‘Star Wars: Episode 7′: Peter Mayhew May Play Chewbacca Again

Published 1 year ago by

Chewbacca Mayhew Star Wars: Episode 7: Peter Mayhew May Play Chewbacca Again

Chasing rumors can be a tricky business in the movie world, especially if they’re related to a hot property like Star Wars: Episode VII and a filmmaker like J.J. Abrams. Abrams has brought his trademark “mystery box” brand of filmmaking along with him for the next installment in the Star Wars cinematic universe; to date, he’s played with his cards close to the vest, and Disney has followed along in kind, letting practically no plot or casting details slip through any official avenues.

It’s a tactic that works, in the sense that everything about Star Wars: Episode VII has mostly stayed under lock and key for the whole of pre-production, but the strategy also fosters wild speculation once the Internet gets a whiff of even a questionable lead. Case in point: after much hemming and hawing over the possibility that the film might recast Chewbacca, everybody’s favorite Wookie, following actor Peter Mayhew’s double-knee replacement surgery, there’s now a glimmer of hope Mayhew may reprise his role after all.

Do note, before continuing, that this is very much unconfirmed, a theory spurred on by a somewhat enigmatic Tweet fired off by the Comicpalooza Con’s Twitter account, the subtext of which the folks at Coming Soon picked up on immediately. Turns out that Mayhew had been on the books to appear at this year’s Comicpalooza event, but that he canceled that scheduled guest stint earlier today for filming reasons; all told, it’s a pretty cryptic message, the full content of which can be seen below:

The logic here is pretty straightforward: Mayhew has backed out of Comicpalooza ’14, which takes place in May, and Star Wars: Episode VII (reportedly) begins shooting sometime in May, which presents too much of a convenience to ignore. Who would reasonably analyze this turn of events and chalk it up to coincidence? If that’s not enough, Mayhew himself has even expressed his interest in picking up where he left off thirty plus years ago as Chewbacca, too. Seems fairly cut and dry.

chewbacca han solo Star Wars: Episode 7: Peter Mayhew May Play Chewbacca Again

But though Mayhew may want to play Chewbacca, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to play Chewbacca. Double-knee replacements are no joke, for one, and for another there’s always the possibility that the original casting call that made everybody think of Chewbacca could actually have been casting for Lowbacca, Chewi’s nephew and a Jedi Knight trained by none other than Luke Skywalker.

Of course, the temptation to immediately jump to the obvious conclusion here is strong, and it wouldn’t be unprecedented in the brief, very hushed-up history of Star Wars: Episode VII‘s tiresome casting saga. Scuttlebutt strongly favors the potential involvement of Carrie Fischer, as well as Mark Hamil and Harrison Ford, on the new project, and while all of that remains firmly rooted in the realm of hearsay and rumor, the fact that we’re still talking about the original cast returning makes the idea of Mayhew taking part in production a lot less doubtful on paper.

That’s the extent of the skinny on Mayhew’s participation in Star Wars: Episode VII, and as usual, take the news well-salted until a more authoritative announcement is made to one effect or another. Still, it would be pretty great to see Mayhew bring Chewbacca to life once again, so let’s hope for the best on this one.


Star Wars: Episode VII will open in US theaters on December 18th, 2015.

Source: ComicPalooza Con [via Coming Soon]

Follow Andy Crump on Twitter @agracru
TAGS: Star wars
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  1. I’m all for the returning of the original cast, but I honestly don’t feel any nostalgia for Mayhew. I like Chewie and would like to see him, but if Mayhew isn’t in condition to wear the fur, then I won’t mind.

    He did play Chewie in Episode III, though so it’s not much of a stretch.

  2. Sentiment is nice but big Pete is just too old for this unless Chewie ages the same as the others…..

    • I’m actually kind of liking the idea of an old Grandpa Chewie.

      I think he’s supposed to be like 200 years old at the time of a New Hope, but I don’t know what the average life expectancy of a Wookie is.

