Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and other members of the Star Wars family have reacted to the recent passing of Peter Mayhew. Mayhew was of course the man behind the loveable Wookie named Chewbacca, who was first introduced in 1977 in the original Star Wars. Even though Mayhew's face was never actually seen in a Star Wars film, Chewbacca has become one of the most recognized characters in the Star Wars universe.
Mayhew not only played Chewbacca in all three movies of the original trilogy, but also returned for Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Finnish actor Joonas Suotamo assissted Mayhew with certain scenes in The Force Awakens, before officially taking over the role for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Mayhew may not be playing Chewbacca in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but some of his former co-stars and Star Wars family members have reacted to his death.
Several of Mayhew's coworkers have spoken out about his death on Twitter, including Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, J.J. Abrams, and Rian Johnson. Each person had a heartfelt post about the passing of Mayhew, but Ford also had some touching words to say about his dear friend while talking with THR. Ford's statement, followed by each of the Twitter posts can be viewed below.
"Peter Mayhew was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character. These aspects of his own personality, plus his wit and grace, he brought to Chewbacca. We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years and I loved him. He invested his soul in the character and brought great pleasure to the Star Wars audience. Chewbacca was an important part of the success of the films we made together. He knew how important the fans of the franchise were to its continued success and he was devoted to them. I and millions of others will never forget Peter and what he gave us all. My thoughts are with his dear wife Angie and his children. Rest easy, my dear friend…."
He was the gentlest of giants-A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile & a loyal friend who I loved dearly-I'm grateful for the memories we shared & I'm a better man for just having known him. Thanks Pete #RIPPeterMayhew #Heartbroken @TheWookieeRoars pic.twitter.com/8xbq9HEWF2— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 2, 2019
RIP Peter Mayhew. To create a beloved character with warmth and humor is a testament to any actor’s spirit. To do it under a half ton of yak hair takes a true legend. ❤️❤️— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) May 3, 2019
Several actors from the Star Wars films have passed away over the years, but 2016 was one of the rougher years for Star Wars fans. In August 2016, R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker passed away at the age of 81. Baker worked as a consultant on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but after his death, Jimmy Vee was cast as R2-D2 for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. At the end of 2016, the Star Wars community was struck with grief once again with news that Carrie Fisher had passed away at the age of 60. Fisher returned for the first two movies of the sequel trilogy, but due to her untimely death, deleted footage from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi will be used to bring Leia back in The Rise of Skywalker.
Many fans around the world are no doubt mourning the loss of Mayhew since he has been a part of many moviegoers lives since his acting debut in the '70s. Needless to say, his death has impacted his coworkers lives just as much since actors like Hamill, Ford, and Williams knew him personally for decades. Tributes are likely to continue pouring out for weeks to come, but Mayhew's Star Wars legacy as Chewbacca will never be forgotten.
Source: Various (see above)
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019