RIP Peter Mayhew

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Legendary star of Star Wars and the face behind the mask of Chewbacca, actor Peter Mayhew, has passed away aged 74.

Of his iconic role as Chewbacca, Mayhew once said: “(Star Wars) has been the best thing that ever happened to me. In the last 25 years, I’ve been able to travel all over the world, get paid for it. I never have to pay for a thing. I can go out in public without being recognised. If I want to be recognised in public, it will happen. Star Wars was great to me. I’m set for life.”

Though he spoke entirely in growls, snarls, and the occasional roar, Chewbacca’s unwavering loyalty to Han Solo made him one of the most beloved characters in the franchise. Much more than just the hairy co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, Chewie’s dependability and trustworthiness helped the iconic Wookiee function as the series’ ultimate “wing man.”

Mayhew went on to appear in “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Return of the Jedi,” “Revenge of the Sith,” “The Force Awakens” and “The Star Wars Holiday Special.” He was active on the Star Wars convention circuit and wrote two books, “Growing Up Giant” and “My Favorite Giant.”

Star Wars creator George Lucas had wanted a tall actor to play Chewbacca - but initially considered 6ft 6in (1.98m) tall David Prowse for the role.

However Prowse instead wanted to play Darth Vader so Lucas then turned to Mayhew, who at 7ft 2in (2.18m) was chosen purely for his height. His face was never seen in the all the Star Wars films he played in.

"He fought his way back from being wheelchair-bound to stand tall and portray Chewbacca once more in Star Wars: The Force Awakens," his family said.

May the Force be with you, Chewie.


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For the last 20 years Peter Mayhew and his family have lived in my area and yet I only just found out tonight.  If I had this information even a week ago I would have driven over to his house and taken a photo with a movie legend!  

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