Geesh, the timing of this one really couldn’t be worse for Star Wars fans. Peter Mayhew, who made such an impact to generations without saying a word in his iconic role of Chewbacca, died Tuesday at 74. For Star Wars fans, that definitely puts a somber note on the annual May the Force (May 4) celebrations, which are always special in the year of a new movie coming to theaters.
Mayhew always seemed to appreciate being a part of one of the biggest franchises in movie history and was one of the few performers to take part in all three trilogies. Here’s some tributes from his co-stars and peers.
He was the gentlest of giants-A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile & a loyal friend who I loved dearly-I'm grateful for the memories we shared & I'm a better man for just having known him. Thanks Pete #RIPPeterMayhew #Heartbroken @TheWookieeRoars pic.twitter.com/8xbq9HEWF2
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 2, 2019
Harrison Ford, whose Han Solo was most closely connected with Mayhew’s Chewbacca issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter citing Mayhew as ‘a man of great dignity and noble character whose command of Chewbacca was instrumental to the franchise’s success’
— Billy Dee Williams (@realbdw) May 3, 2019
Star Wars creator George Lucas sent a statement to USA Today: The closest any human being could be to a Wookiee: big heart, gentle nature . . . and I learned to always let him win. He was a good friend and I’m saddened by his passing.
Joonas Suotamo, who worked alongside Mayhew in playing Chewbacca in The Force Awakens before assuming the role full time had a very nice message.
R.I.P 😔 pic.twitter.com/FWRgaOS0Tf
— Joonas Suotamo (@JoonasSuotamo) May 2, 2019
Suotamo has always been extremely gracious in discussing Mayhew’s warmth and grace in transitioning the role to his successor.
Mayhew was a regular on the con circuit in this area. Here’s a shot I got from Baltimore Comic Con 2014 when he was meeting with fans.
A sad day for millions of fans. https://t.co/qRfFWOd4ck
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) May 2, 2019
Sad to hear of Peter Mayhew's passing. So long, Chewie, may the force be with you.
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) May 2, 2019
💔I am so sorry to hear about Peter. We had so many fun and memorable tweets back and forth over the years plus seeing each other at a convention here and there. My deepest condolences to his family. He will be sorely missed! 😢 https://t.co/R3lAEvkQJc
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) May 2, 2019