ByGenevieve Van Voorhis, writer at
Game of Thrones, ASOUE, and all things '00s. Twitter: @gen_vanvee Email: [email protected]
Genevieve Van Voorhis

Han Solo and Chewbacca, Chewie and Han, the smuggler and the walking carpet. Few friendships in Hollywood have become as iconic as this one. From an outside perspective, it might seem confusing as to how Han can maintain a working relationship with someone that speaks Wookie, but true fans know their undying loyalty to one another without question. Whatever the origins of their friendship, they stayed together until the heartbreaking end. Han and Chewie, we salute you.

In honor of this epic duo, here are some fun facts about the friendship of Chewbacca and Han Solo.

Han Solo And Chewbacca Fun Facts

1. Han Almost Became Ewok Food

In Return Of The Jedi, Harrison Ford suggested offing his own character at the hands of the Ewoks:

“I thought it would give more weight and resonance. But George Lucas wasn’t sympathetic. He didn’t want me killed by those teddy bear guys.”
Chewie and Han, A New Hope
Chewie and Han, A New Hope

2. Han Saved Chewie's Life (Almost)

In the Star Wars expanded universe, there's a version of the story that has Han first meet Chewie aboard a slave ship in the novel The Hutt Gambit. Han is ordered to skin Chewbacca alive, but he refuses and saves his life instead. Chewie swears a life-debt to Han, who is kind of annoyed by having the walking carpet follow him around. But when Chewie ends up saving Han's life, the pair become the iconic friends we know and love. George Lucas, however, rejected this version of events.

3. Papa Chewbacca

An early version of Revenge Of The Sith had a part for a 10-year-old Solo. Little Han was meant to be an orphan, living on Kashyyyk (the planet of the Wookies) and being raised by Chewbacca. Obviously the part never made it to the final draft, but how cute would that have been? Something for the new Han Solo movie, perhaps?

Han Solo, Then And Now
Han Solo, Then And Now

4. Han Shared His Gun With Ol' Blue Eyes

Han's gun is called a BlasTech DL-44 Blaster. It's modeled on a real gun, the German Mauser C96 pistol. Frank Sinatra actually used one of the original props for Han's gun in his 1968 movie, The Naked Runner.

5. Indiana

Chewie was inspired by Lucas's giant Alaskan malamute, Indiana, who used to ride shot gun in his car like a co-pilot. Indiana also provided the inspiration for Lucas's and Ford's other iconic character, Indiana Jones.

6. 'No One Remembers Heroes'

David Prowse, who ended up being the man inside the Darth Vader costume, was initially offered the role of Chewbacca and turned it down:

“I turned down the role of Chewbacca at once. I know that people remember villains longer than heroes. At the time I didn’t know I’d be wearing a mask, and throughout production I thought Vader’s voice would be mine.”
David Prowse as Darth Vader
David Prowse as Darth Vader

7. Green Solo

In a rough draft for the original Star Wars film, Han Solo appeared as a giant green alien with no nose and gills.

8. Peter Mayhew's Audition

Lucas went on a search to find a sufficiently tall actor to wear the Chewbacca suit, and found Mayhew, who stood 7'3 at his tallest, working as a hospital orderly in London. Mayhew described their meeting as an almost instant-hire:

"I sat down on one of the sofas, waiting for George. Door opened, and George walked in with Gary behind him. So, naturally, what did I do? I'm raised in England. Soon as someone comes in through the door, I stand up. George goes "Hmm…". Virtually turned to Gary, and said 'I think we've found him'."
Peter Mayhew, Then And Now
Peter Mayhew, Then And Now

9. Chewie Costume

The original Chewbacca costumes (there have been five used in the movies) were made of yak hair and mohair.

10. Russian Dog

Rumor has it that Chewbacca's name was inspired by the Russian word for dog, собака (Sobaka).

11. Voice Stylings Of Tarik The Bear

Ben Burtt first assignment as sound designer for Star Wars was to create the voice of Chewbacca. He did this by mixing together different animal sounds, including camels, walruses, lions and rabbits. But the main voice artist was a young bear named Tarik who lived in the Happy Hollow Zoo in San Jose.

Tarik The Bear
Tarik The Bear

These Best Han And Chewie Moments Will Give You All The Feels

12. When They Finally Get Back On The Millenium Falcon (The Force Awakens)

After decades apart and away from their ship, watching the two friends return to the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon feels like returning home after a long journey.

13. And This Quote From Mayhew About Their Real-Life Reunion On The Set Of The Force Awakens

'I was sitting in my trailer. There was a knock at the door and someone shouted, "Where’s that walking carpet?2 It was Harrison. He came in, gave me a big hug and said, "Welcome Back".

14. Ford also chimed in about how good it felt to be back together again:

'It was as warm as fuzzy as you might imagine. It was great to see old friends.'

15. When Han Told Finn, "If You Hurt Chewie, You're Gonna Have To Deal With Me" (The Force Awakens)

For someone who hasn't grown up in the shadow the seven-foot over-sized teddy bear, it's understandable that he might seem like a threat. Especially when armed with a gun pointed directly at you. But even in the midst of a crisis, Han always has time to look out for his friend and make sure no one messes with his co-pilot.

16. This Touching Moment Between Leia And Chewie (The Force Awakens)

You can always tell a lot about the person you're with by the way they treat your friends. After being separated for so long and before embarking on yet another dangerous adventure, this touching moment between Chewie and Leia shows just how much their friendship has grown since the days when she was ordering someone to get "that walking carpet" out of her way.

17. The Heartbreaking Sound That Chewie Makes Right After Han Dies (Force Awakens)

Whether you understand Shyrriwook or not, the sound that erupts out of the depths of Chewie's soul is unmistakable agony. Who knows how many decades of friendship had passed between these two, and it's all brought to an abrupt end at the irrationally cruel hands of Kylo Ren. The only thing sadder than Han Solo's death is the idea of watching Chewie try to communicate with humans without him.

18. When Leia Cozied Up To Chewie And Han Sulked In The Corner

Of all the golden gems that come out of Carrie Fisher's Twitter feed, this one is a definite winner. Usually so suave, Harrison Ford looks like a deranged lurker while Carrie Fisher cuddles up to Peter Mayhew in his Wookie suit. Bonus: Mark Hamill is checking himself out in the far right.

19. But Then They Sorted Out Their Differences On Jimmy Kimmel Live

This Han Solo and Chewbacca parody aired on Jimmy Kimmel about a month before The Force Awakens to help hype up the film. It finally provided us with the behind-the-scenes friendship images we'd been craving for Chewie and Han since 1977 — pedicures, Connect Four, putting together a LEGO Millenium Falcon.

20. When Peter Mayhew consoled a young Star Wars fan after the death of his friend

Get the tissues back out. If anyone knows about dealing with the loss of a friend, it's Chewbacca. Peter Mayhew received this letter from one young Star Wars fan, who was coping with the loss of one of his friends. Mayhew's words were so moving that the father of the deceased child took to Twitter to express his gratitude and share Mayhew's letter with the world.

Peter Mayhew And Harrison Ford

For one final punch straight to the nostalgic feels, check out these side-by-side images of Peter Mayhew and Harrison Ford from 1977 and the premiere of The Force Awakens in 2015. While they might not be bringing us any new Star Wars stories together, they'll live on in our hearts forever.

Chewbacca and Han Solo, Then and Now
Chewbacca and Han Solo, Then and Now

Check out this article for even more side-by-side images of the Star Wars cast, then and now.

What do you love the most about Han Solo and Chewbacca?

Want even more Star Wars? Here's everything you never knew you needed to know about all the different lightsabers in the expanded universe.


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