Everyone is aware of how Peter Mayhew nailed the role as the iconic chew bakka. Simply put, he played a caring giant with a cruel personality at times as well. Not only did he play this role perfectly, but also for a long span of 4 decades. However, despite his popularity, how did he get there in the first place? Today, we are going to answer that in-depth in this article. Keep on reading to find everything related to the iconic actor of Chewbacca.
His Early Beginnings as Chew Bakka
Firstly, we would like to point out that this London citizen was diagnosed with gigantism. This condition can cause uncontrollable growth as well as other body and age factors. Mayhew also was diagnosed with a genetic order related to the tissues. Despite this Marfan syndrome and everything, he surely nailed being Chew bakka.
After pursuing his early education, he began working as a full-time engineer. However, he preferred working more in the hospital college instead of as an engineer. It was that one day he was spotted by the filmmakers just by a chance. After this photograph of him went viral, it was sure that something big was coming for him. This was something that led Mayhew to play the role of Minoton. Since the role suited him so well, the 1977 Sindbad film was an absolute origin hit for his career.
While this was all good, he was even more perfect for the role of someone George Lucas was looking for. The role was for Chew bakka, and he had everything perfect from height, sound, and everything. In the start, Lucas approached Dave Prowse but instead gave him the role of Vader instead.
A Perfect Role to Consider
According to him, Mayhew was perfect for the role to be a lovable sidekick to the iconic Han Solo. Harrison also favored his role and since began the first connection of him with him as the pilot of Millenium Falcon. He was a great friend with Mayhew whether on or off-screen and hence both nailed their roles perfectly.
Once he was in, he began researching everything possible to put more life into his character. Most of his studies were related to bears and gorillas and particularly similar animals. The main focus was of course to have a beast and human side altogether for his character. Not only did it allow him to understand the character, but also bring him on the big screen perfectly.
In various interviews, he always referred to his role of Chew bakka as simply a role of “Teddy Bear”. Basically, Chewie is not just an animal, his loving and caring side does make him more of a teddy bear in some way for sure. However, the role was not easy, since the only way of expression for Mayhew was his eyes.
Chew Bakka star wars career :
The rest of his body and face totally covered under the furry chew bakka costume. His star wars career began with Harrison Ford with “A New Hope”. His relief came when Lucas told him that he’ll playing a mime character. For sure making loud sounds under the mask was a problem and that’s where Lucas used editing. Even doing that, took a lot of time and was surely not an easy task to do.
For the start, his iconic growl was made by one of the sound designers Lucas had abroad. Ben Burtt created this sound by mixing up sounds of various animals including bears as well as badgers and many more animals. The converted sounds were composed of a lot of emotions; as well as reactions and hence came the perfect chew bakka sound. He played the role for about the entire trilogy and his role admired by everyone.
A Vast Expansion in the Industry
Aside from this chew bakka role, he also got many other roles like The Muppet Show as well as in many ads. Once Star Wars was quiet, he also moved far away to Yorkshire to have some quiet time for himself. However, in 1977, he called again for a special edition of the films upon the fans’ interest.
Not only did he travel the world after this to meet fans; but also got married in 1999. Furthermore, he moved to Texas and called again to chew bakka for one more time for the last prequel’s entry. His appearance in Revenge of the Sith was a minor one and he shot with Lucas himself. However, all went according to the plan and he nailed the role once again.
Afterward, in the year 2009, he got the MTV Award for lifetime achievement from his co-worker Carrie Fiser. However, this was not the end of his career since he played the role again in the Force Awakens. He surely enjoyed his role but was also facing mobility in his adult life.
A Long-Lasting Legacy
Even after such a medical procedure, he gave the same life and aura to Chew Bakka in the Force Awakens. However, this marked his end after he explained to Lucas and other people the problems he was facing. Not only in movement, but also in body flexibility. He could only do the facial expressions for chewi and the directors seemed to respect that.
Following that, he gave his role to Joonas Suotamo and shared it as his double for the movie. However, from now on it was Joonas who would go on to play this beloved Wookie in the upcoming Star Wars titles.
Last word on Chew Bakka:
After all this time, he still admired his role in Star Wars and even used a walking cane that shaped like a lightsaber. His spinal surgery also took place in 2018 to help with his movement. Not only that, but he also set up charitable foundations devoted to helping those with medical and healthcare needs. This not only caused his personality to grow even more but also much wider. He authorized Growing up Giant and My Favorite Giant books and achieved a legacy like no other. Despite the ups and downs, it became clear that his iconic presence will remembered for years to come.