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"The Wookiees, although primitive compared to us, are surprisingly capable warriors. They're pretty strong, and pick up combat techniques pretty quickly."
Canderous Ordo[10]

The Wookiees, whose name for themselves translated to the People of the Trees, were a species of tall, hairy humanoids that were inhabitants of the planet Kashyyyk. One of the most noteworthy members of the species was Chewbacca, Han Solo's best friend and co-pilot; who played a vital role in the Galactic Civil War and afterwards. A race of arboreal mammals, the Wookiees lived in treehouses nestled in the canopy of the towering wroshyr trees. Despite their fearsome appearance, they were usually gentle, although they were prone to devastating fits of rage when provoked.

Biology and appearance[]

"Would somebody get this big walking carpet out of my way?"
―Princess Leia referring to Chewbacca — (audio) Listen (file info)[18]

A group of three Wookiee males

A race of towering, hairy bipeds, the Wookiees were one of the most recognizable species in the galaxy. They were renowned for their great strength, their intelligence, their loyalty and their short temper.[19] Due to their appearance, they were sometimes referred to as "walking carpets."[18]


"I didn't realize Wookiees had claws like those. Though I suppose I should have. You are arboreal, after all."
Leia Organa Solo[20]

The Wookiees of the jungle planet Kashyyyk were shaggy sentient beings whose countenance was considered impressive by many other species.[21] They were humanoid, with a head, a torso, and four limbs, and they stood 2.1 meters on average.[1] Their upper limbs, or arms, ended with hands[8] sporting four fingers plus an opposable thumb that allowed them to grab things.[22] Being a species of tree climbers, Wookiees had a strong back, dexterous hands and thick calf muscles.[23] For the same evolutionary reasons, they also possessed curved retractable claws that sprouted from hidden sheaths in their fingertips with the flex of a muscle.[24] Their heads featured a pair of forward-facing eyes, the color of which ranged from blue[8] to brown,[12] with some individuals having green,[9] yellow,[10] golden,[11] or red irises.[13] The Wookiees' nose was very sensitive[8] and would provoke some sort of olfactory delirium in the presence of meat.[25] Their mouths were filled with sharp fangs that could puncture even the durable scaly skin of the Trandoshans, their ancestral enemies. The Wookiees were also good swimmers, which was reflected by their powerful thighs.[23]

But their most striking physical feature in the eyes of the non-Wookiees was their uniform coat of water-shedding hair,[23] the color of which ranged from black to brown according to the subspecies. In fact, the word "Wookiee" was a catch-all term referring to a number of related races that could be distinguished primarily by their fur.[7] The most common subspecies were the Rwooks, who came from the region of Rwookrrorro and whose hair was typically brown, red, and chestnut.[3] Although albino Wookiees were rare, they were not unheard of. However, such a birth was generally held to be a bad omen, as white hair did not blend in with the earth tones of their forest surroundings.[26]

Wookiee Female SOC

An adult Wookiee female

They breathed oxygen from Kashyyyk's atmosphere through their lungs, and were among the variety of species that could develop asthma.[27] Their immense lung capacity allowed them to blow their Kashyyyk clarions, a feat that a Human could not accomplish.[23] The Wookiees were also susceptible to the Blackwing virus, an infectious viral agent that attacked biological tissue and transformed its victims into zombies.[28]

The Wookiee's natural habitat was the canopy of the wroshyr trees. Those towering vegetals existed in over 1,000 different varieties, most of which reached kilometers in height,[16] while some only attained 300–400 meters.[29] Wookiee families lived in treehouses nestled in the crowns of the wroshyrs. Those dwellings often consisted of circular structures of unpainted wood mounted around the tree trunks, sometimes with several stories and a veranda.[30] The most luxurious and elaborate houses were built directly into the trees. Villages were held up by branches only, without the help of repulsorlifts or any other modern technology.[20]

Like many other humanoids, the Wookiees had two sexes, male and female. Female Wookiees had six breasts[7] and gave birth to live young, with their gestation period nearly a year long. Wookiee pups were large at birth, averaging slightly less than one meter. After birth, a Wookiee grew very fast, fully conscious and able to walk unassisted within one standard year.[source?] During the course of maturation, the individual would grow to about 2 meters,[21] with exceptionally tall individuals attaining 2.3 meters.[31] However, cases of nanism were rumored to exist,[32] and very old Wookiees tended to shrink, becoming as short as 1.70 meters.[12]

