The Return of the Wookiee: Chewie's Back for the Season Finale of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars"
An immense, fur-covered warrior whose tremendous strength and ferocity are matched only by his loyalty and compassion, Chewbacca the Wookiee is one of the most universally beloved characters from the entire Star Wars Saga.
Recognized by fans around the world as the co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca was an instrumental player in the original Star Wars trilogy - and he will return to a galaxy far, far away in the thrilling, one-hour season finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Friday, April 1st at 8pm e/p on Cartoon Network.
It was actor Peter Mayhew who defined the character with his iconic performance in the live-action Star Wars films, and the Clone Wars crew felt his involvement in the series was integral in capturing Chewie's spirit. The 7'3" actor was brought to Skywalker Ranch to advise the team tasked with bringing the legendary character into the animated galaxy of The Clone Wars.
"[Supervising Director] Dave Filoni said my participation in creating Chewie for the series was essential," says Mayhew. "He told his artists to study the way I walk, my mannerisms and demeanor. He said, 'To understand Chewie, you need to understand Peter.' We also went into the Lucasfilm archives and studied some of the original Chewie costumes to make sure the details were carried over into the animation."
"Bringing Chewie to The Clone Wars is very special for us, and it wouldn't be right without Peter's involvement and blessing," says Filoni. "Peter and Chewie are one and the same; he brings so much of himself to the character and it was important for us to capture that. Otherwise, it just wouldn't feel right. Having his input was great; he was able to add all the little mannerisms and details that he knew from living with Chewie for more than three decades."
In addition to advising the team on Chewie's look and feel, Mayhew was also asked to contribute to the character in a whole new way: recreating his iconic growl.
"The Chewbacca sounds were sourced from the same bank as the original films, but Dave Filoni and Matt Wood thought it would be nice to get a small sample of my voice mixed in," says Mayhew. "This goes back to everyone at Lucasfilm feeling that they needed me to portray the character in every way possible. After so many years of being asked to do the growl for fans, I've found that I'm actually quite good at it. I'm absolutely thrilled to be part of the series. The animation is amazing, and they really captured the essence of Chewie. As soon as I saw it I said 'that's it. He's there. That's Chewbacca.'"
Chewbacca will make his Clone Wars debut in the one-hour Season Three finale, airing on Friday, April 1st at 8pm.e/p on Cartoon Network.