If you’re at all familiar with Lucasfilm’s beloved Star Wars saga, you’ll know that, aside from his tendency to rip people’s arms off, Chewbacca is all bark and no bite. Frankly, he’s a big softie, and we love him all the more for it.
Back when he was first introduced, though, viewers were initially confused as to why the galaxy’s greatest Wookiee didn’t receive a medal towards the end of A New Hope, when Princess Leia awarded Han and Luke for the efforts in the Rebellion, and ultimately destroying Death Star 1.0.
Chewie got the snub, then, but it turns out George Lucas already explained his decision to omit the Wookiee back when Star Wars: A New Hope premiered in ’77. Via Screen Rant, we now have that explanation in full, just in case there were any lingering questions.
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. The Wookiee Chewbacca was in fact given a great prize and honor during a ceremony with his own people. The whole contingent from the Rebel Alliance went to Chewbacca’s people and participated in a very large celebration. It was an honor for the entire Wookiee race.
Original Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew also chimed in on the snub, stating that it was more of a practical issue than anything else, as A New Hope was made on a shoestring budget without much money to spare.
One, they didn’t have enough money to buy me a medal. Or two, Carrie couldn’t reach my neck, and it was probably too expensive to build a little step so that I could step down or she could step up and give me the medal.
Mayhew was later replaced by Finnish actor Joonas Suotamo, who played the lovable Wookiee during parts of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, before assuming full control of the iconic role in time for Solo: A Star Wars Story. It’s a responsibility he’ll carry over into 2019, too, what with Episode IX beginning to loom over the horizon.