Life cycle[]

Wookiees were long-lived, with a lifespan of several standard centuries. While they outlived many other beings, the Wookiees did not live as long as other species[23] such as the millennial Gen'Dai.[33] Infant Wookiees would remain in the nursery rings, where they learned how to interact within their society and were taught to appreciate Kashyyyk's wildlife. At the end of each school day, the parents would take their pups home so they could create and maintain a sense of family. Later in life, the children would stay home full time with the rest of their kin, and were given their first responsibilities in life in the form of housekeeping chores.[16]

Around the age of twelve, the males would perform an initiation ritual that made them enter young adulthood. In most parts of Kashyyyk, incumbents to the coming-of-age ritual had to gather silk fibers from the center of a carnivorous syren plant.[16] In other regions of the planet, young males took the Test of Ascension, known as hrrtayyk in Wookieespeak.[34] During that ceremony, the youth was expected to unlock his rrakktorr, or inner strength,[17] by learning how to survive in the Kashyyykian Shadowlands, the dangerous ground level of the forests.[34]

From the age of 18, the Wookiees were viewed as full-fledged adults,[14] and were considered in their prime around the age of 200.[8] Throughout this lengthy period, Wookiees were expected to embrace a career and find a regular source of income so they could marry and found a family of their own.[16] Subsequently, Wookiees were qualified as "middle-aged" by 301–350, "old" by 351–399 and "venerable" at 400.[14] Elderly Wookiees were normally cared for and admired for their accumulated wisdom.[16]


"That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their socket when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that."
Han Solo to C-3PO[18]

Wookiees were usually calm, gentle and mild-mannered, but not when they were provoked. They were also known to be sore losers. A Wookiee who lost a bet, or a game, might have torn off the limbs of the person who beat them. It was usually considered wise to avoid upsetting them.

Society and culture[]


Three generations of Rwook

Three generations of Wookiees in Chewbacca's family

Wookiee marriage was based on sexual monogamy. Once married, the couple mated for life and would usually raise two or three pups,[1] although there was no firm rule on that matter: the famous Chewbacca himself begat an only child, Lumpawaroo. It was uncontroversial for a Wookiee father to leave the planet for long periods of time and entrust the education of their offspring to their mate and older kinsmen.[15] The Wookiee society was a patriarchal one, with a complex lineage structure.[21] Nuclear families were regrouped in clanic structures, and a system of inter-clan alliances and enmities existed.[26]

Wookiees greatly valued honor and loyalty. Therefore, their notion of "family" encompassed much more than just blood ties. A part of that most sacred tradition was the social institution of life debt: when a Wookiee's life was saved by someone else, regardless of the species, they would frequently devote themselves to a lifetime of service to their savior and their family. Through the mechanism of the life debt, the People of the Trees used to develop unbreakable bonds with their boon companions and true friends, forming a "honor family."[24]

As regards politics, the numerous cities scattered across the surface of Kashyyyk were each led by a Chieftain,[10] who oversaw the civil and military matters of his community.[23] Those Chieftains, also referred to as Elders, occupied a high position at the local scale, and they were entitled to cancel the celebration of sacred holidays.[35] At planetary level, the entire world was ruled over by a King coming from a patrician family and whose court was held at the Royal City. One of the Wookiee monarch's roles was to determine Kashyyyk's stance in time of interplanetary war.[36] When the Galactic Republic still existed, and Kashyyyk was part of it, the Wookiees were represented before the Galactic Senate on the planet Coruscant. The Wookiee senator was aided in his duties by a staff of Elders who took meetings with him in the Senate Tower.[37]


"Take my advice, kid. Wookiees know how to make homebrew that will put a human on the floor in minutes. I'm sticking to gorimn wine and Gralinyn juice."
Han Solo to Jarik Solo[3]

