George Lucas Writes Sweet Tribute To Peter Mayhew

Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca

Star Wars fans were saddened to learn about the recent death of Peter Mayhew, the man who brought the Wookie Chewbacca to life for the majority of the franchise. Friends and colleagues have been sharing their thoughts on the iconic actor. George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars has penned his own tribute to the man where he talks about how Mayhew was discovered and placed in the film that would define his career.

According to George Lucas, finding somebody to play Chewbacca was actually quite complicated. While all Lucas was really looking for was somebody tall enough to play the part, finding that proved difficult. Eventually however, a hospital attendant named Peter Mayhew was found and Lucas cast him as soon as he saw how tall the man was. According to Lucas...

Peter was a wonderful, wonderful man. He kept his job in the hospital through the first three movies. But he fell in love with the character. And then as Star Wars grew in fame, and he started doing more festivals and public appearances, he realized he could actually make a living just off the personal appearances. He was very gentle, very sweet, very easy to get along with. He was more like a Wookie than I originally imagined a Wookie to be. Originally, I envisioned Chewie as some big ferocious beast, but Peter's Chewie wasn't really ferocious. No matter how hard he tried, he wasn't ferocious. He would be your best friend until he got angry, then stand back. He was a gentle giant.

The idea that Peter Mayhew kept his job working at a hospital while also being in the biggest movie franchise of all-time is just adorable and hilarious.

While Mayhew would have a handful of other acting jobs over the course of his career, he really did just make a living being Chewbacca for the most part. It's clear he truly loved playing the character.

Mayhew hasn't played Chewbacca at all in the last couple films, with the costume being handled by Joonas Suotamo in both Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Mayhew hadn't been in the best health of late, so his passing wasn't necessarily a shock, but it was still sad news.

George Lucas' comments in THR are a wonderful tribute from the man who created Chewbacca and found the perfect person to give him life. While Lucas says he initially envisioned Chewbacca as a ferocious beast, it was Mayhew who turned him into the lovable giant he became. It's impossible to think of Chewbacca as anything else now.

Chewbacca will live on. Joonas Suotamo is set to bring the character back in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. While Mayhew may never inhabit the suit again, his contribution will certainly never be forgotten.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.