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Peter Mayhew, the Man Who Brought Chewbacca to Life, Passes Away at 74

Discussion in 'SWNN News Feed' started by SWNN Probe, May 3, 2019.

  1. SWNN Probe

    SWNN Probe Seeker

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    Peter Mayhew, an actor best known for bringing Chewbacca to life, is no longer with us. The actor passed away at the age of 74 due to unspecified health complications.





    Mayhew passed away two nights ago in his home in North Texas, surrounded by his family. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed from official sources, but TMZ believes that he died of heart failure, while BuzzFeed News took note of his long-standing mobility issues, and mentioned that he had spinal surgery last year. Mayhew has had a long history of medical issues, particularly in his old age; he was confined to a wheelchair in 2011, had a double knee replacement in 2013, but was able to walk again for a time with the assistance of a cane. Around the time that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was being filmed, he was considered well enough to film some of the scenes that required Chewbacca.



    One of Mayhew's last public appearances was last month at Star Wars Celebration Chicago, where he had photo ops and signed autographs. His family have left the following message on his Twitter page:



    [embed]https://twitter.com/TheWookieeRoars/status/1124077256240967681[/embed]



    Mayhew's death follows the passing of R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker and Princess Leia actress Carrie Fisher, both of whom died in 2016. With the Chewbacca actor gone, this means that three of the leading cast members behind the original Star Wars film back in 1977 departed from this world in the past few years. Naturally, cast members Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford also offered condolences to Mayhew's family and spoke highly of their experiences with working with the man behind the Chewbacca mask and costume:



    [embed]https://twitter.com/HamillHimself/status/1124093358798929920[/embed]



    [embed]https://twitter.com/TheRyanParker/status/1124104482957213697[/embed]


    <p style='direction: ltr;']Billie Dee Williams, who joined the cast in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and returned for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, also offered his sympathies:</p>


    [embed]https://twitter.com/realbdw/status/1124103081355022336[/embed]



    But it's not just the old guard that are honoring his memory. Mayhew mentored Joonas Suotamo for 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens to become Chewbacca in action scenes that he was no longer able to perform, due to his age and limited mobility. Suotamo has spoken fondly of Mayhew, and has fully taken over the role in 2017's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, 2018's Solo: A Star Wars Story, and 2019's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Suotamo left the following message on his Twitter page:



    [embed]https://twitter.com/JoonasSuotamo/status/1124095635332853760[/embed]



    Of course, what happened behind the scenes of the Star Wars movies is just as important as what was shown in the finished product. Director J. J. Abrams, who worked with Mayhew for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, left a short note expressing grief that the actor behind Chewbacca has passed away:



    [embed]https://twitter.com/jjabrams/status/1124127727202648065[/embed]



    And while Rian Johnson did not direct Mayhew in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, he also expressed grief at his passing:



    [embed]https://twitter.com/rianjohnson/status/1124101773575315458[/embed]



    Franchise creator George Lucas explained that he saw Mayhew as the living embodiment of Chewbacca in an official statement (per Deadline):
    In addition, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy explained that she was grateful for the time that she was able to spend with Mayhew from The Force Awakens onward:
    The man who brought us the mightiest Wookiee in the galaxy far, far away will be missed by fans, friends, and family members alike. While Chewbacca's roars and growls were never intelligible to our ears, Mayhew brought a sense of humanity to this loyal, intelligent, and above all else, brave gentle giant.



    His family will be hosting a memorial service in June. May the Force be with him - always.



    Click HERE to check out and comment on this topic on our main site
     
    #1 SWNN Probe, May 3, 2019
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
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  2. Rogues1138

    Rogues1138 Jedi General

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    SPEECHLESS....... CHEWIEEEEEEE :eek:
     
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  3. ObeeJaun

    ObeeJaun Rebel General

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    Prayers to his family. We will miss you Peter. You will always be the real Chewie. RAAHAHHAHHHRRRRRGGGG!
     
