I’ll never understand why people are shocked when they find out one of their favorite things is just a slight rip off of something that came before. That’s how the world works, usually. And when that world is George Lucas’ Star Wars, it should surprise people even less. Stories have been circulating for years about how Chewbacca’s iconic design may have been inspired by a George R.R. Martin short story published in a July 1975 issue of Analog magazine. And it looks like those stories were right, at least in part.
When the brilliant artist Ralph McQuarrie first began designing Chewbacca, he looked like a bug-eyed alien that came from a planet populated by Salem’s Lot vampires, with a mouth perpetually open in shock. As McQuarrie put it, “George said he wanted Chewbacca to look like a lemur, so he had great big limpid eyes in some of my early sketches.”