I have a question

And it’s about 30 years too late, but what the hell. The damn movie’s on right now.

So, in Star Wars, at the whole medal ceremony thingie at the end when Leia is giving out medals for the destruction of the Death Star —

Why in the fuck doesn’t Chewbacca get one? He was only piloting the Millenium Falcon while Han was up in the gun turret. But no, they just marched him up the stairs in front of everyone and then — psych! — didn’t give him a damn medal.

Unless Wookies are like Jehovah’s Witnesses or something and don’t, you know, do medals and awards. Though if that were the case, they probably wouldn’t do holidays, either, and we know they do. Or at least holidays involving Bea Arthur.

Help me out here.


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42 Responses to I have a question

  1. A Pang says:

    “Spacism,” declares my boyfriend, who’s been ranting about this particular injustice for years.

    (For the uninitiate: space racism.)

  2. Erin M says:

    I just watched it again a couple days ago, and I kinda wondered about that, too. (Star Wars is a Christmas movie darn it, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!) For a less nefarious explanation, maybe Chewie decided not to become a part of the Rebel army the way Han and Luke did, so he wasn’t eligible for the medal or something? And there’s some rule about handing out military and civilian medals at the same ceremony? Huh.

  3. zuzu says:

    my boyfriend, who’s been ranting about this particular injustice for years.

    Oh, good. I’m not the only one.

  4. Henry says:

    The same reason R2 and the other droids didn’t get one. He’s the help, not the hero. Kind of like giving a golf trophy to a caddy. At least thats how I reckon it went.

  5. r4d20 says:

    Its Anti-Wookiism

  6. zuzu says:

    The same reason R2 and the other droids didn’t get one.

    And let’s not forget the few surviving pilots who took part in the raid.

  7. Reb says:

    My crack pot, made up on the spot theory (though I truly think it’s an injustice) is that Chewwie had sworn a vow to serve (-? partner? befriend? whatever) Han, when Han had saved him (or his family/planet/something, I don’t recall the backstory very well) and so maybe he was willing to turn down the honor as he’d done it as part of his duty to Han and not out of an interest in the Rebellion itself.

    …Actually, I just went to check his origin at Wikipedia, and found this:

    The fact that Chewbacca apparently does not receive a medal in the concluding ceremony in A New Hope bothered many fans. This was corrected outside regular Star Wars continuity, after a fashion in 1997, when Chewbacca won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the MTV Movie Awards. Chewbacca, played by Peter Mayhew, appeared on stage to a standing ovation and was given a medal from Carrie Fisher. It should be noted that in the novelization of A New Hope (ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, credited to George Lucas), Leia did give Chewbacca a medal, but she had to strain to do so. Chewbacca is the third fictional character to win the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award. The other two are Jason Voorhees and Godzilla, in that order.

    My guess, then, is that the reason he didn’t get it in the film is because Carrie Fisher is a very short woman (seriously, watch as she, Luke, and Han all walk down the hall arm-in-arm, she barely comes up to their shoulders) and for the sake of avoiding the awkward visual of her having to stand on something or him ducking a lot, they skipped it.

  8. zuzu says:

    But they were on a staircase!

  9. kadath says:

    I like this explanation.

  10. norbizness says:

    Princess Leia: Will someone get this big walking carpet out of my way?

    Han Solo: You bigoted, elitist bitch! This star system was built by Wookies!

    [other altered quotes here]

  11. Bitter Scribe says:

    Maybe there’s no place to pin it, and he doesn’t want it clipped to his hair or fur or whatever that stuff on his chest is.

  12. They could have put it on a chain for him.

  13. Soren says:

    Here in Denmark we still have a monarchy, and though it is customary that our cabinet gets medals from the queen after they have served for a specific time, and members of parliament often get some to, some parties, the largest of these being the social democrats, do not accept medals or knighthoods given by the queen.

    I like to think that Chewie is a republican (not as in the US party of course), in the way that he is against the monarchy represented by the princess. Remember that it was not until later Lucas invented the whole idea that Leia was an elected official, in the first Starwars, she was the heir apparent, the offspring of the true princess by a knight.

    So while Han was a unprincipled scoundrel, always ready to sell out to the highest bidder, Chewbacca was a proud democrat, joining forces with the monarchy only to defeat the greater foe, but not ready to acknowledge Leias right to rule!

  14. Anna says:

    Kadath, that is the most fan-wanky explanation to sync up the two trilogies I have ever read.

    I love it. More please? :)

  15. Sara no H. says:

    Maybe he’s allergic?

  16. nerdlet says:

    Leia doesn’t get a medal either. And she, you know, did stuff. Kinda. I think. I mean, maybe she did something once or twice.

  17. antiprincess says:

    I thought Chewbacca was female.
    not the actor – the character.

