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Peter Mayhew, who portrayed Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy, has passed away at the age of 74. According to a statement released by his family, he died at his home in Texas with his family at his side on 30th April.
Mayhew was born in London, and was selected for the role of Chewbacca purely for his height (7ft 2in). While casting for Star Wars George Lucas has initially earmarked David Prowse to portray Chewbacca but Prowse opted to play Darth Vader instead, leaving the wookiee suit open. He would portray Han Solo's co-pilot in the original trilogy, and returned for Revenge of the Sith. In 2015's The Force Awakens he shared the role with Joonas Suotamo, for subsequent films he remained in a consultant role.
A fan favourite at conventions, Mayhew was often described as a gentle giant, and his family said that "the Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in a film". He was also much-loved by his fellow cast members, and tributes have been flooding in.
A private memorial service for friends and family will be held in June, with a memorial service for fans planned for December.
Rest in peace, Peter Mayhew, 1944 - 2019.
The upcoming Han Solo spin-off film will be an origin story not just for Han Solo, but also for the friendship between the smuggler and his wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca, Bob Iger has confirmed.
The reveal came from the Disney CEO during a conference about the studio's future Star Wars plans, according to The Wrap. It is difficult to imagine a Han Solo tale without Chewbacca, but the confirmation that Chewbacca will be part of the story is something that will no doubt please fans.
The as yet untitled Han Solo film will be directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord and is currently expected to be released on 25 May 2018, but no announcement of who will play the young Han Solo has been made.
Peter Mayhew has canceled an appearance at a convention due to take place during filming for Star Wars Episode VII.The veteran Star Wars actor who has played everybody's favorite wookiee Chewbacca in four Star Wars movies was due to appear at Texas' Comicpalooza in May, but a tweet sent out by the organisers announced his cancelation as being "due to filming".
It was previously thought that Mayhew might miss the latest instalment of the Star Wars saga after he underwent double knee replacement surgery last year to combat his poor mobility caused by the same medical condition that gave him his towering stature.
A casting call went out at around the same time as Mayhew's operation asking for a 7ft 3in actor, the same height as Chewbacca, leading to speculation that the character was to be recast as a result of his mobility problems.
Of course, this is not an official confirmation of Peter Mayhew's involvement in the new film, but we hope to hear more news soon as the start of shooting draws ever closer.
Edit: A source close to The Hollywood Reporter has since leaked Mayhew's return to Star Wars; reprising his role as Chewbacca.
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