When George Lucas was developing Revenge Of The Jedi, at least two aspects of the film were changed. The first was the name of the movie, since revenge isn’t a Jedi concept. The other was that the Rebels were supposed to be on Kashyyyk, fighting alongside the Wookiees (not Ewoks) to fight the Empire. As the stories goes, George Lucas had always wanted a primitive species to help overthrow the Empire. Chewbacca was presented as far too technologically advanced to pass off the rest of his species as primitive. So, Lucas scrapped the idea of Wookiees and created Ewoks instead.
Of course, thanks to the Expanded Universe, both Legends and Canon, the world Of Chewbacca’s homeland and the species have been greatly expounded upon. Fans finally got to see their homeworld of Kashyyyk up close and personal during Revenge Of The Sith as the Wookiees and Yoda try and stave off the Separatists. In Solo, not only do we see how Han and Chewie met, but also the beginning of the Wookiee enslavement on Kessel. We know a lot more about Wookiees than we did during the original trilogy. Here are 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Wookiees.
10 Influenced By Several Animals
To some, Chewbacca and all Wookiees are just “walking carpets.” Behind the scenes on the first Star Wars, Chewie, and by extension, all Wookiees were far more than just that. The designers of Chewie patterned him after several animals. But the guy who did the most research was the guy in the suit.
The late Peter Mayhew who had played Chewie in every film up until Episode VIII and Solo had researched all kinds of apes and various other creatures. People on set would be able to tell who was in the suit because that’s how good Mayhew was. He is credited as “Chewbacca Consultant” for those last two films.
9 Three Different Languages
Do you speak American English or the Queen’s English? Mandarin or Cantonese? Spanish from Spain or Mexico? Which dialect of Wookiee do you speak?
Much like anywhere in our world where there are varying dialects of the same language, Wookiees have three different dialects that they can communicate with: Thykarann, Xaczik, and Shyriiwook, which is the most widely understood language of Wookiees. It’s the language Chewie speaks. All three languages are indiscernible series of grunts and growls, unless you have basic understanding of it.
8 Wookiee Jedi
There are several Wookiees throughout the history of Star Wars who were not only Force-sensitive, but they trained to be full-fledged Jedi as well. One of these Wookiees was Gungi, who made a few appearances on The Clone Wars cartoon, one of them was “The Gathering.”
In this episode, Gungi meditates until he can get to the Kyber Crystal calling out to him. He is praised for his incredible patience. Gungi’s lightsaber pommel is also one of the coolest handles a Jedi has - made of wood from Kashyyyk that is hard as metal.
7 “The Golden Rule”
Chewbacca is loyal to Han thanks the Wookiee Life Debt that happened when Han saved Chewie’s life. But most Wookiees are pretty chill fuzz balls. You just have to treat them right.
Wookiees are fiercely loyal, Life Debt or not. In the novel, Lost Stars, a Wookiee captain named Logharra would groom her human co-pilot to show her affections for him.
6 The City Of Trees
While they are very adept using technology advanced, the Wookiees don’t live in concrete buildings. Kashyyyk is full of cities made up of the planet’s trees.
Besides the cities, most of the materials, such as vehicles, are made out of wood; no wonder there’s over 150 words for wood! Some of their wood is water-resistant and some stronger than metal. One city, Kachirho spirals around a tree that’s over 1000 feet tall.
5 THX-1138 Ad-Lib
If you haven’t seen George Lucas’ THX-1138, you owe it yourself to check out a dystopian sci-fi world vastly different than anything that’s ever been with Star Wars or American Graffiti.
The film also has the first utterance of the word “Wookiee.” While not part of the plot, during a sound montage, voice actor Terry McGovern said, “I think I just ran over a Wookiee,” which he said referencing his childhood friend, Ralph Wookiee.
4 They Don’t Get Along With Transdoshans
Wookiees might be friendly to most people and creatures throughout the galaxy, but they have been in perpetual conflict with the nearby race of Transdoshans.
It’s easy to see why most Transdoshans are like Bossk and are far more willing to fight than they are to not. Not to mention during the Clone Wars, they almost were the cause of the Wookiees’ enslavement.
3 Yoda’s An Honorary Wookiee
When Yoda heads to Kashyyyk with his clone battalion to help defend the planet from the Separatists, he’s not just assisting the Wookiees as a diplomat. He’s technically helping to defend his home world, since he’s an honorary Wookiee.
He even has a nickname - “Defender Of The Home Tree.” It’s a title he earned helping to keep the peace and negotiate between the Wookiees and aforementioned Transdoshans.
2 Chewie’s Family Back Home
Plenty of fans know about The Star Wars Holiday Special and the debut of Boba Fett. There was more to that now fabled special than just the first appearance of the bounty hunter. There is also a segment involving Chewbacca and his family back home. Han and Chewie are trying to get back to Kashyyyk to celebrate “Life Day.”
The Empire is chasing them, however. While the special is nowhere near canon, it does beg the question in the canon - how important is a Wookiee Life Debt compared to a Wookiee’s own family?
1 Not All Wookiees Are Friendly
Chewbacca is a big furry friend who gives big furry warm hugs to all of his friends. Therefore, all Wookiees must do the same thing. After all, a lot of different species in the Star Wars universe all act like their most notable member. But at least one member of the Wookiee race is not a nice fuzball at all.
Black Krrsantan disgraced his family and glad Kashyyyk. He’s been a bounty hunter ever since, working for the likes of Jabba alongside Boba Fett and the Empire. He’s even done battle with Chewbacca before, catching up him and Han on Vrogas Vas.