Chewbacca Actor Peter Mayhew Returns For Star Wars Episode VII

Chewbacca Actor Peter Mayhew Returns For Star Wars Episode VII

Towering actor Peter Mayhew will reportedly don the Wookie fur once more as he joins the cast of Star Wars Episode VII.

The list of original Star Wars cast members joining the first film of the Disney era has grown by another thanks to the addition of Peter Mayhew, the English actor who portrayed the gigantic Wookie Chewbacca in the original trilogy (and very briefly in Revenge of the Sith). Mayhew's role was first rumored after he canceled a May appearance at the Texas Comicpalooza "due to filming," and now sources have told The Hollywood Reporter that he will in fact appear in the film.

This of course leads to a couple of obvious questions, the first being, "Why?" Disney can't toss new actors into the roles of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia or Han Solo, but with all due respect to Mayhew, his portrayal of Chewbacca was essentially anonymous. Anyone of sufficient height could pull it off, especially with all the technology available to moviemakers these days. His health is also a consideration and a limitation, as he had both knees replaced in 2013 and walks with a cane.

It's hard to see his casting as anything but nostalgia-driven fan service, which is fine with me; after all, if you're getting the band back together for one last gig, you might as well go all the way. It's also very likely that his role will be a small one: a wave, a roar, maybe pull somebody's arms out of their sockets, and then wrap it up. Hardly necessary, in other words, but I'm still looking forward to it.

Star Wars Episode VII is slated to hit the screen on December 18, 2015.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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Andy Chalk:
It's hard to see his casting as anything but nostalgia-driven fan service

Could it not also just be to honour the actor? If he's capable of fulfilling the capacity of the role despite his ailing health then it may be considered unnecessary to cast someone else especially given that other actors are reprising their roles.

Kurai Angelo:
Could it not also just be to honour the actor? If he's capable of fulfilling the capacity of the role despite his ailing health then it may be considered unnecessary to cast someone else especially given that other actors are reprising their roles.

Two sides of the same coin, really, but I'm sure that was a consideration too: Everyone else is being asked back so he deserves a shot too. I'm not all that terribly excited about the old team coming back, to be honest, but if that's how it's going to be, it speaks well of Disney to be opening the door for everyone and not just the Big Three.

Kurai Angelo:

Andy Chalk:
It's hard to see his casting as anything but nostalgia-driven fan service

Could it not also just be to honour the actor? If he's capable of fulfilling the capacity of the role despite his ailing health then it may be considered unnecessary to cast someone else especially given that other actors are reprising their roles.

Yeah, Even chewbacca must age in the end. Though, I dunno if wookies age in the same manner or speed as humans. Might have to check that up on wookiepedia.

NLS:

Kurai Angelo:

Andy Chalk:
It's hard to see his casting as anything but nostalgia-driven fan service

Could it not also just be to honour the actor? If he's capable of fulfilling the capacity of the role despite his ailing health then it may be considered unnecessary to cast someone else especially given that other actors are reprising their roles.

Yeah, Even chewbacca must age in the end. Though, I dunno if wookies age in the same manner or speed as humans. Might have to check that up on wookiepedia.

Wookiees can live for hundreds of years, the average lifespan is listed as 400 years. Chewbacca himself is 200 years old at the time of a new hope.

Also I can see why they would want Peter back and not replace him, a lot of the body language such as the subtle head movements and the like that Chewy uses were largely his doing.

because JJ is a huge Star War geek that's why.

wouldn't surprise me if he was trying shoot the new trilogy using original trilogy film stock and/or filters so it even looks the same.

maybe he dies of old age or something during the film elder wookie leader or something. han and etc say good bye, less they going to cgi him for moving around in which case umm why bother.

Andy Chalk:
Chewbacca Actor Peter Mayhew Returns For Star Wars Episode VII

his portrayal of Chewbacca was essentially anonymous. Anyone of sufficient height could pull it off, especially with all the technology available to moviemakers these days.

Permalink

To suggest that anyone can portray the subtleties and nuances of Chewbacca is nothing short of slander!

Well obviously they've got to have Chewbacca back, he was the main character of Star Wars after all!

I wonder just how many of the original cast they will end up bringing back or if they will stick with the main multi-appearance characters. Warrick Davis is still acting and would probably love to Ewok around the Clock again.

Didn't Chewie get hit by an exploding moon or something in the Expanded Universe? I know this movie is ignoring all that, but unless I'm wrong, this pretty much wipes out any possibility of it being acknowledged in the slightest.

