There was a big to-do made about the broken leg Harrison Ford suffered on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens last year, and the brief production delay it caused. But now another member of the cast, also a returning fan favorite, has had a health scare. Peter Mayhew, who plays Han Solo’s enormous, hairy BFF Chewbacca, has been hospitalized with pneumonia. Fortunately, he’s doing well, and doctors expect him to make a full recovery.
Rumors about Mayhew’s ill health began circulating on the Internet, and Mayhew’s wife, Angie, took to Reddit to issue a statement confirming the news. The prognosis is positive, and she wrote, “Doctors are incredibly happy with his improvements.”
In addition, the webmaster at PeterMayhew.com took to Twitter to say, “Peter is recovering well from his bout of pneumonia. He thanks you for the well wishes!!!”
Though reports circulated well before the official cast announcement last spring, it wasn’t entirely clear if Mayhew would be able to reprise his role as the ferocious warrior from the original trilogy. The 70-year-old, 7 foot 3 inch tall actor has had some issues with his legs in recent years. The excessive growth caused by his gigantism led to side effects and impacted his joints, and he was in a wheel chair for a few years there. In 2013, he had both knees replaced, as well as a tendon-stretching procedure to increase his stability and maneuverability, and he was able to walk again shortly after.
We’re glad he was able to come back. Even though he’s covered by layers of costume and generally unrecognizable, it’s still comforting to know he’s there. The same goes for Kenny Baker in his R2-D2 get up.
So far, everyone else involved, aside from Ford and Mayhew, seems to have escaped relatively unscathed, so maybe there’s not a curse or some bad voodoo going on around The Force Awakens. Granted, we still have a long while to wait until we actually see the movie, so it’s possible that there is time for something catastrophic to happen, like all the footage to be lost in some freak accident. (Anytime there’s a movie I really want to see, I expect something terrible to happen before it debuts. Given it’s track record, I fully anticipate some act of god to derail Mad Max: Fury Road before it opens. I’m nothing if not a pessimist.)
Supposedly another The Force Awakens trailer is slated to arrive with Avengers: Age of Ultron when it hits theaters on May 1, and reports have said that we’ll get our first glimpse of the returning cast members like Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, and hopefully Mayhew and others, in this footage.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters worldwide on December 18.