Star Wars Saturday: The Importance of Chewbacca

Out of all the legacy characters from The Force Awakens, the only one getting a huge pull of merchandise at this time is Chewbacca. This isn't surprising, since he remains relatively unchanged since Return of the Jedi and has been shown in one of the teasers that has been released.

Lots of people love Chewbacca. It might be because outside of that scruffy exterior, he has a heart of gold (sound like another Star Wars scoundrel we know?). It might be because of his wicked awesome bowcaster. It might be because of his dialogue. (Everyone tries it, and almost everyone fails.)

I love him because he never felt like he was too big for any creature. He offered his services (and his friend Han's services too) to Obi-Wan Kenobi when they were looking for transport off Tatooine. He fixed the Millenium Falcon countless times. He rescued C-3PO from the Ugnaughts on Cloud City and chose to strap the droid on his back rather than leave him behind.

My favorite Chewbacca moment comes in Return of the Jedi. Chewbacca takes a little time to adjust to the tiny creatures called Ewoks, but eventually he develops quite a good report with them. Whether it was because of their Rebellion leanings or the fact that they looked like underdeveloped Wookies, Chewbacca becomes friends with them in a short amount of time.

It's no surprise that, while Han and Leia immediately set off for the bunker to get back inside and set the Rebellion's attack plan in motion, Chewie instead tramples off into the forest with the Ewoks to help them defend their planet. And while we don't see much of his action against the Imperial forces...

(...hold on...let me get the music ready....okay, click on this while you read the rest of the article!)

...we do see a very important sequence take place. Chewie, Wunka, and Widdle Warrick (I'm not making this up) spot an AT-ST mowing down poor Ewok brethren. With his amazing Tarzan-like skills, Chewbacca swings the two Ewoks and himself onto the top of the AT-ST. They easily overtake the vehicle and travel to the bunker to see what Han's doing, destroying stormtroopers and other AT-STs on the way.

That's all well and good, but it's when you realize what would have happened if they didn't take that AT-ST down that you appreciate Chewie even more.

If they hadn't taken the AT-ST, that crew would have killed more Ewoks. Han would never have figured out how to get back into the bunker - or even if he had, it might have taken too long, resulting in the Rebellion's fleet being utterly crushed by the Death Star, Star Destroyers, and various TIE fighters. While Luke might have succeeded in his own personal mission, he might have needed to take drastic measures to get off the Death Star, and likely leave his father behind. And even further, there is a slight chance that, with the Death Star being fully operational, and the fact that the natives of the forest moon were starting to get cranky, the people in charge of the Death Star might have just turned the battle station on the moon and blown it up!

This AT-ST takedown was the great turning point of the battle. In this point of view, Chewbacca was the hero of the battle. Yes, Lando and Wedge took down the Death Star, and yes, Luke defeated Darth Vader and Palpatine, but without Chewbacca's heroics, none of that would have been able to happen as it actually did.

As I've mentioned before, I love the idea that there was a medal ceremony after the Battle of Endor (which we now know did take place, thanks to the novel Aftermath), and that Chewbacca received a medal for his work in the battle. He had a role in the destruction of the first Death Star for sure, but he had the most pivotal role in the destruction of the second.

I'm excited to see where Chewbacca is at the stage of his life where we see him in The Force Awakens. Wookies are known to have very long lifespans, so his appearance and personality will probably not have changed as much as his best friend Han. But I'm hoping that we'll get to see more Chewie in action, taking a large part in helping preserve the galaxy!

I am Claire Nat! I am a teacher and write for I write about anything that interests me - mostly music, Olympics, and fandoms! Follow me @CeePipes or 

More Star Wars articles by Claire Nat:
Fears and Star Wars
Why Star Wars is the Best Trilogy Ever


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