How Solo: A Star Wars Story Handled Chewbacca's Dialogue

Chewbacca in Solo: A Star Wars Story

There's no question that Chewbacca is one of the most beloved characters in Star Wars history. Whether he's by Han Solo's side or hanging out with one of the other protagonists, the big fuzzball is great in a fight (be it on land or out in space) and providing comedic relief. However, one barrier between fans and Chewie is that we never actually understand what he's saying, so we have to rely on Han and Rey for loose translation. But when it came to Solo: A Star Wars Story, where Chewie is being physically portrayed by Joonas Suotamo, writers Lawrence Kasdan and Jonathan Kasdan made sure to actually write out his lines in the script rather than just pass along the gist of what the Wookiee was saying. Jonathan Kasdan explained:

In this script, we wrote every one of Chewie's lines. We wanted Alden, who was playing Han, to know what was being said to him. So he would know what to play, regardless of what he interpreted from the moan.

Since the Star Wars movies have never put subtitles underneath Chewbacca's dialogue as is frequently done with other alien languages, unless Disney and Lucasfilm decide to publish the uncut script for Solo: A Star Wars Story, we the audience will never learn what he's saying in next month's Star Wars movie. However, as far as the movie's actors were concerned, particularly Alden Ehrenreich, the Kasdans mentioned during their recent appearance on The Star Wars Show that they wanted it to be perfectly clear what the Wookiee was communicating whenever he moaned, growled, barked, whimpered, etc. That way Ehrenreich as Han (who, if Solo is like the original Star Wars movies, will be our main way of understanding Chewie) would know how to properly respond, just like if Chewbacca was speaking to him in English.

James Gunn, the writer and director of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, took a similar approach with Groot, our favorite walking and talking tree in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Like Chewbacca, Groot isn't easy to understand since his vocabulistics are limited to "I" and "am" and "Groot," exclusively in that order, but Gunn wrote out a special script meant only for Vin Diesel that had Groot's lines written out in English. That way, with each "I am Groot," Diesel could use the right tone and intonation. Since Chewbacca has at least one more cinematic appearance lined up after Solo: A Star Wars Story, maybe Episode IX writer Chris Terrio could take a cue from the Kasdans and also write out fully write out Chewbacca's lines so that Daisy Ridley can play off them just the right way.

Taking place approximately a decade before A New Hope, Solo: A Star Wars Story will show how Han and Chewbacca met and their subsequent adventure together with characters like Lando Calrissian, Qi'ra, Tobias Beckett, Val, L3-37 and more. The movie blasts its way into theaters on May 25. If you're interested in finding out what other major motion pictures are coming out this year, look through our 2018 premiere guide.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.