The People of the Trees were omnivores. While they were perfectly capable of gathering wild plants[7] (like the wasaka berries[15]) or even cultivating domesticated varieties (such as the onion-like chyntuck), their lives in the canopy of Kashyyyk prompted them to consume essentially meat.[7] Wookiee cuisine relied heavily on spices. Because of this, many dishes were not suitable for Humans as they could damage their gullet and stomach. Like many other species, Wookiees consumed potent alcohol-based beverages, including the accarragm, the cortyg brandy, the garrmorl, the grakkyn, and the Thikkiian brandy. Those spirits were too strong for Humans, who would become severely intoxicated after consuming them.[3]

Technology and trade[]

Wookiee Mechanic SM

Wookiees were skilled mechanics.

From an early age, Wookiees were trained to use their dexterous hands for carving. They would learn to fashion everyday objects such as tools, musical instruments and household items.[23] Some would also carve wooden toys, either as gifts for their younglings or just for leisure.[30] An old saying stated: "Give a Wookiee a knife and send him into a forest in the morning, and by evening he would have carved you a table to eat dinner on—and a house to put it in."[27] Whereas some outsiders qualified their works as art, the Wookiees viewed their innate talents as mere survival skills, and they had no word for "artist" in their various languages.[23]

While they appeared to have a low technology level to outsiders, the Wookiees were in fact quite comfortable with modern technology.[24] In fact, their ability to fuse modern conveniences and natural resources was second to none. They could easily mend and maintain modern starcrafts, and were even known to effect temporary repairs of hyperdrives with pieces of hardwood.[23] The wood of the wroshyr tree was so flexible and strong that it could be used to build starship hulls—although in conjunction with deflector shield skins.[38]

Throughout history, the outstanding technical ingenuity of the Wookiees aroused covetousness. Additionally, while distant from Coruscant, Kashyyyk was close to hyperspace routes[23] known only to the Claatuvac Guild, a group of Wookiee cartographers and navigators whose knowledge was a source of envy.[39]

Combat and war[]

"I suggest a new strategy, Artoo: Let the Wookiee win."
―C-3PO, to R2-D2 — (audio) Listen (file info)[18]
Wookiee Warrior TNsR by Chamberlain

A Wookiee warrior armed with a bowcaster and a blaster

Unlike other species like the neighboring Trandoshans[40] or the Yinchorri,[41] the Wookiees were not warlike. When peaceful, they had the reputation of being gentle and benevolent. However, their tempers were fiery, and an infuriated Wookiee could erupt in a fit of berserker rage that only ceased when the source of their anger was damaged to their satisfaction.[21] Though they were feared as opponents, Wookiees did not use any well-defined style when fighting unarmed. To outsiders, it seemed they simply charged forward, swinging their arms and crushing their targets with their massive fists.[24] That reputation did not stop the Wookiee Rrawkee from starting a wrestling academy on the world of Cularin during the Clone Wars.[42] Even more terribly, Wookiees also had the justified reputation of ripping the arms of their enemies out of their sockets, which was known to occur in instances of losing a game. That state of racial rage served as the basis of the deal-slang expression "wookinate," which referred to the rendering harmless an enemy using excessive force—obviously referring to the great physical strength that provided the essence of Wookiee combat.[43] In addition, an exhausted Wookiee could be considered even more dangerous in a fight than a fully rested one.[44] Solo at one point when writing notes in the Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide implied that Wookiees had enough physical strength to rip a stormtrooper's head off even while the helmet was latched on.[45]

However, despite their great physical strength and ferocious tempers,[24] the Wookiees were not willing to fight for trivial pretexts. When arguing in public, two Wookiees would engage into a duel of stomping and posturing. Whichever of the two fighters made the strongest impression was considered to have won the argument. Still, the influence of the crowd taking sides would sometimes infuriate the contenders, turning the otherwise harmless stomping competition into a real fight.[35] Even when engaging in real combat, the Wookiees held true to their code of honor, under which claws were never to be used for fighting. A Wookiee who used his or her claws for combat would be labeled a "madclaw" and exiled.[46] Some were also charged by tradition of killing those members of their kind that engaged in the practice of using their claws in combat, as the act dishonored their race.[47]

