All You Could Ever Want To Know About Wookiees
As a child, Chewbacca was by far my favorite character of the Star Wars universe. He was strong, furry, and wore his belt over his shoulder. I always played Star Wars Battlefront on Kashyyyk, and Episode III was a dream come true seeing his home world come to life. Below are some of the coolest and most interesting things I could find about this remarkable race. Why? I did it all for the Wookie.
There Are Many Sub Species of Wookiee…
Wookiee is actually a catch all term. There are several different species of Wookiee, but all of them share similar traits. All Wookiees have fur, of course, but varying shades of fur depending on what region they reside in. The Rwook are the most common type of Wookiee and are distinguished by their forest toned fur, similar to that of Chewbacca. Occasionally there are Wookiee born with albino fur. This is considered taboo among the Wookiee race and often seen as a bad omen. These Wookiees are unable to conceal themselves in the forest, which in turn reveals the location of other Wookiees to predators or enemies.
Wookiees Know Galactic Basic and All Other Languages In The Galaxy
They are physically unable, however, to speak any of them. Wookiee vocal chords make it impossible for them to form any type of language minus their own primary language, Shyriiwook, and its derivatives. That being said, Wookiees' ability to learn quickly means that as a community they are at least familiar with all languages in the galaxy. There is a famous Wookiee by the name of Ralrracheen who, due to a speech impediment, could speak Galactic basic. His disability amongst his own people allowed him to eventually become a galactic senator to the Republic.
Wookiees Live In Trees…
We all knew this, we saw it in the movies. Did we know why, though? Kashyyyk is a very dangerous planet to live on. The Wookiees, to keep larger predators (and sometimes plant life) from destroying their homes and eating their kind, built in the trees. The housing also serves as a tactical advantage against invaders as Wookiees are adept at climbing.
Wookiees Can Be Force Sensitive
Wookiees have served in the Jedi order, but their force sensitivity is far lower than any other species in the galaxy. Once every hundred years a Wookiee will be born with force sensitivity, and as luck would have it Chewbacca’s nephew Lowbacca would train under Luke Skywalker to become a Jedi. Combined with his far superior strength and intellect, Lowbacca fought in several wars and donned a bronze colored lightsaber... which is pretty bitchin.
Wookiees Consider Age 200 To Be “Their Prime”
Much like dogs, they are fully functioning and independent by age one. Often the education of younger Wookiees is left to the elder men, as the fathers of the Wookiees typically leave the planet for long periods of time to work. Most Wookiees on average live to be 400 to 500 years old, but are considered full-fledged adults at age 18. A common right of passage amongst Wookiee tribes is harvesting fibers from the carnivorous Syren plant. Wookiees who successfully (with or without the help of friends) harvest fibers are honored for their bravery and celebrated within their tribes. Wookiees who reach age 400 often go back to live with relatives and are cared for and revered for their wisdom in the community.
Interesting sidebar...this is likely why Chewbacca does not show many signs of aging as compared to Han Solo in the most recent Star Wars trailer.
Wookiees Can Hold Their Liquor
If a Wookiee buys you a drink, politely decline... as you’ll probably need a stomach pump after. Wookies have a much higher alcohol tolerance and need specific drinks to feel inebriated. Wookiee alcohol is brewed on Kashyyyk in two varieties. The first variety is for Wookiee consumption, and the other is watered down and suitable for other races to consume. Cortyg brandy in particular sells for a high price around the galaxy. When they aren’t really feeling the liquor, expect to see a Wookiee crack open a Garrmorl, which is a beer made with alcohol stock and ground bone.
Wookiees Are Incredibly Handy
While they live a rather simple lifestyle, Wookiees quickly learn most modern technologies. They are sought out in the mechanical world as they are able to quickly learn the ins and outs of various machinery and fix them (albeit somewhat crudely). Wookiee furniture is valued amongst the Galaxy as art and often purchased for a high price. Most Wookiees resent this notion, as their race does not have a concept of “art” and merely constructs furniture for practicality and survival.
Wookiees Have An Extreme Honor Code
Wookiees are an incredibly honorable species. Even in war, the use of their retractable claws is considered incredibly dishonorable and can result in immediate exile from the community. Wookiees believe in life debt. Chewbacca was saved by Han Solo from the Empire and, despite having a family, was expected to carry his debt to Solo throughout his life. This life debt remains the same within family as distant relatives will move in together to care for each other.
George R.R. Martin Had A Hand In Creating The First Wookiee
The original design for Chewbacca, and the Wookiees as a whole, was created by designer Ralph McQuarrie after seeing an illustration in a George R.R. Martin novelette. The drawing for “And Seven Times Never Kill A Man” was drawn by John Schoenherr and featured a very rough drawing of what would eventually become Chewbacca’s Wookiee bowcaster.