Chewbacca, a 200-year-old Wookiee, becomes a young Han Solo's companion after they both escape Imperial captivity on Minban. After a series of adventures on Vandor and Kessel, Chewbacca embarks on the smuggling trade, serving as Han's co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon for the rest of Han's life.
Standing at eight feet tall, Chewbacca is covered with long hair and wears only a bandolier. His weapon of choice is the Wookiee bowcaster (a crossbow-shaped directed-energy weapon).
Chewbacca was named one of the "greatest sidekicks" in film history by Entertainment Weekly.
Chewbacca's creation as a "gentle, hairy, non-English speaking co pilot" was inspired by George Lucas seeing his own dog sitting up on the passenger seat of his car. It is said that Chewbacca's name is derived from собака (sobaka), the Russian word for dog.
In his first six screen appearances, Chewbacca was played by Peter Mayhew, who was chosen for his height of 7'3" (2.2 m). Five identical costumes were made for Mayhew: in the three original films and a holiday special, the suits were made of yak hair and mohair. In Revenge of the Sith, the suit was made of more comfortable materials, though Mayhew's filming only lasted a day. Only Mayhew's blue eyes could be seen in his costume, but fans easily recognize him by his gestures, and his co-workers claimed the ability to tell when a stand-in was taking his place. For The Force Awakens, the role was also shared by Joonas Suotamo, who subsequently portrayed the character in later screen appearances after Mayhew's retirement.
Chewbacca's voice was created by the original films' sound designer, Ben Burtt, from recordings of walruses, lions, camels, bears, rabbits, tigers, and badgers in Burtt's personal menagerie. The individual recordings were mixed at different ratios for Chewbacca's different utterances. One of the most prominent elements in the voice was a black bear named Tarik, from Happy Hollow Zoo in San Jose, California.
The original costume was created by Stuart Freeborn and his wife Kay Freeborn, who hand knitted the torso section. During preproduction of The Force Awakens, Creature Effects Supervisor Neal Scanlan commented that the original suit was far more sophisticated than they had originally realized, leading him to entirely scrap their first attempt at making the new suit, go back and study Freeborn's work in order to better appreciate how it worked, and attempt to emulate it.

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