Contrary to their rudimentary methods of hand-to-hand combat, the Wookiees used their craft to produce unique quality weapons. They typically eschewed standard blasters and grenades in favor of bladed weapons, such as ryyk blades.[48] Their trademark, however, was the powerful bowcasters—a crossbow-like, single-fire weapon, which physically weaker species could not use effectively.[49]

Wookiee personal weapons[]


The Wookiees spoke an array of dialects collectively known as Wookiee language, all of which consisted in a combination of barks, roars, moans and growls. The most common was Shyriiwook, often nicknamed Wookieespeak in Basic, the literal meaning of which was tongue of the tree people. As a trade language, Shyriiwook was the most well-known Wookiee dialect outside Kashyyyk, and most strangers assumed that there was only one Wookiee tongue. Other known dialects were Xaczik, spoken on the Wartaki Islands,[3] and Thykarann, which was richer in technical vocabulary.[17] The construction of their vocal apparatus, however, prevented the Wookiees from speaking Galactic Basic Standard, or any other language that involved a high degree of vocal nuance. Nevertheless, they were quick learners and could easily grasp the various foreign languages they encountered.[50]


Early history[]

"But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid."
"That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that."
―Han Solo to C-3PO — (audio) Listen (file info)[18]
Wookiee warrior dance

A Wookiee warrior ritual dance

The Wookiees were largely believed to have originated from the planet Kashyyyk, which was part of the Kashyyyk system in the Mytaranor sector of the Mid Rim. However, various pieces of lore had different versions on how they became the dominant species of their world. According to Wookiee legend, the first Wookiees on Kashyyyk were visitors, either in the form of pioneers or refugees. Their own records were vague on the subject and they rarely spoke on this topic. Conventional wisdom held the view that the Wookiees were simply the most capable climbers in a hostile ecosystem that was full of predators. Their capacity to move higher up the trees allowed them to avoid their natural predators helping them to not only survive but even evolve further. Despite either view, no records suggested that there was ever a time when the Wookiees did not populate the surface of Kashyyyk.[16] Some reports indicated that Wookiees evolved on their homeworld around 2,000,000 BBY where they established dominance in their ecosystem as climbers of the wroshyr trees.[1]

Their world was one of the many planets that fell under the dominion of the Infinite Empire and its surface was terraformed by the Rakata for agricultural purposes. However, the collapse of their empire left the machines unattended and resulted in the abnormally large foliage with it being theorized that these machines led to the accelerated evolution of various native species.[51] During the reign of the Infinite Empire, a number of Wookiees were taken from their homeworld and transported to the Rakatan Archipelago where slaves populated worlds such as Malata. Inbreeding amongst these slaves led to sickly genetic deformities with the Wookiees of Malata displaying a stoop-shouldered, hairless form with long front incisors used to gnaw timber thickets.[52]

Following the Great Sith War, the planet Kashyyyk was discovered by the Czerka Corporation whose investments into the Galactic Republic's rebuilding program led to the Galactic Senate awarding them this world. This was under the justification that they had discovered the planet and thus were the rightful owners of it. After occupying Kashyyyk, Czerka declared that that there were no sentient inhabitants to Kashyyyk and ignored the native inhabitant's designation of the planet.[53] They named the planet first "G5-623" and then, after a poll of stockholders, "Edean."[51] Once they took control, the corporation went against the wishes of the Wookiees and even began allowing slavers to hold a free reign over the native inhabitants. As the planet was deemed to hold little value, it escaped the devastation of the Mandalorian Wars and the Jedi Civil War with only Czerka maintaining control over it. Their occupation was brutal and oppressive with the company treating the Wookiees as less than sentient whilst exploiting the world's native population and resources in order to gain profit.[53] The corporation further ensured its foothold on the populace by making use of collaborators amongst the Wookiees and managed to get the support of Chuundar, who had risen to the position of Chieftain. Czerka control of "Edean" was disrupted when, in 3956 BBY, the enslaved Wookiee populace overthrew the local corporate headquarters with the help of Revan and drove all outsiders off the planet.[51]

