Chewbacca Almost Missed The Kessel Run After Barely Being In Original Star Wars Script

George Lucas, the visionary behind Star Wars, originally envisioned a significantly different storyline in the 1970s. The narrative initially centered around Annikin Starkiller and a frog-like Han Solo but eventually shifted to the now-familiar tale of Luke Skywalker and his diverse group of allies. This change marked the beginning of an evolving script process that would see major characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader morph into their final forms in subsequent drafts.

Chewbacca Star Wars

Interestingly, some key characters were nearly absent from the early scripts, as per Slash Film. Chewbacca, the beloved Wookiee portrayed by the late Peter Mayhew, was initially set to appear in only three to four pages of the Star Wars screenplay. Despite this scant presence, Chewbacca emerged as a gentle giant rather than the fierce creature Lucas first imagined. Inspired by Lucas’ own dog, Indiana, Chewbacca’s design and demeanour were conceived to mirror that of a loyal, albeit formidable, pet.

The transformation from a minimal role in the screenplay to a central figure in the Star Wars universe underscores the unique narrative method known as ‘mime casting’ used by Lucas.

“We call it mime casting because it’s really about people controlling their bodies. You’re not really looking for the voice — you put that in later; it’s a little like dubbing a French movie. You’re looking for the stature and the way they move. Darth Vader had to strut. 3PO had to be malleable, because the suit constricted his movements. And Chewie needed to lumber, which Peter did perfectly. He wasn’t quite tall enough — he was 7-foot-3, and I wanted 7-foot-5 — but we put high-heeled shoes on him. He even learned to do the Wookiee roar, but we took it out and used real animal sounds to give it authenticity.”


Despite his crucial role, Chewbacca’s contributions are occasionally overshadowed within the Star Wars narrative, notably in the infamous medal scene from A New Hope, where he is not awarded a medal alongside Han and Luke. This scene sparked discussions among fans and was later addressed by Lucas,

“Chewbacca wasn’t given a medal because medals don’t really mean much to Wookiees. They don’t really put too much credence in them. They have different kinds of ceremonies.”

Chewbacca’s journey from a nearly omitted character to one of the saga’s most enduring figures highlights the adaptive nature of storytelling in Star Wars. His evolution from Lucas’ initial vision to a hero celebrated by fans worldwide demonstrates the franchise’s capacity to develop rich, beloved characters that resonate well beyond their on-screen time. Chewbacca not only survives the narrative up to The Rise of Skywalker but also lives on in the hearts of the Star Wars community, illustrating the enduring appeal of well-crafted, relatable characters in this expansive universe.