One of the reasons I was happy to bring the ongoing One Thing I Love Today column back was because it gives me a chance to simply sing the praises of something quickly, something that might not otherwise fit into the kind of coverage we do here at HitFix. A good example was when I put up the story about the Chewbacca mini-series from Marvel Comics by Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto.
One of the strangest things about the first Star Wars for me was just how quickly I not only accepted the reality of the world that George Lucas created, but how deeply it sank into my own inner life. Star Wars figures were the key talisman of my childhood, and I spent many hours lost in private stories played out with those little plastic people. From that very first viewing of Star Wars in 1977, I have been head over heels for Chewbacca, and I can't even explain why. Stuart Freeborn's execution of the design for Chewie is fantastic, and Peter Mayhew did a great job of conveying what it was that was going on inside that huge furry head, even without the benefit of any language we understand.
I'd be the first to admit that my fondness for Chewie is weird if not for the fact that everyone seems to love Chewie. There are many things about Star Wars that are controversial, but Chewbacca seems to be universally adored. It's funny, because when I think of the character, there are so many things I know about him, aCnd again… this is all conveyed without him ever speaking a word. He's a loyal friend, he's a great pilot, he's an intuitive and inspired astro-mechanic, and he loves playing board games as long as he's allowed to win.
In my most strident fanboy days, all it took was a mention of Chewbacca and I'd be off and ranting about how he should have gotten a medal at the end of A New Hope, just like everyone else onstage. If there is any place George Lucas could have applied his digital paintbrush, that would have been a good one. Now it just makes me laugh to point it out. I guess even in a universe as multi-cultural as the one presented by Star Wars, someone's got to get the short end of the stick, and Wookiees seem to be it.
In a phone call to the Deutsche Bank 2016 Media, Internet & Telecom Conference, Bob Iger referred to the Chris Miller/Phil Lord film about young Han Solo as an “origin story” for Han and Chewie. My guess is that we'll see how the two of them meet and become friends in the first place, and that adventure is going to wrap with the two of them onboard their new ship, The Millennium Falcon, the two of them free to be the space pirates we fell in love with almost 40 years ago. That's fine by me. I know the EU books have touched on that connection, but this will be the first time any of the films reference how Han and Chewie met and became friends. The loyalty they demonstrate to one another in the films is part of what makes them both appealing as characters, and while this news is not terribly surprising, it is very, very welcome.
Young Han Solo, or whatever they're going to call it, will be in theaters in 2018.