— Star Wars (@starwars) May 25, 2016
Star Wars: The Force Awakens was one of the most anticipated movie in years prior to its December 2015 release, and has since broken all sorts of records as it became the third highest-grossing film of all time, with almost $2.1 billion at the worldwide box office. Cue an onslaught of tie-ins, merchandise, and general celebration and the Star Wars film universe is one more looking very promising indeed.
With the hype machine that followed, fans also saw an enormous amount of Internet memes, fan videos, and tributes; but most recently it's been the woman dubbed 'Chewbacca Mom' that's been hitting the headlines. It began last weekend when a US mom Candace Payne filmed herself on Facebook Live after buying a Chewbacca mask that made wookie sounds. Her hilarious video went viral in no time, with 50 million views in the first 24 hours, it set a new Facebook Live record, and now stands at 146 million views and counting.
Since then, Payne has shot to fame and was even invited onto The Late Late Show with James Corden for an interview, a personal message from the real Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and even got to meet The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams as they sat in her car in the style of Corden's famous Carpool Karaoke segment. But it seems she's also gained another rather high-profile admirer for her amusing video that has been seen by tens of millions of people.
The official Star Wars Twitter feed shared a short video of their own that begins with a close-up of an iPad playing the video where a masked Candace is in hysterics due to the Chewy noises it's making. As the camera zooms out, the person (or should that be wookie?) watching the video is revealed to be Chewbacca himself on the set of Star Wars: Episode VIII. Chewbacca even has a little giggle himself before Episode VIII director Rian Johnson walks by to say, "I've seen it, I've seen it, it's great, it's great. How many times have you watched that thing?"
There's no question that Disney has made a smart decision to capitalize on the huge viral nature of the 'Chewbacca Mom' video, but it's not as if the production needs any more exposure or a boost to get people interested. That said, it's funny to see the social media bods at Disney and Lucasfilm making the most of one of the biggest, most-watched Star Wars clips currently in circulation -- and one that's not even an official release by the studio itself. So not only has the world gone crazy for 'Chewbacca Mom,' Corden has used his huge platform of show in the US to focus on it, and the actual film itself has acknowledged it -- which is pretty cool.
Whether the marketing for Star Wars: Episode VIII plans to go down the meta route is anyone's guess. It probably won't, but for now it's definitely an awesome 15-minutes of fame that Payne certainly won't forget in a hurry.
If you haven’t watched the original video yet, you can do so here. In the meantime, filming continues for Star Wars: Episode VIII, (featuring Chewbacca) which will arrive in theaters in December, 2017.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.