Peter Mayhew may be gone, but the friendly giant will never be forgotten. At the grand opening of the much-anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland last night, many of the franchise’s biggest stars were in attendance. George Lucas, Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williams all came out to try to start up the Millennium Falcon to no avail.
It wasn’t until Harrison Ford took the stage that things were finally able to get going. As he kicked the intergalactic battleship into gear, the 76-year-old superstar made sure to give another special tribute to his close friend: the late Peter Mayhew.
“Peter, this one’s for you,” Ford shouted during the celebration, referring to the iconic Chewbacca actor who passed away a month ago. Even on a night of new beginnings for the legendary series, the stars were still reflecting on the death of one of the originals who made Star Wars what it is today.
Though Mayhew handed off the character to Joonas Suotamo in 2017, he was still very active in the latter films’ production. The impact his demise had on all of his costars, including Ford, was quite evident in the days after the news broke. Dedicating the grand opening of the park to him felt quite fitting for a man who had spent decades onscreen under so much wooly fur.
The heartfelt moment was quite touching, too, as the elderly VIPs ushered in a new era for the universe they helped create. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland will open to the public on May 31st, while fans in Florida will have to wait until August 29th to enter their version of the theme park. There’s expected to be quite a bit to do inside as well, including a secret lightsaber shop that’s already generating quite a buzz amongst Star Wars enthusiasts.
While it’s sad that Mayhew and Carrie Fisher will never get to see the attractions in person, it’s also comforting to know that fans and colleagues will never forget their special place in the Star Wars universe.