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‘Star Wars’ Chewbacca Actor Peter Mayhew Has Died
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Peter Mayhew, the towering British actor best known for his long-time role as Chewbacca, Han Solo’s fuzzball sidekick and co-pilot in the Star Wars film franchise, has died. He was 74. Though the actor never revealed his face in the Star Wars movies, his character has been a prominent figure in the popular franchise since the beginning, having appeared in the Original Trilogy starting in 1977, and then in Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith (2005) and some of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

The Mayhew family formally announced the actor’s passing over social media earlier today, saying that he died on the evening of April 30, 2019 at his North Texas home surrounded by family. The statement revealed that Mayhew had been suffering through a series of physical ailments in the past few years, but had overcome being wheelchair-bound to reprise his role as Chewbacca in 2015’s The Force Awakens. However, the years started to take its toll, and the 7-foot, 3-inch actor would soon have to pass on the Wookiee suit and bowcaster to Joonas Suotamo. Suotamo had already played the more physical parts for Chewbacca in The Force Awakens before taking over the role completely in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story. But Mayhew did serve as “Chewbacca Consultant” for both of those later films.

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NY Wintercon 2016: ‘Star Wars’ Chewbacca and Rebel Pilots
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The Resorts World Casino NYC in Queens hosted this year’s NY Wintercon, featuring science fiction, fantasy, and comic book properties. One of the highlights of Day 1 on Saturday was the panel featuring the most popular sci-fi franchise ever, Star Wars.

Starting off the day on the main stage was Chewbacca himself, Peter Mayhew, who was joined by a squadron of rebel pilots including Biggs Darklighter (Garrick Hagon), Nien Numb (Mike Quinn), and Red 4 (Jack Klaff).

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Blu-ray Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Collector’s Edition
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens
3D Collector’s Edition Blu-ray
Writer: Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt
Director: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow, Gwendoline Christie
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: November 15, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was one of my favorite movies of 2015, and is a film I’ve written a lot about here — bottom line, I love it! Does it have its flaws? Sure, but nothing that I feel hampers the enjoyment of watching it. While there are those who feel it’s a retread of the original trilogy, I believe that it’s a worthy addition to the Star Wars universe.

The film was released in Blu-ray back in April and included a host of bonus features that delved into the making of the sequel. But, sadly, it didn’t include feature-length audio commentary, which is an extra I love on home video releases, especially for an extravaganza like this. Now, Disney has released The Force Awakens as a 3D Blu-ray Collector’s Edition that does include commentary from J.J. Abrams, which to me makes this set worth getting. It also includes the original bonus features, along with several all-new featurettes. So, if you don’t already own this, definitely grab this collector’s edition.

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Blu-ray Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Blu-ray Combo Pack
Director: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow, Gwendoline Christie
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: April 5, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens began as my most anticipated movie of 2015 and ended being my favorite film of the year. While seeing director J.J. Abrams‘ newest installment in the Star Wars franchise in IMAX was a delight, viewing the film in Blu-ray at home multiple times was just as entertaining. Matter of fact, since the Blu-ray Combo Pack comes with a Digital HD copy, I also enjoyed viewing it on my iPhone.

Written by Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt, the new film takes place 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, the final film in George Lucas’ original trilogy that saw the Rebel Alliance finally overthrow the Empire. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is still flying around hustling his way through the galaxy with his trusty co-pilot and friend Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), while his love Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) leads a small resistance group against The First Order, an offshoot of the Empire backed by a Darth Vader-obsessed Sith named Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

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Movie Review: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (Mike’s Review)
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Director: J.J. Abrams
Screenwriter: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow, Gwendoline Christie
Lucasfilm | Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG-13 | 136 Minutes
Release Date: December 18, 2015

It goes without saying that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the most anticipated films of the year. And as such, the expectations are very high for director J.J. Abrams to give us something that will remind us what Star Wars is really about. So it is easy to understand why he might be a little terrified about what fans might think of his vision for the franchise for the new generation. But it is safe to say that not only has he met those expectations, he also exceeded them.

I’ll start out by saying that I am not a hardcore fan of the franchise, but I understand its mythology and how people can live and breathe the world of Star Wars. Second, this will be a spoiler-free review, meaning I won’t reveal what hasn’t been already revealed in trailers and interviews. This is so that everyone can be just as surprised about the film as I was when I first watched it with my fellow journalists. Check out my review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens here below.

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