Earlier this year, Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew passed away from a heart attack, leaving a massive hole in the Star Wars community. The towering actor brought the iconic Wookiee to life in the original trilogy of films and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and attended conventions around the world, sharing his warmth with fans for decades. Chewbacca was the strong but not-so-silent type, regularly correcting his best friend Han Solo when he felt like his co-pilot was about to make a mistake. During a recent appearance on The Tonight Show, co-star Harrison Ford shared some touching words to his longtime co-star.
"He was a really sweet man," a visibly emotional Ford shared with the host when discussing Mayhew. "Nice man. And he had a hard time, physically. It was really hard for him to do what he did for us, what he did for all of us, and he did it with a real dignity and class. He was a really neat guy. I miss him."
When Jimmy Fallon mentioned that the show is normally more playful and that he appreciated Ford speaking candidly, Ford joked, "Get on with it."
Upon news of Mayhew's passing, Ford released the following statement:
"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 its 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..."
With their friendship having spanned nearly four decades, it's clear that their on-screen friendship was only a hint of their relationship behind the scenes. Joonas Suotamo debuted as Chewbacca in The Force Awakens for the more action-heavy sequences, fully taking on the role for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
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