Mahorfeus:
Didn't Chewie get hit by an exploding moon or something in the Expanded Universe? I know this movie is ignoring all that, but unless I'm wrong, this pretty much wipes out any possibility of it being acknowledged in the slightest.

Yup.

This pretty much guarantees that Eps 7-9 will have little to nothing to do with the Extended Universe. Which is....sad. :/

Is anyone else getting sick of the constant coverage of this film's production? I know it's a big deal, but it seems like there's news about it every week and frankly I'm worried that by the time the movie comes out we'll all know 2/3 of the plot. Already I know it'll feature the original cast 30 years later, take place at least partially on Tatooine, and have Chewbacca, and they're just barely into production. Let's just give Abrams some space and wait until there's at least a goddamn teaser trailer to start speculating about it.

CriticKitten:

Mahorfeus:
Didn't Chewie get hit by an exploding moon or something in the Expanded Universe? I know this movie is ignoring all that, but unless I'm wrong, this pretty much wipes out any possibility of it being acknowledged in the slightest.

Yup.

This pretty much guarantees that Eps 7-9 will have little to nothing to do with the Extended Universe. Which is....sad. :/

That seems like an enormous jump to make. Even ignoring the fact that he could just be appearing in flashbacks/dreams/memories/recordings, and that his appearance could just be to explain what happened to Chewy for less versed audiences, or the fact that one would only need to alter the events of his death by 5 years to allow him to appear in the film alive, rewriting the back-story of one character doesn't automatically mean the ENTIRE extended universe is being completely ignored.

CriticKitten:

This pretty much guarantees that Eps 7-9 will have little to nothing to do with the Extended Universe. Which is....sad. :/

Having never delved into the extended universe, I take some level of joy (perverse, I'll admit) in seeing fifty years worth of canon get tossed into the fan-fiction pit.

Elberik:

CriticKitten:

This pretty much guarantees that Eps 7-9 will have little to nothing to do with the Extended Universe. Which is....sad. :/

Having never delved into the extended universe, I take some level of joy (perverse, I'll admit) in seeing fifty years worth of canon get tossed into the fan-fiction pit.

Was any of the Expanded Universe officially recognized by Lucas? I know he generally held a vice like grip on the series. If that Extended Universe stuff wasn't officially recognized, it wasn't part of the canon to begin with.

Mahorfeus:
Didn't Chewie get hit by an exploding moon or something in the Expanded Universe? I know this movie is ignoring all that, but unless I'm wrong, this pretty much wipes out any possibility of it being acknowledged in the slightest.

the guy that wrote that has been known to be chased around conventions by raging neck beards screaming "you bastard ! you killed Chewie !"...so its probably fair to say its not accepted by at least some fans already...

Good. Honestly, if I found out that they were bringing Mark, Harrison, and Carrie all back but NOT Peter, but his character would still be in the movie, I would be very disappointed. Talk about a slap in the face to the poor guy. "Yeah, sorry, since no one can see your face, we can actually replace you, unlike everyone else." I will choose to take this as a sign of Disney and the others doing the right thing.

Now all I need is Billy and I'm set. Of course, after The Lego Movie, I think it's safe to say he's on board...

Saltyk:

Was any of the Expanded Universe officially recognized by Lucas? I know he generally held a vice like grip on the series. If that Extended Universe stuff wasn't officially recognized, it wasn't part of the canon to begin with.

Lucas had to be personally consulted when the writers in the SW:EU decided to shake things up a bit by killing one of the original star characters--they knew that readers knew the original characters would never die and that that negated suspence. Chewbacca was the one who was {I think by vote} given the ax.

However, despite Lucas being conferred with over such things he has held firm since the Original Trilogy (and for the record I'm old enough to have seen "Star Wars" when it was first released in the theaters and that was before it was renamed Part IV: A New Hope) that the movies and only the movies are "Official Canon".

This is a good thing when you pause to remember differences between the classic movies and their novelizations.

For instance, folks...you DO remember that in the novelization of Empire Strikes Back that---Yoda is BLUE?!?[1]

So, yeah, the EU isn't official canon. Even if Lucas was consulted from time to time.

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Canon

"When it comes to absolute canon, the real story of Star Wars, you must turn to the films themselves-and only the films."

[1] When I re-read the book a few years ago I grinned at forgetting that little change. But, seriously, I hadn't read the book since the early to mid 1980's. Call it senility. ^_^

I still wish Mel Brooks would have actually made Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money. :P

Saltyk:

Elberik:

CriticKitten:

This pretty much guarantees that Eps 7-9 will have little to nothing to do with the Extended Universe. Which is....sad. :/

Having never delved into the extended universe, I take some level of joy (perverse, I'll admit) in seeing fifty years worth of canon get tossed into the fan-fiction pit.

