How Old Is Chewbacca? Wookiee Lifespans and Other Lore Explained
With the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, fans are going to learn more about Han Solo’s faithful friend and co-pilot of the Millenium Falcon, Chewbacca. But, there are plenty of questions about everyone’s favorite Wookiee that we can answer for you right now. In fact, there are some interesting facts about Wookiees in general that we’d like to share with you.
A lot of fans want to know exactly how old Chewbacca is. It’s a fair question since he’s been around since the prequel trilogy. According to official lore, Chewbacca was born 200 years before the Battle of Yavin. So, he’s 200 years old during the events of Star Wars a.k.a. A New Hope. With a little bit of math — The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi take place 34 years after A New Hope — we can deduce that Chewbacca is currently 234 years old in the current films.
But, is that old for a Wookiee? What is the average lifespan of Chewbacca’s people? Turns out that it’s around 400 years old. That means Chewie is experiencing middle age. Now we want to know what a Wookiee midlife crisis looks like.
The Wookiees are a race that follows a strict code of honor, similar to the way Klingons are portrayed in Star Trek. They place a high value on courage and loyalty. Though they are known for being fierce warriors, there is one element to their culture that doesn’t factor into their way of battle.
It is considered dishonorable for a Wookiee to use their claws for anything other than climbing. Wookiees live on the dense forest planet Kashyyyk and must climb the immense trees in order to either descend to the forest floor to hunt, or to ascend to the various settlements that they make in the treetops.
It’s worth noting that any Wookiee who uses their claws to harm another is often shunned by the rest of their people. However, Chewbacca himself did just this when his friend Han Solo was murdered by Kylo Ren. Chewbacca knew he was violating the honor code but did so both out of rage and a sense that the First Order stormtroopers had no honor.
The Life Debt
Another crucial aspect of Wookiee culture is the life debt. The idea of a life debt is that if a Wookiee’s life is saved by another then that Wookiee owes that individual their life. Many have speculated that Chewie himself stuck around with Han because of a life debt.
As far as we know, this is true. Chewbacca was a slave under the rule of the Galactic Empire. Han saved Chewie and thus their friendship began. Exactly how did this rescue take place? It’s certain that we’ll see it unfold in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
A Few Fun Facts
And now for some miscellaneous Wookiee facts!
- The highest compliment a Wookiee can give someone is by grooming them.
- The signature Wookiee weapon is a bowcaster. They are handcrafted and unique to each Wookiee.
- It is very rare for a Wookiee to be Force-sensitive. Exactly why is unclear.
- Wookiee’s are apparently carnivores, but Chewbacca refrains from eating a porg in The Last Jedi.
- The iconic Wookiee growls are made up of audio recordings of walruses, bears, tigers, camels, and badgers.
- The term Wookiee first appeared in George Lucas’s debut feature film, THX 1138.
Ready to learn more about Chewbacca and the Wookiees? We’ll definitely have more to add once we see Solo: A Star Wars Story on May 25.
Drew Dietsch has written for CHUD.com, the News-Press, WhatCulture, and releases a weekly film review podcast at his website, The Drew Reviews. He’ll yak your ear off about horror movies, Jaws, RoboCop, and/or Batman if you let him.