remains the same. What many of you probably didn’t know is that Chewbacca actually died in the official Star Wars novels, and J. J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan have “brought him back from the dead” so he can co-pilot the Falcon again. Continue reading after the break to learn interesting facts and controversies about Chewbacca, some interesting info about the actor who brings him to life, Peter Mayhew, and how we met him and obtained his autograph.
Instead of jumping into the Millennium Falcon when the Yuuzhan Vong attacked, he tossed Anakin Solo into the ship. Without time to save himself, we meets his ending when the moon they were on crashed into a planet. Fans were outraged by this. To add to the controversy, Princess Leia, in a comic book that deals with the aftermath of his demise, confessed she always felt jealous about Han’s relationship with the Wookiee.
One of the positive aspects of declaring all of those novels and comics as non-cannon is that it brings Chewbacca back to life. Seeing him growling next to Han after he says “Chewie, we are home” while on board the Millennium Falcon made fans jump with happiness. All that nonsense about him being dead is now a thing of the past (for the moment at least). Our beloved Wookiee looks older but still imposing.
Another huge controversy surrounding the character is the fact that he didn’t get a medal in the final scene of A New Hope, even though he was piloting the Millennium Falcon at the moment Luke blows the first Death Star. Many fans considered this discrimination, even more so when they noticed that the scene in which this happens is full of human rebels with no aliens in sight. The universe listened to the fans, and in 1997 the MTV Movie Awards honored Chewbacca with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher, hung a medal around his neck at the MTV awards ceremony.
Peter Mayhew is a fan favorite and as noble as the mighty Wookiee he plays in the movies. He is more than great to fans, but it is his charity work that makes Star Wars fans proud of him. The Peter Mayhew Foundation is a nonprofit organization devoted to the alleviation of disease, pain, suffering, and the financial toll brought on by life's traumatic events by providing its available resources directly to deserving children and adults in need” (from the foundation website).
Meeting Peter at Celebration Europe 2013. We had the chance to meet Peter, get his autograph and a picture with him at Celebration Europe in Germany. I really appreciate how good he was to my son who was in a bad mood and didn’t want to pose for the picture. Peter talked to him and asked him in a funny way “do you want to pick up a fight with me?” and moved his fist like getting ready to fight. This made my son calm down and cooperate for the picture, although he still made a funny face (see picture below). I have to say, some actors get annoyed by little kids when they don’t behave, but Peter was a champ. Thanks for that Peter.
Image is copyright of Signed Star Wars
Visit Peter’s foundation website at http://petermayhewfoundation.org where you can also get autographs and other products here as a way of donating to the causes the foundation supports. You can also follow Peter on his Facebook page Peter Mayhew - The Wookiee Roars