Like most human beings, I love Star Wars. But growing up, my favorite character wasn’t Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, or even the hot- shot risk taking pilot, Han Solo.
It was Chewbacca.
That’s right, Chewie. An 8 foot tall dog person? Intensely loyal to his friends, yet ready to rip an arm out of a socket if crossed by someone? As Jerry Seinfeld’s Mom used to say, “How could anyone not like him?”
I liked Chewie so much that my biggest fear going into The Force Awakens was having to watch him die. By the film’s end, while everyone wiped away their tears over Han I was wiping sweat off my brow in relief. “At least he’ll make it to Episode 8. What’s everyone crying about?”
But now with a new Han Solo-focused movie about to hit theaters, the moviegoing public is about to get even more Chewbacca. And after viewing one of the film’s trailers and doing some research, I regret to inform you, my Dear Reader, that I think I’ve realized something awful about our hero.
Chewbacca is a deadbeat Dad.
First, let’s look at the facts:
Fact #1: Chewie Has Been on the Road with Han for a LONG Time
The Star Wars Wiki site Wookieepedia tells us Chewbacca was enslaved by the Empire sometime after the Clone Wars and before A New Hope. We may see this depicted on screen in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which I’m guessing takes place roughly 10 years prior to Episode 4. Chewie then begins paying a life debt to Han after Han frees him. They then proceed to spend the next four decades smuggling and kicking the shit out of the Empire until we see them, still a pair, in The Force Awakens. Since this takes place roughly 30 years after Return of the Jedi, it’s safe to assume Chewbacca has been at Han’s side for roughly 40 years.
Fact #2: Chewie Has a Family
We first meet Chewie’s family in the ill-conceived 1978 TV movie The Star Wars Holiday Special. I’ll let Wikipedia take it from here:
“In the storyline that ties the special together, Chewbacca and Han Solo visit Kashyyyk, Chewbacca’s home world, to celebrate Life Day. They are pursued by agents of the Galactic Empire, who are searching for members of the Rebel Alliance on the planet. The special introduces three members of Chewbacca’s family: his father Itchy, his wife Malla, and his son Lumpy, though these names were later explained to have been nicknames, their full names being Attichitcuk, Mallatobuck, and Lumpawarrump, respectively.”
(Side note: can you believe Lumpy has his own Wikipedia entry?)
“But that’s the Holiday Special!” you say. “Chewie’s family isn’t canon!” The special may not be, the family sure as hell is. For one, there’s a split second clip in the latest Solo trailer that shows Chewie affectionately butting heads with what has to be another Wookiee.
Go for it, Chewie.
Unless Chewie’s got a little Wookiee sidepiece, that’s his wife. Also, check this from Malla’s Wookieepedia: “The 2015 young readers novel A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy, a retelling of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope written by Alexandra Bracken, recanonized the existence of Chewbacca’s wife Malla.”
The Chewbacca clan is canon.
Fact #3: Chewie Was Presumably Not at Home For Most of the Time Spent Fulfilling His Life Debt
The Star Wars universe is vast and expansive. With Han and Chewie out smuggling all the time, there’s no way they were making it back home on a regular basis. I’m guessing the Kessel Run doesn’t have an easy path to Kashyyyk. “Okay Chewie, Waze is telling us to take the left ramp, exit 16A. That’ll put us right onto RRRRRRRRARRRR Boulevard.”
Fact #4: After Han Dies, Chewie Keeps Hanging Out with Rey
I’ll play devil’s advocate here for a second. Let’s say Chewie staying away from home for the better part of half a century is just him adhering to a code. After all, Han DID save his life. Per Wookiee culture, you owe him a life debt. Fine.
But what does Chewie after Han dies?
Immediately follows Rey to help find Luke.
For anyone keeping score at home, after being released from his honor-bound agreement to loyally serve Han Solo, Chewie opts out of going to see his family in favor of following some woman he met roughly an hour before that.
Verdict: Chewie is DEFINTELY a Bad Father and Husband
It pains me to say it, but there is literally no other logical conclusion. It doesn’t take a math major to figure out ol’ Fuzzball missed a LOT of birthdays.
At some point, Han had to give him the option to go home, right? For all his hotshot bluster, Han Solo was one of the goodest of good guys. No way he makes Chewie fix the engine on the Falcon every day for FORTY YEARS.
“Hey Chewie, man. You know I can just take this thing into Jiffy Lube? You don’t have to keep tinkering with it.”
“Nah, it’s cool. I hate my family.”
The worst part about this is how many thrilling, life-threatening adventures these two got involved in. They’re literally fighing Space Nazis with endless resources and weapons. And Chewbacca STILL found that preferable to spending another Life Day with his wife and kids. “What’s it called? The DEATH Star? Man, you know what? Beats having to watch another game of Wookiee t-ball.”
The true piece de resistance of this theory is what Chewie does after Han’s death. Does he retreat home to mourn?
He just starts hanging out with Rey, someone he has absolutely zero life debts owed to. In fact, HE saved Rey’s life by showing up with the Falcon to save her, so SHE owes HIM a life debt!
Instead of leaving, Chewie decides, “Where we going now? To find Luke Skywalker, the Jedi who alienated his nephew, leading to the eventual slaughter of my best friend? In what is sure to be a much more dangerous situation than any I’ve faced before?” Chewie takes a moment, sips his beer, then rubs his hairy chin deep in thought. “Sounds like a good time. Hopefully my last child support check doesn’t bounce!”
Again, it gives me no joy to say all this as Chewie has always been one of my favorite characters. But after doing the research and examing the facts from every angle, I can’t get this thought out of my head: Chewie, in a tanktop, sitting back in his recliner, piss drunk off Coors Light while poor Malla struggles to feed their Wookiee kids dinner.
All I’m saying is that if Episode IX doesn’t have a scene of a graying Chewbacca trying to awkwardly reconnect with a middle-aged Lumpy, I’ll consider my hero unredeemed.