Wookiee Guard

A Wookiee guard with bowcaster and traditional armor

Several thousand years before the Battle of Yavin, Kashyyyk was visited by scouts from the neighboring world of Trandosha who were seeking sites to form new colonies. The Trandoshans were driven off by the Wookiees and forced to leave a single starship behind, which gave the inhabitants of Kashyyyk the necessary jump-start in order to reach the stars. The inquisitive Wookiees easily disassembled the vessel, analyzed the components and eventually replicated it. This led to the first Wookiee explorers setting off into the black depths of space. In time, their explorations led them into contact with Corellian traders who had established trade relations with the Trandoshans but were not willing to ally with them against the Wookiees. This in turn led to trade negotiations between the Corellians and Wookiees but quickly devolved into the former exploiting the latter. An end to this state of affairs came when the Alderaanian Diplomatic Corps became involved in the incident who petitioned the Galactic Republic for a Senate seat to be created for the inhabitants of Kashyyyk, paving the way for it to becoming a member of the Galactic Republic.[16]

After becoming a member of the Republic, the Wookiees dissolved the unfair treaty with the Corellians and formed a new equitable trade agreement with them. In addition, they began making treaties with other worlds and new species; this saw them purchasing hyperdrive technology from the Duros, opening Wookiee cultural studies programs in Alderaan's finest universities and trading with the Verpine for the state-of-the-art manufacturing processes. Within the Senate, many politicians spoke admirably of the "wisdom of the Wookiees," and they were perceived as a race that were in touch with The Force, as they had integrated nature and technology on their homeworld. Kashyyyk became a distinguished member of the galactic community.[16]

Rise of the Empire[]

"Go, I will. Good relations with the Wookiees, I have."
―Jedi Master Yoda[54]

Between 59 BBY and 56 BBY,[55] Wookiee explorers in the Kashyyyk system rediscovered Alaris Prime, a moon that had been hidden from galactic view by the gas giant Alaris. Represented in the Galactic Senate by the Chieftain Attichitcuk, the Wookiees sought the rights to colonize the moon, meeting opposition from the Trade Federation who sought Alaris Prime for their own ends. After two decades the Wookiees were successful and Attichitcuk was named as the leader of the colonists,[56] departing for Alaris Prime between 39 BBY and 36 BBY[57] along with his son Chewbacca and nephew Shoran. The Wookiees were guided in the colonization by Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn who instructed them in gathering resources and doing battle with the predatory gundarks. While preparing to eliminate the gundarks from Alaris Prime entirely Chewbacca encountered B1-Series battle droids of the Trade Federation, who had secretly and illegally established a presence on Alaris Prime. The Wookiees fought several battles against the Federation before driving them off the moon entirely in the Battle for Alaris Prime, though the Federation's Trandoshan ally Pekt escaped and still schemed to secure valuable Wookiee pelts.[56]

Tarkov Sees Sep Army

Jaccoba and Tarkov watch as the Separatists invade their planet.

At least one Wookiee, Tyvokka, became part of the Jedi Order, and by 32 BBY, Kashyyyk had diplomatic relations with the planet Naboo.[58] During the last decades of the Republic, Senator Yarua represented both Kashyyyk and Trandosha, home of the reptilian Trandoshans. However, the Trandoshans resented their Wookiee neighbors; after some of them allied with the Trade Federation in the colonization of Alaris Prime, they also attempted to assassinate Yarua in 32 BBY. In 23 BBY, a Wookiee vessel was attacked over a moon of Trandosha, resulting in a Wookiee blockade of Trandosha. Peace talks to resolve the issue were conducted 22 BBY, under the mediation of Jedi Master Oppo Rancisis, but failed when it was revealed that the Trandoshans were pushing for Senatorial representation with Trade Federation backing.

During the Clone Wars, the Wookiees attempted to remain neutral at first. It was only after the death of Prince Rikummee at the hands of Separatist droids that King Grakchawwaa led his people into the war on the side of the Republic. Later during the Clone Wars, the Confederacy invaded Kashyyyk. Conquering the planet would prove an asset since it would enable the Separatists to control hyperspace route planning and use the Wookiee's secret routes to disrupt galactic trade and communication. In response, the Republic dispatched a task force led by the longtime Wookiee-friend Master Yoda to defend Kashyyyk. There, a combined force of clone troopers and Wookiees repulsed the Separatist droid invaders and their Trandoshan allies at the Battle of Kashyyyk. However, victory was short-lived. With the rise of the Galactic Empire, the Jedi were branded enemies of the Republic and hunted down by the New Order. The former clone troopers, now known as stormtroopers, then took over Kashyyyk and placed it under martial law. In response, the Wookiees rebelled against their new oppressors.

