Why is Chewbacca so important to the Star Wars franchise?


Everyone knows that Han and Chewbacca’s friendship is one of the most iconic relationships in the Star Wars Universe, but why is their friendship so important?

By Thursday night/Friday morning we’ll finally know all the minute details of the most cherished friendship in all the galaxy – the one between Han Solo and Chewbacca — when Solo: A Star Wars Story drops worldwide.

Lucasfilm played it tight to the vest in the current rollout of their expanded universe, but it’s important to remember that there was once a universe that explored this territory. A universe which now goes by Legends.

It’s fitting that Chewbacca and Han Solo’s relationship will be moving the narrative as it has been explained that one event caused the cosmic shift within the Star Wars galaxy when Disney purchased the franchise.

The controversial argument for dismantling the Expanded Universe was put forth by Leland Chee a Lucasfilm employee who is part of Star Wars Story Group whose job is to be the keeper of the multitude of films, comics, and video games from contradicting one another.  During his interview with Syfy’s Fandom Files Podcast he explained:

"“For me, it came down to simply that we had killed Chewbacca in the Legends — a big moon had fallen on him. Part of that [original decision] was Chewbacca because he can’t speak and just speaks in growls, he was a challenging character to write for in novels. Publishing had decided they needed to kill somebody, and it was Chewbacca. … But if you have the opportunity to bring back Chewbacca into a live-action film, you’re not gonna deprive fans that… And if we were going to overturn a monumental decision like that, everything else was really just minor in comparison.”"

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So if Chewbacca’s death helped destroy what was once thousands of interconnected pages and prints of stories, it only fits that Chewie gets to push this new content forward, in what is the early stages of the new Lucasfilm regime’s idea of an ever-expanding universe—akin to what Marvel has pulled off and every screen junkie with a camera, producer or studio head wants to.

It seems so long ago, but in the Legends run Han had an affinity for Wookies.  As an orphan who took to petty crime early, he became part of Garris Shrike’s small-time larceny crew.

This is where he met a Wookie named Dewlanna, who taught him Shyriiwook (the native Wookie tongue) and would become a surrogate mother of sorts.  She sacrificed herself to save a young Han during a job that ended in tragedy—an act which would help mold young Han’s fragile psyche.

He decided to try and leave this gritty life behind and clean up.  Joining the imperial academy seemed like the way to do this, but what’s in one’s head usually differs from what one sees with there eyes.  As Han was tasked with executing a Wookie who liberated a ship full of child slaves, he refused.

This led to a court-martial and dishonorable discharge—punching a one-way ticket back to the life he so desperately tried to avoid.  But a dishonorable discharge that leads to an honorable friend he could never shake loose from—until a moon landed on Chewie’s head.

It’s hard to believe that Lucasfilm won’t sway some bit from this, but the blueprint is there for this memorable couple to ride off into the dual sunsets together.  From what the tv trailer spots have shown, we have a young Han in the Imperial academy who is disenfranchised with it.

An estimated guess would be that Han saves his life within that time frame leading him to be expelled from the academy for “having a mind of my own.”

Next: Who will die in Solo: A Star Wars Story?

Either way, the first meeting between these two will spark a wildfire debate spectacle with online clashes mirroring bloody battles waged between the Rebels and The Empire. Only a few short hours until we find out where our minds are at with Solo: A Star Wars Story.