Chewbacca, nicknamed Chewie, is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. In the series' narrative chronology, he appears in the films Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
The character's creation as a "gentle, hairy, non-English-speaking co-pilot" was inspired by George Lucas seeing his own Alaskan Malamute dog sitting up on the passenger seat of his car. The dog, Indiana, also inspired the name of the lead character in another series of Lucas' films, Indiana Jones.
Chewbacca, a Wookiee, became Han Solo's first mate and constant companion when Han, then an Imperial Captain, was ordered to kill him because Chewbacca was a slave for the Empire. Following his refusal to carry out this order, Han was decommissioned from the Imperial Navy, and later became a smuggler. Since he saved his life, Chewbacca owed a life debt to Han, meaning that he would serve Han for the rest of his life. Chewbacca was named one of the "greatest sidekicks" in film history by Entertainment Weekly.
In all five appearances, he was portrayed by Peter Mayhew, who was chosen for his height — 7'3" (2.2 m) at the time of filming. Five identical bulky costumes were made for the role. During the filming of the original three films and the holiday special, the suits were made of a combination of yak hair and mohair. For production of Revenge of the Sith, the suit was made of more modern and comfortable materials, though this additional comfort was mostly unnecessary because Mayhew's filming only lasted for a day. Although the only part of Mayhew that could be seen in the suit were his blue eyes, fans easily recognized him even in costume by his distinctive gestures, and his coworkers said they were able to tell when a stand-in was taking his place.
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Official Site: 20th Century Fox Films
Links: Chewbacca Wikipedia page Star Wars Wikipedia page Star Wars imdb page