Die hard ‘Star Wars’ fans can tell you all sorts of things about Chewbacca. That includes where he was born, how he met Han Solo, the names of his children and much, much more. But can they tell you what he’s saying? Consisting as it does of assorted grunts, growls, and howls, the Chewie’s native tongue has remained one of the more impenetrable mysteries of the ‘Star Wars’ saga.
Until now, that is. At least after a fashion. While it’s hardly a traveler’s phrasebook, a brief clip of behind the scenes footage from ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ has surfaced which features Chewbacca’s on-set dialogue – the lines spoken by actor Peter Mayhew during filming, without the famous growls dubbed over it. The clip is taken from an early scene in which Han speaks to Chewie while the latter works to repair the Millennium Falcon. While it’s fairly easy to guess at with the context offered in the finished scene, after all this time it’s fascinating to finally hear both sides of the conversation. You can see the footage here:
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) November 5, 2016
A similar clip also exists, consisting of outtakes from the original 1977 film:
The footage – originally posted by documentarian Jamie Benning – was tweeted by none other than Peter Mayhew himself. In it, we see Chewbacca speaking with a decidedly English voice, and I do mean “English”, as in the country, not just the language. As odd as it is to hear English-language dialogue come out of a Wookiee, it’s somehow even more surreal that everyone’s favorite walking carpet wouldn’t sound the least bit out of place in the heart of London.
Chewbacca is hardly the only ‘Star Wars’ character whose on-set dialogue was dubbed over for the finished film. Perhaps most famously, this included David Prowse, who played Darth Vader and whose on-set line readings were ultimately dubbed over by James Earl Jones. While Prowse himself has never exactly been happy about that, I think we can all agree that there’s just something… unsettling (and not in a good way) about a Darth Vader who speaks with a high-pitched voice and a thick West Country accent.
What did you think of this footage? Would you be interested in seeing more of Chewbacca’s on-set dialogue? Let us know in the comments!