In 19 BBY, the Empire enslaved the Wookiees and bombed their cities on Kashyyyk. Any survivors that attempted to escape the beleaguered world were hunted down by the Trandoshans.[1] It was in fact a Trandoshan official who was responsible for convincing the Empire to exploit the Wookiees as slave labor due to their reputation for being a powerful species.[59] This chain of events saw a joint venture between the Galactic Empire and the Blackscale Clan of Trandoshans with the two establishing the Avatar Orbital Platform that was used in the establishment of transportation as well as sale of Wookiee slaves.[60] During the reign of the Empire, word from Imperial Navy Command claimed that the Wookiee's were descended from a herd of banthas that crashed on the planet from a Neimoidian trader ship. When the Trade Federation traced the tracking homing beacon, they discovered a new species on Kashyyyk who were the Wookiees.[61]

Later history[]

"Where are you taking this… thing?"
Shann Childsen on Death Star I — (audio) Listen (file info)[18]

Chewbacca, a fearless Wookiee warrior

At the advice of the Trandoshans, the Empire enslaved the Wookiees for their strength. Wookiee captives were used for countless Imperial projects including the Maw Installation and the Death Stars. However, because of their devotion to their homeworld, many Wookiees would evade the Imperial garrison to revisit their beloved forests for important Wookiee holidays, such as Life Day.

After the Battle of Endor, the Wookiees were liberated from slavery by the Alliance of Free Planets. The Nagai also attempted to enslave the species, though they were repulsed by the New Republic. Sadly, the peace was short-lived. The Empire, having licked its wounds, quickly reestablished a presence on Kashyyyk and enslaved the Wookiees once more. Around 5 ABY Han Solo and Chewbacca assisted in inciting a revolution among the populace, helped in part by Lando Calrissian, Rogue Squadron, and Admiral Gial Ackbar, who took on Grand Admiral Peccati Syn in a pitched fleet battle in the nearby Sumitra sector.

Sometime during the New Republic era, the Sith Lord X1 created a force of Wookiee clones that he used to fight X2 and the New Republic.

The Wookiees were represented by Kerrithrarr in the New Republic Senate, and Kashyyyk became key signatory and member world of the Inner Council. The planet also welcomed trade, and its city of Thikkiiana became a major exporter of computer technology. However, this made it the target of the agents of the Second Imperium in 23 ABY. A task force under Zekk raided Thikkiiana's computer stores for use by the Second Imperium in its war against the New Republic.


A Wookiee is angered by a Bothan while a Zabrak watches.

During the Yuuzhan Vong War, the Wookiees suffered a great loss when Chewbacca was killed on the planet Sernpidal whilst helping refugees flee from the ruined world. A memorial service was held on Kashyyyk in honor for the fallen hero. As the Yuuzhan Vong continued their push towards the Core Worlds, they passed near Kashyyyk though it was spared from their usual conquests. This was despite the fact that the world contained a wide variety of deadly lifeforms would have served as useful genetic stock for the Shapers. Military strategists in the New Republic believed that whilst the Yuuzhan Vong would have used the deadly predators they lacked the time or personnel needed for this task of capturing live specimens. It was believed that once the Yuuzhan Vong Empire had consolidated its holdings, it would have eventually turned its attention to the Wookiee homeworld. This led to the Wookiees preparing its defenses in case of any incursions to Kashyyyk.[16]

After the Battle of Yuuzhan'tar, celebrations took place on the planet. At the time of the Second Galactic Civil War, the Wookiees remained loyal to the Galactic Alliance. This remained in effect until Jacen Solo's militant actions turned the Wookiees against him and led to them joining the Confederation as well as being allies of the Jedi Coalition. During the conflict, the Wookiees participated in the Battle of Kashyyyk where they fought against the Galactic Alliance.