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  4. CTrent29

    CTrent29 Rebel Official

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    Rest in peace, Mr. Mayhew. Rest in peace.
     
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  5. General Kenobi

    General Kenobi Rebelscum

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    Sad news, thoughts and prayers to his family. He was such a positive representative for Star Wars and will be missed.
     
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  6. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Jedi General

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    Good night all.

     
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  7. jari13

    jari13 Rebel General

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    Rest in peace.
     
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  8. Star Dude

    Star Dude Jedi General

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    Now let the Wookie rest.
     
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  9. Rieekan

    Rieekan SWNN Hawkeye
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    ...
     
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  10. Messi

    Messi Force Sensitive

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    Rest in peace Mr. Mayhew.

    I love Chewbacca. Also, is the name of my dog.
     
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  11. daRinze

    daRinze Rebel Official

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    Good Bye Chewie.
     
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  12. Andrew Waples

    Andrew Waples Jedi General

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  13. Angelman

    Angelman Servant to the Whills & Slave to the Muses
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    Let’s honor Peter with a trip down memory line. What is, for YOU, his best/most enjoyable scene/moment in each of his 5 SW movies? (Well, he only had one scene, I think, in RotS… and I can’t quite remember which scenes he did and which were Joonas’ in TFA, so I’ll keep to the OT for now).


    It is really impressive how much character and emotion Peter managed to put across through the very expressionless & limiting costume Chewbacca had in the OT films, and I think I like it best when we see Chewbacca’s emotions shining through the fur and animatronics :D


    So, these are my favorite Chewie moments in the OT (what's your's? :) ):
    • ANH: A tie between smug “let the Wookie win” expression & the head-shaking “Nope!” scene when he won’t return to the trash compactor on Han’s insistence.
    • ESB: Chewie’s moment of worry and pain as they close the Echo Base doors.
    • RotJ: Chewie & the Ewoks hijacking the AT-ST.


    Peter was a great, natural actor, often underappreciated and standing in the shadow of others, but he was truly one of the magical pieces that made the quirky & weird original “space movie” work so well that it created this magnificent franchise that we continue to love 40-odd years later.


    Thank you, Mr. Mayhew :D
     
    #13 Angelman, May 3, 2019
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
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  14. Andrew Waples

    Andrew Waples Jedi General

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    Chewie roaring the entire time when Han gets frozen.



     
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  15. Lazarus Dei

    Lazarus Dei Tree Dodger Extraordinaire
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    Good shout @Angelman!

    I'd go for him barking at the Mouse Droid in ANH, either comforting Leia or throttling Lando on Bespin in TESB and contemplating/triggering the Ewok snare trap in ROTJ.

    Rest well sir.
    [​IMG]
    credit to Boss Logic
     
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  16. KeithF1138

    KeithF1138 Force Sensitive

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    Same here. Attached is a photo of our Chewie.
     

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  17. Messi

    Messi Force Sensitive

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    Chewie's best moments:

    ANH - Refuse to enter in the trash compactor.
    TESB - When he laughs of Han when Leia kisses Luke in the medical room.
    ROTJ - Upset with the Ewoks when they start to "drive" the AT-ST.
    TFA - The look he gives to Rey in the cockpit of MF when they are about to go to Ach Too.
    TLJ - When he pushes that porg in the cockpit of MF and when he's about to diner the roasted porg.

    And this is my Chewie:

     
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  18. RogueRebel

    RogueRebel Rebel Commander

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    Such sad news . Rest in peace Peter Mayhew . My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family . :((chewbacca)
     
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  19. srg

    srg Force Attuned

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    Very sad news... RIP, Peter. He will continue to be loved and his work will be celebrated by millions of fans around the world.
     
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  20. ObeeJaun

    ObeeJaun Rebel General

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    I just cried watching Chewie kicking @ss after Ben slaughtered Han, even if that was likely Joonas.
     
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