It’s a topic that has bugged ‘Star Wars’ fans ever since 1977 when ‘A New Hope’ was first released– why didn’t Chewbacca get a medal at the end? After all, Luke and Han both got one, while Chewie dutifully stood off to the side growling as the credits rolled.
While fans have been upset at the perceived slight, George Lucas actually recorded some footage that served as supplemental material way back in 1977, in which he explained that medals don’t mean anything to Wookies and that Chewbacca instead received a different tribute.
“Chewbacca wasn’t given a medal because medals don’t really mean much to Wookiees. They don’t really put too much credence in them. They have different kinds of ceremonies. The Wookiee Chewbacca was in fact given a great prize and honor during a ceremony with his own people. The whole contingent from the Rebel Alliance went to Chewbacca’s people and participated in a very large celebration. It was an honor for the entire Wookiee race.”
Whether this explanation is still canon is questionable, as in the same series of interviews, Lucas offered a completely different backstory for Han Solo. Also, it’s kind of a given that Lucas was kind of making things up as he went along, including having Leia kiss Luke in ‘Empire Strikes Back’, and though he wasn’t directly involved, the Marvel ‘Star Wars’ comic books of that time played up a love triangle between Luke, Leia, and Han.
And while Disney has negated the expanded ‘Legends’ novels, video games and other products released during the lull between the original trilogy and the prequels, the currently-published Marvel comics are considered to be in continuity. In the 2015 ‘Chewbacca’ miniseries, Chewie befriends a young girl who can speak Wookie, Zarro. At the end of their adventure, Chewbacca gifts Zarro with his Rebel medal, indicating that at some point he received one and kept it. Once again, Lucas wasn’t involved with these new comics, so it probably, at least one some level, contradicts what he had in mind.
Which explanation works best for you? Does Lucas’ assertion that Chewbacca would not have cared about getting a medal work? Or does it make you happier to think that he was quietly given one off-camera?
Source: Screen Rant