      • Couple of grand kids (assuming Chewie found a woman Chewie somewhere!!), I could watch that….. Warming to the idea

        • Nope. He’s the last of his species.
          Unless of course, chewie is into mix marriage. ^_^

          • There are Wookies in the EU and the movies… Nowhere is it suggested that he’s the last…

  3. Chewie in Episode 3 was the most epic thing EVER!

  4. really who even cares if he returns or not lmao…
    i dont care who is under the suit and its the same with r2d2 and c3po

  5. Everyone who knows a bit of SW is interested. He should return, not because of old times but because the most obvious reason; his death which happens in the novel Vector Prime. Abrams is adapting the stories so his death is likely to happen.

    • Are you personal friends with Abrams? Or are you just pretending to know something?

      • Reads like one of those diehard dorks who buys every single piece of merchandise and knows every canon and non-canon story.

        When is the final fantasy movie? They have better creatures.

  6. It’s “Carrie Fisher”.

  7. WHAT??? Well then who the are Carrie Fischer, Marc Hamil and Harrisen Ford!!! LMAO!!
    C’mon Screen Rent!! ;)

    • Wut?

  8. i hope the guy wearing the ewok suit comes back too

    • According to rumors, he actually will! Haha. :)

  9. He could play Chewbacca in the close ups, and another actor could play Chewbacca walking.

    I have no doubt that could easily happen, and probably will, if Chewbacca is in the new films.

    • can you honestly tell a difference?

      • Sure. Man, don’t be a racist. Do you think all wookiees look the same? ;)

      • No, of course not, but it would be nice to know for fans of the franchise, and I don’t doubt that Abrams himself, also a fan, would like him to be in the film as well. The original actors, after all, are part of the history of the franchise, and fans of something don’t usually cast away the objects of their affection just because they have grown old.

  10. peter mayhew has got to be the luckiest famous person around, a monkey in a suite could play that part
    the sounds are made on a computer all he does is wave his arms around and over emote
    I dont think fans would care if they cast someone else in the part

    • Any fans whom he has would care. Clearly, you are not a fan, so don’t purport that real fans wouldn’t care. I am not a major fan myself, but for me, it would be nice to know that he is playing the part. Don’t underestimate the effect of nostalgia on some people.

  11. Lowbacca? Seriously?
    Guys, there’s isn’t going to be any characters from the EU in the new movies.
    No Jaina, no Jacen, no Darth Cadeus, no Mara Jade, no Winter, no Thrawn.
    The EU is merely Lucasfilm sanctioned fan fiction and the characters and events depicted in those novels, won’t appear on screen
    The sooner you all start accepting that, the better it’ll be for you.

    “He should return, not because of old times but because the most obvious reason; his death which happens in the novel Vector Prime. Abrams is adapting the stories so his death is likely to happen.”

    @Hector, Abrams and Kasdan are NOT adapting any EU novels!
    The idea is to start off with a BRAND NEW ADVENTURE and not a retread of poorly written fan fiction.

    Yes, once the cat is out of the bag, I will be here to witness the screams and cries of the EU fanboys and happily I’ll be there to say; told ya so!

    You guys just don’t want to listen.

    • Paul, as an EU fan, you nailed it. EU is EU, not the movies.

      • Do we actually know for sure that they will not be using any EU characters, even if the story is completely new? Not that I’m aware of, and do we really trust quoted comments from the filmmakers as a basis for absolute assumptions?

        To me, the most realistic perspective is to not assume anything, either way, until we see the film on the screen or get some sort of absolute confirmation, if such a thing exists.

        I’m not in some sort of la-la land – I love the EU and would like to see elements of it used in the films – but I’m prepared to be surprised, regardless of what happens.

        All of that being said, Mayhew reprising Chewbacca is a nice thought, but only if no great action or dexterity is called for, I would think. Whether or not Lowbacca as such is used as a new character, I’d love to see another Wookie onscreen for more than just a moment or two. How cool would that be?

