Star Wars Fan Favorite Hero Survives The Movies But That’s Not Their Original Fate

By Zack Zagranis | Published

One of the more controversial choices Disney made when creating the Star Wars sequel trilogy was killing off the holy trinity of Han, Luke, and Leia. Of the four main characters from the original Star Wars trilogy who appeared in the sequels, only Chewbacca survived the ax. This is ironic because, in Legends, he’s actually the only one to die.

Chewbacca Gets No Respect

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Chewbacca never seems to get the same recognition as the holy trio despite being equal in every way. Instead, everyone’s favorite Wookie is usually relegated to the same secondary character status as R2-D2 and C-3PO. After all, Wookies like Droids are considered things, whereas Luke and Leia are people.

The New Jedi Order

So when the Star Wars Expanded Universe wanted to kill off a main character to show that its New Jedi Order series of books would have real stakes, Chewbacca was the easiest choice. Any fan of what is now called Legends can tell you that the early novels and comics were a bit disjointed. Lucasfilm sought to rectify that, so on the cusp of a new millennium, the decision was made to follow one big overarching narrative involving invaders from outside the known galaxy.

R.A. Salvatore Killed Chewbacca

And what better way to show fans that these new invaders, the Yuuzhan Vong, meant business than to drop a moon on Chewie? As silly as that looks typed out, that’s essentially how Chewbacca died. The Yuuzhan Vong employed a war tactic called Yo’ gand’s Core, in which they brought the moon of Sernpidal close enough to the planet for its orbit to decay, sending the moon crashing down to the surface.

Chewbacca and Han did their best to evacuate the planet before the fatal collision, and they almost made it, but Han’s son Anakin was knocked away by a solar wind, causing Chewie to go after him. The Wookie succeeded in saving Anakin but was stranded on Sernpidal’s surface in the process. The hairy brute defiantly stood and roared at the falling moon as it fell ever closer to him. It was then that Star Wars lost its first major character, Chewbacca.

Complicated History Of Legends

Han, Luke, and Leia would continue to fight without their lost comrade, never officially receiving any sort of end to their own stories. Star Wars: Legacy, a Legends comic book set roughly 137 ABY, did once feature Luke Skywalker as a Force ghost, so it’s implied that he died at some point, but the specifics were never fleshed out. The other shocking deaths that occurred throughout the new Jedi Order were given to characters created specifically for the Expanded Universe, like Mara Jade and Jacen Solo.

Chewbacca Survived The Movies

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As much as we’d like to assume that the Star Wars sequels allowing Chewbacca to live was a result of Disney finally giving the character his due respect, that’s most likely not the case. The other actors either wanted their characters to die like Harrison Ford with Han Solo or, like Mark Hamill, were convinced that their character’s death would serve the greater good of the story. Then there’s the late Carrie Fisher, who passed away for real, necessitating a hastily written onscreen death be given to Leia.

Anyone Can Play Chewbacca

Meanwhile, Chewie isn’t tied to any one actor. In fact, Lucasfilm recast the role in the sequels due to Peter Mayhew’s ailing health, and no one batted an eye. As far as the Star Wars franchise is concerned, Chewbacca is the perfect character to keep around. Disney can drag him out whenever they want to appeal to older fans without having to worry about janky CGI or aging talent. His advanced age means he can appear in prequel-era stories, sequel-era stories, and beyond.

If you’re a Chewbacca fan, you can rest easy knowing that Lucasfilm isn’t dropping a moon on our shaggy good boi anytime soon.

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