5. Vin Diesel as Chewbacca
While many roles in Star Wars where the character’s face is part of a costume saw the voice and physical role portrayed by two different actors, that wasn’t the case for Peter Mayhew as he embodied and vocalized Chewbacca throughout the Star Wars saga. Mayhew was an unknown working as a hospital orderly before he answered the casting call for Star Wars and had his 7-foot 3-inch frame cast as the unforgettable Chewbacca.
While not a trained veteran of stage or screen, Mayhew poured himself into the role and researched the behavior of bears, monkeys, and gorillas he saw at the London Zoo to help inform his vocal performance. If you were to search today’s Hollywood to find an actor who can convey emotion and power in a role without a diversity of dialogue, there’s no better pick than Vin Diesel.
“I am Groot,” was the only line Vin Diesel had while lending his voice to Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy and other films for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but even in that simplicity, he gave the performance of a lifetime. While that role lends the most to this comparison, Diesel is a veteran with roles in dozens of iconic movies that have earned him multiple Teen Choice, People’s Choice, and MTV Movie Awards.
Peter Mayhew provided inimitable magic when he took on the role of Chewbacca, but Vin Diesel might be just the man to take on that challenge should Star Wars be recast today.