  18. twig says:

    And let’s not forget the few surviving pilots who took part in the raid.

    Were there any besides Wedge? I remember thinking that if you really had a death wish, piloting an X-Wing seemed like the way to go.

    I mean, I think Wedge only survived the entire thing by accident.

  19. Magis says:

    Where would you pin it?

  20. zuzu says:

    He’s got that sash thing.

    Remember that it was not until later Lucas invented the whole idea that Leia was an elected official, in the first Starwars, she was the heir apparent, the offspring of the true princess by a knight.

    Yeah, I never did get that. If you’re going to elect royalty, why elect a teenager?

  21. Sniper says:

    I can’t help you but I have to say that posts like these are one of the reasons I love this blog.

  22. nihilix says:

    Given that the medal scene was taken from Triumph of the Will, Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda flick, perhaps Lucas only awarded as many medals as were awarded in Triumph.

    Jest a thought – mebbe someone should dig around YouTube and see if they can provide visual proof (or disproof)

  23. Roy says:

    Yeah, I never did get that. If you’re going to elect royalty, why elect a teenager?

    Why, indeed?

    Seriously, though- was she the elected official of Aldeeran, or was she just elected to the Senate? I can’t remember, but for some reason, I thought she was elected to the Senate, but was still the heir to the throne.

    Stupid Lucas.

  24. Roy says:

    And stupid me.
    Alderaan. Not Aldeeran.

  25. Gabriel Malor says:

    Roy, you’re right. Leia was a senator (elected) and a princess (adopted) of Alderaan. It wasn’t until the new trilogy that Lucas came up with the wacky elected royal office on Naboo.

    WRT Chewie not getting a medal, I don’t know, but I’m glad that people are asking the question.

  26. Bruce says:

    Bea Arthur – hunh?

    Why the gratuitous swipe at a prominent feminist of good character and accomplishment?

    Hell, I am not even a feminist and this offends me. Where am I – RedState?

  27. zuzu says:

    I’m sorry, Bruce, have you *seen* the Star Wars Holiday Special?

  28. piny says:

    I’m sorry, Bruce, have you *seen* the Star Wars Holiday Special?

    Word. It’s not our responsibility to educate you, Bruce.

    Although I love me some Bea Arthur.

  29. piny says:

    Hee:

    George Lucas famously attempted (and failed) to buy up all master copies of this special to ensure it was never broadcast again.

  30. zuzu says:

    I saw that when I was 10. I’m still not over it.

  31. piny says:

    You should spearhead a class action suit, then.

  32. Bruce says:

    Sorry. Heard one too many right-winger smack Bea Arthur for being a confident feminist.

    (Bruce switches to decaf, walks quietly to corner, sits, bothers no one.)

  33. Mnemosyne says:

    My brother has many faults (his idolization of Ronald Reagan being one of the biggest) but for Christmas, he gave us a burned copy of the “Star Wars” Christmas special, complete with a custom cover.

    Best. Christmas. Ever.

  34. Armagh444 says:

    Why in the fuck doesn’t Chewbacca get one?

    Oh, they intended to, until Lucas realized the only way Carrie Fisher was going to be able to put a medal around Peter Mayhew’s neck unless she stood on a stool.

  35. Roy says:

    Oh, they intended to, until Lucas realized the only way Carrie Fisher was going to be able to put a medal around Peter Mayhew’s neck unless she stood on a stool.

    Heh.
    And goodness knows we wouldn’t want to ruin the movies by having the wookie bend over to accecpt the medal, or having her hand it to him or something. It’d be a disaster.
    Like having one of the Big Bads suffering a serious whooping cough, or having burp and fart jokes thrown throughout.
    Oh.
    Wait.
    ;)

  36. Marksman2000 says:

    You should try your hand at writing fiction, Zuzu.

  37. Nomie says:

    Funny coincidence: Denis Lawson, who played Wedge Antilles, is the uncle of Ewan McGregor, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy. And Lawson was McGregor’s inspiration for pursuing acting as a career.

  38. Elayne Riggs says:

    Easy. Read Lance Mannion’s Star Wars analysis first. In the mythos as he defines it, Chewie is a squire, not a knight.

  39. Jesurgislac says:

    Because Chewbacca was based on Lucas’s dog, and it never occurred to Lucas that anyone would want the dog to get a medal.

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  41. BetaCandy says:

    I’m gonna go with: “for the same reason Lucas didn’t think to put any people of color in the first movie, and didn’t do a helluva lot better with the second after people pointed it out.”

    You can take the boy out of Modesto, but… well, you know.

  42. Erika says:

    I’m watching The Empire Strikes Back right now and, speaking of annoying things about the trilogy, why is it that Luke is more concerned about confronting Vader than rescuing his friends? What a bastard.

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