Star Wars: Chewbacca Actor Reveals He Has Undergone Spinal Surgery

The original Star Wars made Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford recognizable superstars, with fans regularly spotting them for decades. Peter Mayhew, however, managed to escape the limelight as his role of Chewbacca completely disguised his true identity. The actor recently took to Twitter to alert his fans that he recently underwent back surgery, which will reportedly improve his mobility.

peter mayhew back surgery

The actor shared a photo of himself in the hospital while adding the caption, "Sorry, I’ve been quiet as of late. I’ve been planning & going through some spinal surgery to improve my mobility. It’s been a success & I’ll be spending the upcoming weeks recovering. A big thank you to the doctors, staff, my family & friends that have helped me through this."

Much like Hamill, Fisher, and Ford, Mayhew returned to the saga after years away for The Force Awakens. The 7'2" actor didn't portray Chewbacca in all of his scenes, as his limited mobility prevented him from carrying out the more action-packed sequences. Joonas Suotamo served as Mayhew's double in that film and in The Last Jedi before taking over the role completely for Solo: A Star Wars Story.

"We had a week's worth of Wookiee boot camp where we went over all of these movements," Suotamo shared with The Star Wars Show. "We went over how Chewbacca moves and what's his outlook on life and best childhood memories."

While Suotamo has officially taken over for Mayhew going forward, the time the two spent together ensures that Mayhew's influence will still be felt in the future.

"It was really helpful for me to learn from his perspective what it was and he was so good about it," Suotamo shared of the collaboration. "I never met a more gracious man to give me this gift."

Following the reveal that Suotamo was taking over the role, the actor shared an emotional post about Mayhew's impact on the performer.

"Chewbacca is one of the most iconic characters in the history of film," Suotamo wrote in an Instagram post, "and Peter's development and portrayal of this beloved Wookiee has spread so much joy across the globe. Peter's guidance and kindness have been invaluable gifts which warmed my spirit and prepared me for this journey. I aspire to make Peter proud and bring Star Wars fans the Chewie they know and love."

We wish Mayhew a swift and safe recovery from his surgery.

Chewbacca will next be seen in Episode IX, hitting theaters on December 20, 2019.


Would you like to see Mayhew reprise his role somehow? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!

[H/T Twitter, TheWookieeRoars]