Star Wars fandom was shocked today with the announcement of the tragic passing of Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew, who played the lovable Wookiee in five different films in the saga. Mayhew's warmth resonated on the screen as Chewbacca, despite being covered in in pounds of fur. And it was his relationship with Han Solo that many Star Wars fans latched on to.
Han Solo actor Harrison Ford issued a statement to ComicBook.com in response to the passing of Mayhew, expressing his sorrow with kind words to his on-screen counterpart. Read his statement in full below:
"Peter Mayhew was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character. These aspects of his own personality, plus his wit and grace, he brought to Chewbacca. We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years and I loved him. He invested his soul in the character and brought great pleasure to the Star Wars audience."
Ford added, "Chewbacca was an important part of the success of the films we made together. He knew how important the fans of the franchise were to it’s continued success and he was devoted to them. I and millions of others will never forget Peter and what he gave us all. My thoughts are with his dear wife Angie and his children. Rest easy, my dear friend..."
Mayhew's passing was announced so close to the annual Star Wars holiday May the 4th, and this year's event might prove to be bittersweet among some fans.
Mayhew and Ford last appeared on screen together in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, reviving their roles more than three decades after Return of the Jedi. That film was a swan song for both actors, as Ford's character was written out of the saga while Mayhew passed the mantle on to new actor Joonas Suotamo.
Mayhew is survived by his wife Angie and his three children.
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