Jobu and I had the honor of spending some time with Peter Mayhew today at the New York Comic Book Marketplace and I have to admit it was just the thing I needed to wash away some of the bitterness I’ve been feeling lately about all things Star Wars. The first thing you notice about the man who is Chewbacca is just how incredibly big he is. Look at that hand. It’s easily the size of my head. And I have a LARGE head! The second thing you notice is that he has Chewbacca’s eyes. The reason for that of course is because in actuality, Chewbacca has HIS eyes. I always think it’s funny to meet the faces behind the masks in Star Wars because really – no offense intended but does it really matter WHO played the Stormtrooper that was Jedi mind tricked by Obi Wan outside the Cantina? I mean sure it matters to HIM, but at the end of the day it’s not even his voice in the movie so who really cares? For that matter; how do you really know? Maybe he just SAYS that he was a Stormtrooper . . . Hmmm. Such is not the case with Mr. Mayhew. When he speaks in his surprisingly soft British accent, those huge hands move in the air accentuating his words and his head moves in a way that is all too familiar to anyone who has spent as much time in front of the Star Wars films as we have. The lack of a mask makes no difference, he IS Chewbacca. He is also a really great guy and was cool enough to spend a few minutes chatting about his upcoming appearance on The Clone Wars cartoon. Without giving away any details he assured me that the meeting between Chewbacca and Ashoka (Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan) is handled very well and not forced at all. (Forced – Ha! – get it – see what I did there? Forced! Ha!) His wife Angie (who was also absolutely awesome to us Star Wars Geeks) was very excited about the episode as well and impressed with the way Chewbacca comes across on the animated Cartoon Network Series. We chatted for a moment or so about the fact that Chewbacca and Yoda have some history as well (See Revenge of the Sith) and she suggested that it would be fun to see an episode with Yoda and Chewie’s relationship explored. Peter laughed and said it would be fun to see what the “car ride” to Yoda’s escape shuttle must of been like. Sort of like Chewie taking the Jedi Master to the airport. I had never really thought about it like that before and while I am on the record as hating the fact that the Star Wars Universe often feels like it’s 12 blocks long I have to admit that if it meant more of Peter Mayhew playing Chewbacca in ANY way shape or form, I’d be happy to start the petition to get that episode made! Peter and Angie have written two books, Growing up Giant and My Favorite Giant. They are available from Wandering Sage Publications and are worthwhile additions to the library of any Star Wars Fan.
Thank you Peter and Angie Mayhew for a really great day!