    • I am not yet convinced that the new movie is going to completely discard the EU. In an internet age where everyone has to know everything, and know it NOW, it become increasingly harder to keep things under wraps. While generally opposed to being lied to in principle, I’m willing to overlook the possibilty everything we’re being told is a bunch of bull so as not to have everything spoiled before shooting even starts.

      Socondly, while a million people going to see a new movie is going to generate more income than a thousand people buying 100 books each, why would you want to completely cripple (why would I buy another book if you declare the 50ish I’ve already bought and read “irrelevant”?) a not insubstantial source of income (almost $2 billion to date)? Furthermore, the books are a good source for potential toys (and with over 40% of all Star Wars revenue, toys are what really matter at the end of the day).

      Personally, having purchased and read about 50 novels (up through about the end of the Vong invasion), to be told my investment of time and money (at a good 5+ hours/$7+ a book, a rather significant invesment of both) is “meaningless” I find to be somewhat insulting. If that does turn out to be the case, I see no further reason to invest my money (especially with disposable income being increasingly harder to come by than it was 20 years ago) in their franchise, whether it’s buying a book, seeing a movie, or buying toys for my kid. There are plenty of other wothwile things to spend money on (just like I still buy as much music as a did a decade ago, just none of it from major labels, no matter how much I like a band).

      That’s not to say I wouldn’t ignore it all for a good reason (and would in fact like a good reason to see some of it rewritten, because some of the novels/storylines were rather weak, although most of it wasn’t really any worse than some of the crap we got shovelled in the prequel trilogy, and I don’t see them discounting those anytime soon). As an example, I initially ignored the Star Trek reboot, figuring it’d either be just another retelling of the story, or, once I knew time travel was involved, they’d just “fix” everything in the end. I was actually rather impressed Abrams and company had the cajones to leave the timeline “broken” essentially invalidating 24 seasons of TV shows (everything but Enterprise), 10 movies and over 300 books. They at least gave me a reason to ignore everything that came before. In fact, Star Trek: Into Darkness was the first Star Trek movie I’ve actually gone to the theatre to see (as a side note, while Into Darkness borrowed liberally from Wrath of Khan, to me it was more akin to the TOS TV episode, seeting up the possibilty for a “Wrath of Khan” *later*)

      At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t really matter. 1,000 casual fans who go to see the movie just once, are probably going to generate more money than I’ve spent on their franchise in the past 20 years, or am likely to in the next 20. Crafting something the masses like is usually much more important than catering to a smaller hardcore fanbase (and you can’t even satisfy all of them all of the time either, no matter what you do, someone isn’t going to like it).

      • You were told that your investment was meaningless years ago, but you’ve just chosen to ignore it.

        Think about it: we found out in the prequels that Anakin destroys the Sith and brings balance to the Force. In the EU, Palpatine is still alive and well and the Force is still out of balance. Boba Fett’s back story was completely trashed by the prequels. And to the Jedi’s knowledge, no one has ever come back from the dead and the Sith are incapable of doing so. How many EU stories feature Force ghosts pre-TPM? And what about Exar Kun?

        The only thing that the sequels will do is destroy what’s left of the EU, so don’t kid yourself thinking that this is something new.

  12. Well he’s unlikely to play R2D2.

  13. One thing I do not understand. In this article it says that the involvement of Carrie, Mark and Harrison is speculation. However, if they were involved, wouldn’t they be working out in the gym? If so, wouldn’t someone have photos of them walking down the street having lost weight?

  14. The guy walks with a cane if I am correct. How could he still play Chewie? I’m guessing they will have in play Chewie in a scene or two but no way can he be the only one playing the part.

  15. Heck yeah Peter! I’m pumped as he’s one of the classic characters who deserves to be in the movie. What a great guy

  16. As someone who has been personally involved in Mr. Mayhew’s post surgical rehab, he’s making excellent progress. And besides, the movies take place in 30 years in the future, who’s to say Chewbacca wouldn’t walk with a cane?

  17. I think as long as Peter Mayhew is healthy enough, he should be Chewie. If not, how about Ben Affleck?!