Greatest Non-human Characters: Chewbacca

Chewbacca on Hoth

Whether we’re talking plastic Space Rangers, demonic killer clowns or acid-bleeding Xenomorphs, there’s no shortage of classic non-human film characters. The question is, are they more human than human? Simply sub-human? Or something else entirely? The team at Flickfeast took a look at the greatest movie characters who stem from outside the species of Mankind. Here’s mine. Behold: Chewbacca.

With the Star Wars saga giving birth to an entire universe of iconic characters, the walking carpet himself often gets short shrift. In fact, instead of fans petitioning to have The Last Jedi removed from the Star Wars cannon, perhaps their energy would be better spent campaigning for Chewbacca to receive his “I Destroyed the Death Star” medal at long last. Fingers crossed, that’s what we glimpse in the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer.

Regardless, Chewie has so many onscreen moments which elevate him above the role of Han Solo’s sidekick and place him amongst the greats, and it’s no doubt down to the imposing physicality of the late actor, Peter Mayhew (and later, Joonas Suotamo). There’s the Wookie’s childlike unwillingness to jump into the Imperial trash compactor because of the stench; his inability to discipline unruly Ewoks whilst also piloting an AT-ST, and the way in which he wrestles with his conscience whilst dining out on roasted porg. That all this can be conveyed through a ton of yak hair and a face piece must truly be the work of The Force (as well as Ralph McQuarrie and Stuart Freeborn, of course).

Chewbacca Chills Out

And then there’s that growl, courtesy of sound designer Ben Burtt. Often imitated (in our house, at least) but never bettered (ditto), the range on display through those simple snarls can induce both tears of laughter and tears of joy.

Think of his no-nonsense warning when a disguised Skywalker tries to cuff him to keep up appearances. Remember his guttural guffaws in response to Leia’s ‘nerf-herder’ line? Or more recently, how about that heart-wrenching howl as he witnesses his life-long best friend Han Solo plunge to his death. It’s still too soon.

In fact, what more needs to be said? Besides “Grrrrraooowww gruhhh”?

Who or what is your choice for the greatest non-human character? Let us know in the comments below.

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