Was any of the Expanded Universe officially recognized by Lucas? I know he generally held a vice like grip on the series. If that Extended Universe stuff wasn't officially recognized, it wasn't part of the canon to begin with.

There are tiers of canon. Movies & books occupy the #1 & #2 spots. Most of the expanded universe books were recognized as official canon by Lucas. Now with the new movies those books will be rendered non canon (little better than fan-fiction).

I look forward to watching Reddit users desperately trying to sort out the new timelines. This'll bring a whole new division between old-school fans & newcomers

Elberik:
Now with the new movies those books will be rendered non canon (little better than fan-fiction).

That's what they were to begin with. Published, paid-for, media tie-in fan fiction--some of it quite good. The real Star Wars story, however, ended with Return of the Jedi and started with The Phantom Menace.

--Morology!

I never read the books, and always took them for glorified fanfics.
Also doesn't C-3PO die in them?

Yea its already been said that Wookies are really long lived and Chew will out live most of the rest of the cast(unless they go with the moon hitting him story line and but I ain't explaining that).

Frankly it pleases me and its not like they ever made Chewbacca do back flips, he'll be fine and people under estimate how much an actor even in a suit brings to a film.

Olas:
That seems like an enormous jump to make. Even ignoring the fact that he could just be appearing in flashbacks/dreams/memories/recordings, and that his appearance could just be to explain what happened to Chewy for less versed audiences, or the fact that one would only need to alter the events of his death by 5 years to allow him to appear in the film alive, rewriting the back-story of one character doesn't automatically mean the ENTIRE extended universe is being completely ignored.

I think it's a safe bet to make. Lucas isn't writing the story himself but he is a consultant, and he's always disliked the EU. They've been trying to bring back the original cast and there's been zero confirmation about any new gen characters presented in the EU thus far. The alleged return of Darth Vader, and now Chewbacca, sorta seals it for me: they're almost assuredly not acknowledging the EU. You may consider it premature, but for me, this is really all the evidence we need to make that "leap".

Elberik:
Having never delved into the extended universe, I take some level of joy (perverse, I'll admit) in seeing fifty years worth of canon get tossed into the fan-fiction pit.

You shouldn't. A lot of the material in the EU is actually better than what we've got for the past several years under Lucas. There were bad things in the EU, too, absolutely. But some stuff in the EU was definitely better than the prequels, or Darth Maul magically surviving his fight with Obi-Wan because "robo-legs", that's for damn sure.

I, for one, would've loved the movie treatment to be given to the Thrawn storyline. That's one storyline that did not deserve to be tossed in the fan-fic pit. It's arguably one of the best storylines Star Wars has ever had, and many consider it the closest thing to a true successor that the original trilogy had (at least, prior to these movies being made).

So yeah. Revel in your joy at the EU being tossed if you wish, but you may come to regret it. I have my doubts that Abrams will be able to produce a storyline that's better, given what we've seen him produce in the last few years.

i think you may be surprised.

consider this:

they can't film the whole EU...BUT the general thread of what happens is obviously going to factored into the new films.

ie the old SW stars are going have kids in the upcoming films, chances are near all of them are going to be "force active" and some of them are going to go bad or flip around light/dark whatever in the coming movies.

and that's NOT actually a great departure from the EU canon....

likewise you can be pretty certain Luke will be rebuilding the Jedi order etc, etc and Leias force powers will be probably manifest somehow...

all this is OBVIOUS...indeed was obvious since the moment we found out the old SW stars were going to be in the films AND IT IS in line with EU canon...

hell, if the old SW stars weren't cast at all, which was entirely possible, THEN maybe you could say for sure they are throwing out all the EU stuff completely....BUT NOT NOW THEY ARE.

look, JJ is a huge lifelong SW geek...does anyone really think he's never read and enjoyed any aspect of the EU ?...that he's not going to "steal from the best" ? really ?

this ISN'T Michael Bay working with Transformers or TMNT where "it's just a gig" for the man...

for all the dismissive comment he's receiving from some quarters, JJ does actually have a deep personal interest and investment in the Star Wars franchise/universe.

he's "a SW fanboy"...as i've said before...and fanboys don't kill off Chewie....but the rest of the EU stuff ?...

i'd lay money down you'll wider see EU narrative threads heavily borrowed/loosely followed and nods and winks to the EU (and even possibly SW video games) all over the damn place...

 

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