Most people probably would not recognize Peter Mayhew if they passed him on the street, but just about everyone is familiar with his Star Wars character, Chewbacca. Mayhew has been the face behind everyone's favorite wookie for 40 years, having played Han Solo's sidekick in the the original trilogy, Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens. The 72-year-old actor is expected to reprise his role as Chewie in the upcoming installment, #TheLastJedi alongside his successor, Joonas Suotamo.
Over the weekend, Peter Mayhew, who frequents Reddit, hosted an AMA to answer fan questions and share some hilarious tidbits surrounding his experiences being involved in the biggest franchise of all time. Even after all these years, it was clear by his responses that he still relishes in the excitement that Star Wars has created and just like us, he is a major fan himself. Here are some of the highlights:
1. The Audition Process Was Simple
When asked how he got the part for the 1976 film, Mayhew simply replied, "all I had to do was stand up, and they offered me the role." Being 7'3 certainly paid off! Wookies are large creatures, so George Lucas and crew were on the search for a pretty tall person for the Chewbacca role.
2. Star Wars Conventions Are A Full-Time Job
Mayhew shared that he goes to about 10-20 fan conventions every year and that he enjoys meeting with fans. He also enjoys reuniting with his fellow co-stars as he shared fun moments on social media during this year's Star Wars Celebration. He shared this post on Twitter surrounded by fellow wookies:
3. Why He Signed Up For The Infamous Christmas Special
There are two types of Star Wars fans: those who have yet to see the Christmas Special and fans who have seen it but try to forget it exists. The best Q&A moment touched upon the special, solidifying how much of a legend Peter Mayhew truly is. When a redditor asked why Mayhew agreed to appear in it, he replied:
"The check cleared."
4. He Still Watches The Old Movies
Mayhew said he likes to watch the original trilogy during marathons, such as last weekend's May the Fourth marathon. He even responded to a question with, "[L]et me pause Empire."
5. His Most Difficult Scene To Film Involved C-3P0
Chewbacca took part in many of the original trilogy's integral scenes. The most difficult, according to Mayhew, was putting C-3PO back together after he was blown apart in Cloud City. The droid's head was put on backwards and rudely called Chewie names — but hey, give the fuzzball a break, it was a wookie mistake!
6. He Wants To Cameo In The Han Solo Movie
Although Mayhew is reportedly reprising his role as Chewie in The Last Jedi in some capacity, he will not be in the spinoff Han Solo film. There is a petition for Mayhew to have an unmasked cameo in the film and he said he is aware of the campaign and would love to be a part of the movie, even linking the petition to the top of the Reddit page. There was also an interaction on Reddit with the fan who started the petition, with Mayhew responding:
"I have seen it, and it is incredibly sweet of you. I honestly would be honored to be included in any way. I suppose a cantina patron would be lovely like Anthony Daniels, or a pilot like Jeremy Bulloch."
7. How He Became Fluent In Wookie
Mayhew answered a few questions with a typical wookie response of "huurh huurh raaaaaahhgh." He later explained that Ben Burtt added the wookie language after filming — but to help the actors, he made sounds which can be found on youtube for your viewing pleasure:
8. His Favorite Memory Of Carrie Fisher
Ever since the untimely death of the beloved Carrie Fisher, the cast and crew have been sharing plenty of stories and on-set shenanigans involving our favorite princess. Mayhew was asked what his favorite memory of Carrie was and he lovingly shared:
"Everytime I think of Carrie I have a new favorite memory of her. Currently, its her chasing around the other cast members with a squirt gun"
9. It Got Hot In That Wookie Suit — Except On Hoth
As many would assume, it would get a little toasty inside that furry Chewbacca suit while filming, especially during the carbon freezing chamber scene. Mayhew added that it was nice to wear during Hoth scenes since it kept him warm from the snow. Thankfully a cooling unit was added into the suit for Revenge of the Sith.
10. Chewie Does Age, Just Not As Fast As His Friends
A redditor asked a question that many of us may have wondered regarding Chewie's aging in the newest installments of the franchise. Mayhew explained that Chewie would have been around 200 years old in A New Hope, so a couple of decades would not have added much grey hair compared to his co-stars.
11. A Walking Dead Fan Just Like Us
Like millions across the globe, Mayhew is a Walking Dead fan. Can we also start a petition to get him on for a cameo role as a walker?
12. How Much Chew Could Chewie Chew If...
Having spent so much time among fans during his life, the man sure knows how to have fun with them. A fan asked the question, "[H]ow much chew could Chewie chew if chewie could chew chew?" To which Mayhew gave the perfect response:
"How many Lowes could Rob Lowe rob, if Rob Lowe could rob Lowes?"
13. The Chewie Room
Collecting Star Wars merchandise can be a full-time job on its own, but have you ever wondered if the stars from the movies collect as well? Mayhew shared that he too has merchandise in a little museum he owns, and it is appropriately called "The Chewie Room."
14. What Would He Do For a Klondike Bar?
Han Solo's death in The Force Awakens crushed everyone, but Mayhew also took it hard sharing that it "left a burning hole in my heart" and he is definitely not a Kylo Ren fan. When asked what would he do for a klondike bar, Mayhew responded with "shoot Kylo Ren in the gut." Same, Peter, same.
Check out Peter Mayhew's full Reddit AMA and feel free to add your questions as he said he would check it periodically and answer more!
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi hits theaters December 15th, 2017!