Peter Mayhew, the man behind the “walking carpet,” has passed.
Mayhew died at his home in North Texas on April 30, surrounded by family. He was 74.
Mayhew was known for bringing Chewbacca to life on screen in every Star Wars film from 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope to 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Moreover, Mayhew gave Chewie a soul, relaying the character’s emotions almost exclusively through body language—not many speak Wookie after all.
Of playing the role, Mayhew once said, “I think by that time I knew where Chewie was going, and he left me to do what was called for, because the character had been well established. You know, it was like putting on a second skin by that time.”
Fans have long adored Chewie, and so did Peter; he consulted with the creators of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series when the character made an appearance, and mentored his successor, Joonas Suotamo, upon retiring from the role.
“We are deeply saddened today by the news of Peter Mayhew’s passing,” said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “Since 1976, Peter’s iconic portrayal of the loyal, lovable Chewbacca has been absolutely integral to the character’s success, and to the Star Wars saga itself. When I first met Peter during The Force Awakens, I was immediately impressed by his kind and gentle nature. Peter was brilliantly able to express his personality through his skillful use of gesture, posture, and eyes. We all love Chewie, and have Peter to thank for that enduring memory.”