The 7ft 3in English-born actor has said that to get the role of the giant Wookiee all he had to do to impress George Lucas and get the role was to ‘stand up.”
Mayhew has made himself an entire career out of playing the character and has also used his Chewbacca suit to help cheer up sick children as well as making a living for himself by appearing in commercials. Just like Carrie Fisher who played Princess Leia in Star Wars, Mayhew has also made money from appearances at sci-fi conventions such as the regular Celebration events which are entirely based on the Star Wars saga.
Mayhew has made no secret of the fact that he is keen to be involved with Star Wars Episode 7, which is due for release next December and to remind everyone he has decided to show some of his collection of behind the scenes pictures from the original Star Wars movies.
Among the photos he has released are several which are likely to excite the many secret and not so secret Princess Leia fans out there including one particular picture that shows Princess Leia aka Carrie Fisher relaxing off set with her body double, with both women wearing the iconic gold bikini. Any non-Star Wars fans may have come across this item of fantasy clothing from the Series 3 episode of Friends where Ross tells Rachel his biggest fantasy involves the Princess Leia gold bikini.
Other photos from Mayhew’s private collection show him and the rest of the cast relaxing in between filming and some of the pictures show that Mayhew himself may have been rather keen on Princess Leia as one shot shows him minus the hairy suit lifting Carrie Fisher up whilst holding a bottle of wine and is captioned “the rest of this set stay in the archive:)”
Another shot shows Mayhew is his Chewbacca costume appearing to roar at the camera whilst his hand, or should that be paw, is grabbing Princess Leia’s right breast and the actress is looking shocked.
Peter Mayhew, who is now a naturalised American living in Texas, has not enjoyed good health over the last few years. His great height comes as a result of suffering from the medical condition of gigantism which is the same condition suffered by Robert Pershing Wadlow (1918-1940), who at 8ft 11.1in (2.72m) was the tallest proven human that ever lived. Mayhew’s condition resulted in him having to undergo a double knee transplant last year but despite this he is still keen to reprise his role as Chewbacca in the new Star Wars movie.
Incidentally if anyone is looking to make their own Chewbacca costume they will need to find a plentiful supply of yak hair and mohair to recreate the original Star Wars look. No word yet if this is what the costume department are looking to use in the new version.