- "Let him have it. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee."
"But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid."
"That's 'cause a droid don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that."
"I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, Artoo. Let the Wookiee win."
- ―Han Solo and C-3PO
Wookiees were a species of tall, hairy humanoids that were native to the planet Kashyyyk. A notable member of this species was the warrior Chewbacca, Han Solo's best friend and co-pilot, who played a vital role in the Clone Wars during the Battle of Kashyyyk, the Galactic Civil War by aiding the Rebel Alliance in their fight against the Galactic Empire, and the war against the First Order. They were quite strong, and were known to rip people's arms out of their sockets when provoked. Though being from a temperate planet better known for its swamps and forests, they were able to be comfortable on icy worlds such as Ilum and Hoth without any protective clothing, including gloves and boots.
Biology and appearance
- "Big. Covered in fur. Strong."
- ―Beru Whitesun Lars describes a Wookiee
Wookiees were a tall species of furry humanoids from the planet Kashyyyk, who could grow to a height of nearly three meters. They were covered from head to toe in a thick, shaggy coat of hair with water-shedding properties that notably came in shades of brown, black, gray, and white. The species had two sexes, female and male. The latter grew long beards in adult life.The average male weighed 150 kilograms while the average female weighed 100 kilograms. The Wookiees eye color ranged from blue to brown. Wookiees were big eaters, with the average adult requiring 3,500-6,000 calories a day of food. Their diet consisted of wild plants, berries, meat, and spices. They preferred their spices to be hot. While Wookiees did not like eating blosphi extract, it provided them with enough nutrition to survive. The literary collective term for Wookiees was a grove of Wookiees.
Wookiees had extendable claws which they used for climbing; using them for anything else violated the Wookiee honor code. Despite their fearsome appearance and volatile temperament, Wookiees were regarded as intelligent, sophisticated, loyal and trusting. When angered, Wookiees were known to descend into a berserker rage. Wookiees had an average lifespan of 400 standard years, and they appeared not to age over a span of fifty years. Their lifespans dramatically decreased due to the harsh working conditions in the spice mines of Kessel. During their prime growing years, Wookiees were often hungry, forcing them to eat whenever they could. One Wookiee, Lohgarra, lived healthily for centuries—the only distinction being her white fur. They could learn to understand other languages, like Galactic Basic Standard, but they were physically unable to speak them due to their strange vocal chords. To those who had not learned to understand Shyriiwook, the Wookiee language, it appeared they spoke in a series of growls and purrs. Although a rare phenomenon, Force-sensitive Wookiees were possible and some joined the ranks of the Jedi, a source of great pride to their people. One such Wookiee was the youngling Gungi.
The Clone Wars
- "Go, I will. Good relations with the Wookiees, I have."
- ―Jedi Master Yoda
Wookiees originated on the Mid Rim forest planet of Kashyyyk. In the ancient past, they invented and crafted weapons that fired poisoned darts and arrows. During the Clone Wars and the reign of King Grakchawwaa, the Wookiees remained fiercely loyal to the Galactic Republic and fought alongside them in several star systems. Towards the end of the conflict, Wookiee forces also defended their homeworld from a Separatist invasion with the help of Galactic Republic forces led by Jedi Master Yoda, who had good relations with them.
Age of the Empire
- "Kashyyyk, l-look, things are really bad down there. The - the Empire´s muscling in on those Wookiees big time."
- ―Greez Dritus talking about the Empire's exploitation of Wookiees
Following the establishment of the Galactic Empire, the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk was blockaded by the Empire. The softening and repeal of anti-slavery laws ultimately led to the Empire classifying the Wookiees as non-sentient. The Empire enslaved the Wookiees not because they were a meaningful threat to the Empire but because their massive, robust physiology allowed them to work long and hard in extreme conditions.
As a result, many Wookiees were enslaved and made to build much of the Imperial war machine, sent to be worked to death in the dangerous spice mines of the planet Kessel, or on construction sites such as the Death Star, though a number escaped this fate. Numerous Wookiees were bred for use in medical experimentation, and some were used as playthings for Grand Moff Lozen Tolruck, Imperial governor of Kashyyyk, who occasionally hunted live Wookiees for sport.
To keep them in line, all of the Wookiees on Kashyyyk were fitted with inhibitor chips that caused them great pain if activated. The Empire also quickly learned the most efficient way of preventing any wide-scale uprisings was by threatening clan and family members, particularly the younglings. Normally, a Wookiee would quite willingly rip a stormtrooper limb from limb regardless of their own safety, but could not bear to see other Wookiees subjected to the agony instead.
Despite these grave circumstances for their race, the Wookiees nonetheless found ways to help others. In the early days of the Empire, the Outer Rim planet of Lasan, home to the Lasat, was brutally sacked and devastated by the Empire for daring to question the new regime. Unable to stand by and watch, many Wookiees went to Lasan and fought the Empire with weapons forged from the wroshyr trees of their homeworld, in many cases giving their own lives to save the Lasats. Because of their actions, a few Lasats (including Garazeb Orrelios) were able to escape the genocide and survive in the wider galaxy.
In 14 BBY, Wookiees who were being held prisoner by the Empire and forced to work at an imperial refinery in Kashyyyk, were freed by the Partisans led by Saw Gerrera and the Padawan Jedi Cal Kestis, who joined them during the attack on the refinery. Kestis went to Kashyyyk in search of Tarfful, a Wookiee chieftain he believed might have information that could be useful in his mission to rebuild the Jedi Order. Kestis left the world while the Partisans searched for Tarfful and returned when he was informed they had found him. Tarfful told Kestis to search the top of the Origin Tree, where he figured out where to go.
