When it comes to the best creature of A New Hope, who tops the list? Chewbacca!
But Chewie is more than just a token space alien from some schlocky, sci-fi, b-movie. Chewie is a full-on supporting character. The coolest thing about Chewie is that we meet him in the Cantina as a fully realized character that everyone just accepts. The first image we see of Chewie is of him having a rather cordial conversation with Ben. Here’s this crazy looking bear-gorilla creature that only speaks in grunts and growls, who happens to be the co-pilot of the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, and we’re expected to just accept him just as he is. And the crazy thing is that Ben and Han just talk to him like any other person.
Remember, this was way before Expanded Universe novels, ultimate Star Wars encyclopedias and the internet, so we knew nothing about Chewie’s background other than what was presented to us at that moment. But the fact that everyone just accepts this hairy beast as commonplace, is one of the hallmarks of Star Wars. One of the coolest things Uncle George did was make the fantastical accessible to everyone. In his universe, the fantastical was all around you and you just accepted it. Again, you’re just dropped into this fully realized world with no explanations at all, but it all just feels so natural. It’s crazy to think that we were introduced to Star Wars universe 40 years ago, and it’s still growing and expanding, with no signs of slowing down. But it’s characters and creatures like Chewbacca that make that world seem so real and immersive, but grounded. A world I don’t ever want to leave… even 40 years later.
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