Darth Krayt's Galactic Empire saw danger in Wookiees, but knew better than to enslave the entire species like the previous Galactic Empire did. Instead it cut them off from the rest of the galaxy by having Kashyyyk blockaded and all Wookiee spaceports and shipyards destroyed. No Wookiees were allowed to leave or visit Kashyyyk without an Imperial order and HoloNet transmissions to the planet were completely cut off. Supplies and traders still could come and go, after swearing under penalty of death not to provide Wookiees with information of the state of the rest of the galaxy, but the Wookiees themselves were completely isolated and largely left alone.[62]

Behind the scenes[]


Concept art of a Wookiee Jedi

The name "Wookiee" originated in George Lucas's film THX 1138. In a line ad-libbed by an actor, a character says, "I think I just ran over a wookiee on the expressway."

There were many early versions of Chewbacca's appearance, including one concept artwork that eventually became the basis of the Lasat. His final appearance in the movie is based on a 1976 piece of concept art by Ralph McQuarrie, which in turn was based on an illustration by John Schoenherr for George R.R. Martin's novelette "And Seven Times Never Kill Man!," published in the July 1975 issue of Analog. According to McQuarrie, George Lucas told him that the drawing was actually from the 1930s. The Schoenherr illustration also includes a weapon that became an inspiration for Chewbacca's bowcaster.[63]


John Schoenherr's illustration (left) and Ralph McQuarrie's Chewbacca concept art (right)

Wookiees were present in the Star Wars saga from George Lucas's earliest drafts. In many early versions of the story which eventually became A New Hope, a crucial battle takes place on a planet full of Wookiees. This idea resurfaced in early versions of Return of the Jedi,[64] though Ewoks were used instead; in the DVD commentary for Return of the Jedi, Lucas stated that he changed this because he couldn't reconcile the "primitive," Stone Age race needed for the story with Chewbacca's strong technological know-how. In Revenge of the Sith, the long-awaited Wookiee army finally appeared on screen.

George Lucas once decreed that there can be no more Wookiee Jedi in the Expanded Universe.[65][66] Notably, Obsidian Entertainment was forbidden to make Hanharr a Dark Jedi because of this restriction. Kirlocca, Lowbacca, and Tyvokka are the only existing Wookiee Jedi characters (though an unnamed Wookiee in Edge of Victory: Conquest appears to be an unknown Jedi student rather than Lowbacca), as they were developed before this policy was enacted. The Dawn of the Jedi series which was published years after the policy was enacted introduced the Wookiee Je'daii Ruhr. Lucas himself went back on the "no Wookiee Jedi" rule by including a Wookiee youngling, Gungi, in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "The Gathering" and its proceeding story arc.

The "Wookiee" was one of the original twenty-four character templates used by the Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, first published in the first edition rulebook.[67]

Fans of jam bands are sometimes classified as "Wooks" or "Wookiees" due to their stereotype of having unshaven faces, long hair, and lack of personal hygiene.

Sometimes people with hypertrichosis are said to have Wookism or Wookieeism, though not a commonly accepted term.


Actors preparing to play Wookiees in Revenge of the Sith

Wookiees bear a notable resemblance to the cryptozoological phenomena of the Sasquatch, with one issue of non-canonical Star Wars Tales implying that Chewbacca is the inspiration for the legend. In the story Into the Great Unknown, Han is forced to take the Millennium Falcon into a blind hyperspace jump and crash lands on an unknown planet. Han is killed by the arrows of indigenous warriors but Chewbacca survives and lives in the forest. 126 years later, a Dr. Jones and his friend "Shorty" find the ship while investigating the area for reputed sightings of the Sasquatch, but leave after Jones finds something disturbingly familiar about Han's remains.

Chewbacca being linked with Sasquatch was likewise a reference to an aspect of filming Return of the Jedi, where Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca's actor, had to be escorted by people wearing brightly colored vests while in costume so he would not be mistaken for Sasquatch by people who stumbled onto the set.