During the Age of the Empire, the-then Commodore Thrawn and Lieutenant Commander Eli Vanto discovered evidence that the Empire was transporting enslaved Wookiees after responding to a distress transmission from the troop transport Sempre. The Wookiee slaves were liberated by a task force consisting of the frigate Castilus and two squadrons of V-19 Torrent starfighters, which then attacked the space station Lansend Twenty-Six, where more Wookiee slaves were held. Thrawn commanded the operation to reinforce Baklek Base and forced the insurgents to surrender. When Vanto objected to slavery, Thrawn tried to rationalize the Empire's enslavement of Wookiees.
About fourteen years after the establishment of the Empire, the 212th Attack Battalion led by General Kahdah quelled a Wookiee revolt on Kashyyyk. Civilian travel to the planet was restricted and access was granted only for official government business. Shortly later, the Empire transported several captives including Wullffwarro and his son Kitwarr to the spice mines of Kessel. The Spectres, a rebel cell based on the Outer Rim world of Lothal, rescued the prisoners and escaped Kessel.
Joining the Rebellion
- "Would somebody get this big walking carpet out of my way?"
- ―Princess Leia referring to Chewbacca
During the Galactic Civil War, several Wookiees including Chewbacca and Lohgarra fought for the Alliance to Restore the Republic and its successor government, the New Republic. One year following the Battle of Endor, the Wookiee homeworld had become an Imperial remnant known as Imperial territory G5-623 led by Grand Moff Tolruck. Kashyyyk was later liberated by the New Republic forces. Working with a group of rebels led by Han Solo and Chewbacca, the former Imperial loyalty officer Sinjir Rath Velus, used a hyperspace transceiver to neutralize Tolruck's inhibitor chips. This enabled the Wookiees to rise up en-masse against the Imperial occupiers and take their well-earned revenge, with Grand Moff Tolruck himself being killed by his personal slave, Cracktooth. The Imperial forces attempted to orbital bombard Kashyyyk but were defeated by a New Republic fleet led by Leia Organa and Admiral Ackbar.
Wookiee and New Republic forces then conducted mopping-up operations against the remaining Imperial holdouts on Kashyyyk. During one of these skirmishes, Chewbacca reunited with his son, Lumpawaroo, who had escaped from a slave labor camp run by Commandant Dessard.
New Republic era
During the New Republic era, Kashyyyk's forests including the Black Forest grew back. Many Wookiees including Chewbacca and Chief Karasshki lived in villages. About two years after the Battle of Jakku, the rogue Pau'an surgeon Fyzen Gor began kidnapping and killing Wookiee younglings to use as spare parts for his droid followers, the Original Dozen. Due to his shadowy appearance, he earned the nickname the "Long Man." Chewbacca agreed to help Han Solo and Lando Calrissian retrieve the Phylanx Redux Transmitter in return recovering the limbs of the murdered Wookiees for funeral rites.
Society and culture
- "A Wookiee! Rare you are to the Jedi. Proud, your people must be."
- ―Professor Huyang to Gungi
Wookiees were expert craftsmen who blended off-world technology like blasters and lightsabers with traditional materials such as wood, precious stones, and metals. Most Wookiees carried bowcasters as weaponry, which were handcrafted.Chewbacca's bowcaster broke Wookiee tradition due to its automatic cocking system. Wookiees believed that seeing a can-cell brought good luck, and Wookieees often kept them as pets. The Wookiee people by and large hated Trandoshans, who were renowned as great hunters. The highest way a Wookiee could compliment someone was to groom them. In Wookiee society, loyalty and courage were valued as sacrosanct tenets.It was typical for Wookiees to value honor and friendship above all else. When male Wookiees turned 12 years old, they would undergo initiation rituals to enter adulthood. Wookiees spoke three languages: Shyriiwook, Thykarann, and Xaczik.Shyriiwook had 150 words for "wood" but no word for "artist" because Wookiees viewed their carving skills as a survival skill and not a talent.
Wookiees in the galaxy
- "Wookiees stand out in a crowd."
- ―Lando Calrissian
Some notable Wookiees included Chewbacca, the navigator and long-time companion of Han Solo. Other noteworthy Wookiees including the chief and general Tarfful (who fought alongside Master Yoda during the Battle of Kashyyyk), the warrior Wullffwarro, and his son Kitwarr. One known Force-sensitive Wookiee was the Jedi youngling Gungi, who lived during the Clone Wars. During the Age of the Empire, Krrsantan was a Wookiee who worked as a bounty hunter for both Jabba the Hutt and Darth Vader.
Drokkatta was a Wookiee who served in the Coruscant rebel cell. The Wookiee Greybok played an important role in turning the tide of the Battle of Sevarcos by freeing several rancors, which rampaged the Imperial lines. He later took part in Han Solo and Chewbacca's campaign to liberate Kashyyyk. While serving as a senator in the New Republic's Galactic Senate, Leia Organa once saw two Wookiee commuters in front of her on an automated sidewalk at the New Republic senatorial complex on Hosnian Prime.
Behind the scenes
The word "Wookiee" originated in George Lucas's first movie, THX 1138, in a line ad-libbed by actor Terry McGovern: "I think I just ran over a Wookiee." A Wookiee later appeared through Chewbacca in the first Star Wars film.
In the early versions of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, the second Death Star was to be built in orbit around Kashyyyk. The construction would be done by Wookiee laborers. George Lucas then decided to switch the Death Stars's location to the forest moon of endor and the Wookiees were replaced with Ewoks.
The Wookiees also appeared in the non-canon LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures episode "Peril on Kashyyyk," which premiered on Disney XD on June 27, 2016. In the episode, the scavenging Freemakers family helps Chief Attiburra rescue his son Tantarra from a Trandoshan island fortress.