Peter Mayhew will forever be remembered as Chewbacca, the ferocious yet lovable Wookie sidekick and co-pilot of The Millennium Falcon. Mayhew won the role by simply having what it took at seven foot three inches in height, and being in the right place at the right time. When Dave Prowse was offered the choice of two masked characters in George Lucas’s whacky space film, Prowse thought at least having the head villain on his CV would be something if the movie went nowhere. Prowse went on to be immortalised as Darth Vader, which meant someone would have to play the faithful Wookie.
The vacant role, and costume of Chewbacca were both filled by then hospital porter, Mayhew, who came to symbolise loyalty, dedication, and above all else, heart in the Star Wars saga. Playing Chewbacca in five films (Episodes III to VII), the holiday special, and Star Wars The Clone Wars via motion capture, Peter Mayhew was a fan favourite across multiple generations of fans.
Mayhew is survived by his wife, Angie, and three children. A private service will be held June 29, followed by a public memorial in early December at the Los Angeles Empire convention.