Members of the Star Wars community are currently honoring the memory of Peter Mayhew, following the news that he passed away from a heart attack earlier this week. And it looks like Star Wars: The Last Jedi director has a particularly heart-wrenching tribute to the dearly-departed Chewbacca actor.
Johnson took to Twitter Thursday night to honor Mayhew, proclaiming that it "takes a true legend" to create "a beloved character with warmth and humor". You can check out the tweet below.
RIP Peter Mayhew. To create a beloved character with warmth and humor is a testament to any actor’s spirit. To do it under a half ton of yak hair takes a true legend. ❤️❤️— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) May 3, 2019
Mayhew actually retired from the iconic role following his reprisal in Star Wars: The Force Awakens due to health problems and limited mobility, with Joonas Suotamo portraying the character in The Last Jedi and subsequent films. But even then, Mayhew served as a "Wookiee consultant" for those later performances, and still remained a massive part of the Star Wars fandom.
"Peter Mayhew was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character." Han Solo actor Harrison Ford told ComicBook.com in a statement. "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."
"Chewbacca was an important part of the success of the films we made together." Ford added. "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..."
“He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca and it showed in ever frame of the films from his knock kneed running, firing his bowcaster from the hip, his bright blue eyes, down to each subtle movement of his head and mouth,” a statement released by Mayhew’s family reads in part. “But to him, the Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in a film. The relationships that began then grew into the friends and family that he would love for decades to come.”
Mayhew passed away from a heart attack on Tuesday, April 30th, in his home in North Texas. He is survived by his wife, Angle, and three children. Outside of his Star Wars role, Mayhew also founded the Peter Mayhew Foundation, which seeks to alleviate "disease, pain, suffering, and financial toll" brought on by harrowing events. Donations to the foundation can be made here.