Peter Mayhew, the seven-foot tall British actor best known as “Chewbacca” in the legendary Star Wars film series, was stricken with pneumonia last week, forcing the fan favorite to cancel an appearance at a comic book shop in Texas. But the actor, who now makes his home in Boyd, Texas, sent a message to his fans from his hospital bed.
On Monday, Mayhew’s webmaster posted to the ailing actor’s Twitter account, assuring fans that their favorite “wookie” was doing fine.
Hey all, @Webmaster_Rick here. Peter is recovering well from his bout of pneumonia. He thanks you for the well wishes!!!
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) January 20, 2015
But at Mayhew’s age of 70, coupled with the fact that he was born with a genetic condition known as Marfan’s Syndrome — which caused his unusual height — made the Chewbacca actor’s illness a source of concern. But his wife Angie also took to the internet forum Reddit to assure Star Wars fans that Mayhew — whose physique is better known than his face due to the extensive make-up he wears to portray the furry Chewbacca character — was recovering from the illness already.
“Thank you for all the well wishes, prayers, good vibes, and happy thoughts,” the actor’s wife posted. “Peter is indeed in the hospital with pneumonia. He will make a full recovery, and hope to be discharged within a few days. Doctors are incredibly happy with his improvements. Sorry for the absence, we left our tablets at home, so we have been unable to post to reddit for a bit. I’ll make sure he pops in later in the day. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Mayhew will return to the Chewbacca role for the first time since 2005, when he donned the fur for the role in the third Star Wars prequel film Revenge of the Sith, in the upcoming Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, which is due to be released by on December 18 of this year.
Fortunately, Mayhew has finished his work on the film already, at least as far as principal photography goes, as director J.J. Abrams has been doing post-production work on the movie since last November.
Peter Mayhew was scheduled to appear at a Texas comic book store last Saturday to promote Marvel Comics’ Star Wars #1 comic book, but was forced to cancel due to his illness.
The Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Comics in 2009 for $4 billion. Three years later, Disney shelled out another $4 billion to buy out LucasFilm — and with it, the rights to the Star Wars franchise, which had lain dormant since the 2005 film, Revenge of the Sith.
In reviving the franchise, Disney brought back many of the characters from the original three Star Wars films, released between 1977 and 1983, including Han Solo played by Harrison Ford, Luke Skywalker played by Mark Hamill, Princess Leia portrayed by Carrie Fisher — and of course Chewbacca, acted by Peter Mayhew.