We got the news today that Peter Mayhew, the actor behind Chewbacca, passed away. Peter’s passing really touched me. I’m enough of a Star Wars nerd that I’ve attended the Celebration Expo several times and, of all the original cast, Peter always seemed one of the happiest guys in the room. When he got the Chewbacca gig, he was a hospital orderly and I think he never lost sight of how fortunate he was to play such a big role. That being said, it wasn’t all luck. Putting a guy in a six foot dog costume and asking him to follow Harrison Ford around in a potentially campy 70’s sci-fi film could have gone horribly wrong. Peter brought something to the table though. He gave Chewie heart and a lot of us, myself included, certainly connected. Chewbacca never would have become what he is without Peter. As Mark Hamill tweeted, “I’m a better man for just having known him.” There was a lot of sadness from fans of the original trilogy that we never got that scene in the new movies with Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie together. Having now lost both Peter Mayhew and Carrie Fischer, that’s even more true.
When I visit Disneyland (frequently), I have the option to get my picture taken with a variety of characters from Star Wars. The thing is, I always go for Chewbacca. There are probably 100 pictures of me and Chewbacca in my Apple Photos library. There is nothing quite like hugging a Wookiee to set you right. Thanks Peter.