The video game Knights of the Old Republic speaks of a historical Wookiee figure known as Bacca. Apparently, he was the first to discover the existence of life outside Kashyyyk, a finding caused by a probe crashing into the Shadowlands. He forged a blade from the wreckage, a weapon which still appears in Wookiee folklore and myth.

In Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds and its expansion pack, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns, the Wookiees were shown with their own aquatic fleet, starfighters, and various mechs/heavy weapons/vehicles, as well as using various small arms besides their bowcasters (such as missiles and thermal detonators).

In early publications, the word "Wookiee" was often spelled as "Wookie."

The online Star Wars wiki Wookieepedia is named after the species.



A group of Wookiee warriors

Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 The Essential Guide to Alien Species
  2. Alien Encounters
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Rebel Dawn
  4. The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. III, p. 117 ("rwook")
  5. Star Wars: The Old Republic
  6. Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 The Official Star Wars Fact File 12 (WOO1-4, Wookiees)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary
  9. 9.0 9.1 Databank title Salporin in the Databank (content now obsolete; backup link)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  11. 11.0 11.1 The Essential Guide to Characters
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Databank title Attichitcuk in the Databank (content now obsolete; backup link)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Ultimate Alien Anthology
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 The Wookiee Storybook
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 16.7 16.8 16.9 Secrets of Kashyyyk
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Tyrant's Test
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  19. Gal-icon Character Creation Guide on the official Star Wars Galaxies website (content now obsolete; backup link)
  20. 20.0 20.1 Heir to the Empire
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Databank title Wookiee in the Databank (content now obsolete; backup link)
  22. SWGTCGsmall Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card GameThreat of the Conqueror (Card: Fake ID) (backup link)
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.6 23.7 23.8 23.9 Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded
  25. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi novel
  26. 26.0 26.1 Chewbacca (2000) 1
  27. 27.0 27.1 Death Star
  28. Death Troopers
  29. Star Wars: Complete Locations
  30. 30.0 30.1 The Star Wars Holiday Special
  31. Databank title Chewbacca in the Databank (content now obsolete; backup link)
  32. The Final Exit
  33. The Clone Wars Campaign Guide
  34. 34.0 34.1 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. II, p. 65 ("Hrrtayyk")
  35. 35.0 35.1 The Kashyyyk Depths'
  36. Deep Forest
  37. Inside the Worlds of Star Wars: Episode I
  38. The Essential Guide to Warfare
  39. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Incredible Cross-Sections
  40. The New Essential Guide to Alien Species
  41. Darth Plagueis
  42. For Fun and Profit
  43. SWAJsmall "Tinian on Trial" — Star Wars Adventure Journal 4
  44. The Power Gem
  45. Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide
  46. Bounties to Die For
  47. Shadows of the Empire Sourcebook
  48. The Official Star Wars Fact File 71 (RYY1-4, Ryyk Blades)
  49. Databank title Wookiee bowcaster in the Databank (content now obsolete; backup link)
  50. The Star Wars Sourcebook
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  52. The Unknown Regions
  53. 53.0 53.1 Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
  54. Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  55. The New Essential Chronology places the Alaris Prime colonial war between 39 BBY and 36 BBY, and as Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds states that the negotiations to colonize it took place over twenty years, Alaris Prime's rediscovery must have taken place between 59 BBY and 56 BBY.
  56. 56.0 56.1 Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
  57. The New Essential Chronology
  58. Star Wars: Invasion of Theed Adventure Game
  59. The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons
  60. Star Wars Galaxies: Rage of the Wookiees
  61. Pax Empirica—The Wookiee Annihilation
  62. Legacy Era Campaign Guide
  63. George Lucas Stole Chewbacca, But It's Okay on binarybonsai.com (archived from the original on October 9, 2010)
  64. StarWars Much to Learn You Still Have: 8 Things You Might Not Know About Wookiees on StarWars.com (backup link)
  65. HyperspaceIcon Star Wars Insider #79 online supplement: Wookiees: No Trivia Too Small on Hyperspace (content removed from StarWars.com and unavailable)
  66. Dhlogo Shouldn't there be a Wookiee Jedi? on Dark Horse Message Boards. Posted by Randy Stradley on May 8, 2005, 14:37 (content now obsolete; backup link)
  67. Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game

External links[]