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"My medal. The one I got for the battle of the Death Star. It's the highest honor the Alliance gives. Maybe I should have taken better care of the thing. It's starting to look a little tarnished..."
―Luke Skywalker[4]

The Medal of Bravery was a golden military decoration awarded by the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars and by Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. The Heroes of Yavin Luke Skywalker and Han Solo were amongst the Alliance recipients of the medal, during the Royal Award Ceremony that followed the destruction of the first Death Star in 0 BBY. That ceremony was held in the Grand Audience Chamber, an ancient structure located on the fourth moon of Yavin Prime, with hundreds of Alliance personnel attending the event.


"No big deal? I felt my temper rise. I pointed out acidly that he could always pawn the medal for cash."
―Leia Organa, upon Han Solo's initial refusal of the award[5]

Two Clone Wars–era Medals of Bravery on display

The Medal of Bravery existed as far back as the Clone Wars, a conflict fought between the Galactic Republic and the Separatist Confederacy from 22 to 19 BBY. At least four copies of it were exposed in the Officers' Club of the Jedi Temple of Coruscant, the Republic's capital world.[1]

More than twenty years later, the Medal of Bravery had become the highest military decoration awarded by the Alliance to Restore the Republic.[4] It was made of gold[6] and attached to a brown ribbon, as it was designed to be draped over the head and worn around the neck.[2] It was presented to members of the Alliance who had displayed a great feat of bravery in battle.

In 0 ABY, for their efforts in destroying the Death Star, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo were awarded this honorable medal during the Royal Award Ceremony.[2] At first, Solo was reluctant to accept the award, arguing that the ones who deserved medals were the ones who didn't make it back. Princess Leia Organa, who was asked to preside over the ceremony, was very moved by the Corellian smuggler's words, and she spoke to him as a comrade, prompting Solo to accept the award.[5]

Han Solo and Luke Skywalker after receiving the Medal following the destruction of the Death Star

The medal presentation ceremony was held in the Grand Audience Chamber, the topmost room of the Great Temple, a huge ziggurat that hosted the Rebellion's primary base on the moon of Yavin 4.[2] Chewbacca, who was Solo's best friend and copilot, did not receive a medal during the official ceremony, as Wookiees do not place any meaning in such tangible awards.[7] However, at the request of Solo, Chewbacca was presented with his own medal in private, during the feast that followed the ceremony. Princess Leia, who was too short to put it over the Wookiee's neck, stood on a table to award this final medal.[3]

Some time after Arvel Crynyd's death in 4 ABY, which led to the destruction of the Star Dreadnought Executor, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Bravery.

Behind the scenes[]

"Leia is dressed in a long white dress and is staggeringly beautiful. She places a gold medallion around Han's neck. He winks at her. To one side, a pristine Threepio stands, awestruck by the whole event."
―Extract from the final script of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope[7]

The Medal of Bravery first appeared during the triumphal end sequence of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope in 1977.[2] The ceremony scene emulates a similar segment in Triumph of the Will, a Nazi propaganda film made by Leni Riefenstahl in 1934.[7]

Many fans expressed their unhappiness over the fact that Chewbacca was not awarded a medal at the end of the movie,[7] although he was in the novelization.[6] In an interview recorded shortly after the release of A New Hope, George Lucas explained that Wookiees do not care for medals. However, a large contingent of Alliance officers were sent to the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk for a memorable celebration.[7][8] Despite this, however, he later claimed in an interview with the Official Star Wars Fan Club that Chewbacca did claim a medal, but not during the formal ceremony because Leia was too short.

Chewbacca receiving his medal from Princess Leia

In the early comic book The Day after the Death Star!, Chewbacca did receive a medal, but not at the same time as Solo and Skywalker. A panel shows Princess Leia standing on a table to award Chewbacca his medal at a party after the formal ceremony.[3] Additionally, the non-canonical comic Tag & Bink Are Dead 2 depicts Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna finding a Medal of Bravery engraved with "Chewie" that was left behind in the Great Temple.[9]

At the 1997 MTV Movie Awards, Chewbacca was given a Medal of Bravery by Carrie Fisher, who played Leia Organa throughout the original trilogy.

A lanyard acting as a replica of the Medal of Bravery was issued to visitors of Star Wars Weekends 2014.[10]



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