The Wookiee roared in San Antonio yesterday and ended up saying quite a bit about Star Wars: Episode VII when he did. During an appearance at Wizard World San Antonio Comic Con, Peter Mayhew sat on a panel and addressed some fan questions about the 2015 movie.
Obviously, this isn’t Mayhew’s first space rodeo, and he didn’t leak any major details. But after joking that he was working on a little project that he thinks some people might show up to watch, he said the J.J. Abrams-directed Episode VII “will be the best Star Wars film I will have seen.” Mayhew added that the film will utilize no, or very little, computer-generated effects and will instead be very practical.
As for behind-the-scenes tidbits, Mayhew revealed that the day this table-read photo was taken, he had previously seen many of his former co-stars, like Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, but it was the first time in a while he had met with Harrison Ford. Mayhew said the actor nearly “throttled” him with a hug.
In other Ford news, a fan inquired whether Mayhew and the rest of the cast were giving Han Solo grief for reportedly being injured by a door on the Millennium Falcon set. He said everything we’ve been reading in the press about that is false. What that precisely means regarding Ford’s ankle injury, Mayhew did not say.
When asked about being treated like royalty by younger actors, he said Hayden Christensen and even Ewan McGregor viewed him as an “old professor” on the Episode III set. Mayhew said he advised Christensen how much Star Wars impacts the lives of the people in it, and when the young Anakin saw him again at a premiere and agreed, the once and future Wookiee told him he’d “graduated.”
Mayhew also said that the scenes on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back were among his most difficult to film. When George Lucas noticed Chewie wasn’t quite covered in enough snow, he asked the actor to roll around on the cold ground. Even with the suit on, he was freezing, and when he went to take it off later in the day, it dropped to the ground in a frozen heap. That night, they had to throw the Wookiee costume in the wash at their hotel and just hope it was still there the next day.
Finally, Mayhew said he has never had trouble slipping back into the Chewbacca role. He said he doesn’t know how it happens, but as soon as he puts on the head, the Wookiee emerges and the man gets lost in there.
But no such luck for the San Antonio crowd. After listening to the audience try out their own Wookiee roar, Peter Mayhew told them not to quit their day jobs. Check out the video below to hear it from Chewie himself.