Force Fans were dealt a devastating blow when Peter Mayhew passed away last week. Mayhew, 7’3″ portrayed Chewbacca in the original ‘Star Wars’ movies, as well as in ‘Revenge of the Sith’, and ‘The Force Awakens’, had suffered for poor health for years, and passed on the evening of April 30, surrounded by family.
Starting in the 1980s, Mayhew made the majority of his living from attending fan conventions, and before his passing, had been set to appear at Fan Expo Dallas which was held this past weekend. Instead, the organizers converted his booth into a memorial and allowed fans to make contributions (either to his family or possibly Mayhew’s charity).
Fan Expo Dallas Vice President Andrew Moyes spoke to local news affiliate CBS DFW following Mayhew’s passing, saying:
“There is a feeling of shock among our team… Always a line for him and always a full panel as well. He was a great speaker, he was a great storyteller. And, of course, he created one of the most iconic characters in pop culture… There’s a sadness but also a warmth when you look at the stories they’re sharing about the impact he had on their lives. It’s an incredible experience to meet your hero. And the fans would walk away feeling a couple inches taller because they felt inspired and honored to have met him.”
Here is the Mayhew tribute booth, attended by a remote control R2-D2, shared by Texas’ morning radio talk show Get Your Geek On:
— Get Your Geek On (@gygoradio) May 3, 2019
Mayhew had retired from playing Chewbacca after ‘The Force Awakens’ but acted as a coach for his successor Joonas Suotamo, who took over for ‘The Last Jedi’ and ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’.
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A private memorial for Mayhew will be held on June 29. Los Angeles Empire Con has already announced that a fan memorial will be held during the con, which will be held on December 6-8. Expect other cons to offer some sort of remembrance as con season heats up.