Study Guide

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew)

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Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew)

A Man's Best Friend Is His Wookiee

Chewie was always intended as a surrogate dog. Well, the best, coolest dog you could ever ask for, who just happens to be able to shoot a bowcaster and co-pilot a ship as well. George Lucas famously based the character on his Alaskan Malamute, Indiana, and it wouldn't be right not to include him in the action here.

Here, he sticks pretty much to form. He's loyal to Han unto death—literally, as it turns out—and will cheerfully defend his friends in any manner they need, be it pulling the arms off of bad guys or sitting in the co-pilot's seat ensuring that the malfunctioning whatchamacallit doesn't blow up the Millennium Falcon.

In other words, pretty much the same awesome sidekick stuff he did in Episodes IV-VI.

Yet, if you look closely, you can see some slight differences in Chewie that weren't there in those earlier films. He's a bit more of a prima donna here, for starters, fussing over his injuries and demanding praise for things that flatter his Wookiee ego.

Look, for example, at the way he reacts to Finn trying to bind his wounds. It's pretty much the way a fussy dog would:

FINN: Chewie, come on! I need help with this giant hairy thing! Stop moving! Chewie!

HAN: You hurt Chewie, you're gonna deal with me!

FINN: Hurt him?! He almost killed me six times!

Similarly, once he gets some proper medical attention, he clearly needs to be buttered up as much as stitched up:

DR. KALONIA: That sounds very scary…you must be so brave.

Kalonia's knowing, not-unkind smirk tells you everything you need to know about her praise.

Chewie's loyalty, which, while absolute, undergoes a subtle shift from one hotshot pilot to the next. Rey catches his eye, and while he would never throw over Han for any reason, he seems pretty happy to let the kid join the club, as Han indicates when Rey waffles at his job offer:

HAN: It's too bad. Chewie kind of likes you.

That makes it easier for Chewie to glom onto Rey—and thus stick around for future movies—once Han goes. Chewie is upset that his BFF got killed (seriously, there's going to be a lot of Wookiee grief pouring out of the big guy for a while), but Rey needs buddies, and with her in de facto command of the Falcon, it only makes sense that the Sidekick Transfer Operation successfully shifts him from the old, grizzled smuggler to plucky, young scavenger with ease.

That's good news because it means this "walking carpet" is going to be around for a long time to come. We can't say we're unhappy at the prospect.

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