George Lucas got himself in a great position in the early days of Star Wars, ensuring that he’d always have the chance to control the characters and worlds he created. Of course, when the first movie became the best thing since polystarch bread, Lucas reaped the rewards.
Lucas is Star Wars and, for decades, it was a case of whatever he says goes in terms of the best Star Wars characters. When you settle down to watch the Star Wars movies in order (for the millionth time, naturally), you’re delving into a world designed and built from the ground up by Lucas.
That influence extended to the sartorial choices of the Star Wars cast and, particularly, the best Star Wars aliens. And when it came to Chewbacca, Lucas was very clear in his conversations with the studio: let the Wookiee be naked.
Looking back at the series with Associated Press (via Space.com), Mark Hamill explained that 20th Century Fox – now owned by Disney – wasn’t keen on the idea of the hulking creature running around naked except for his trademark bandolier.
“I remember the memos from 20th Century Fox,” Hamill said. “‘Can you put a pair of lederhosen on the Wookiee?’ All they could think of was: ‘This character has no pants on!’ This went back and forth. They did sketches of him in culottes and baggy shorts.”
The AP report went on to explain that it was Lucas who finally convinced the studio that the hero of Kashyyyk should be allowed to walk around in his most comfortable state. After all, there’s enough fur there to cover up anything untoward. Not that we know enough about Wookiee biology to know what would need covering.
Hamill shared some of this concept art on Twitter (we won’t call it X) in 2021, remarking on how bizarre it was that this was such a sticking point for the studio amid all of the strange stuff going into one of the best science fiction movies ever made.
Ultimately, Lucas won out and went on to make some of the best movies of all time, complete with a naked Wookiee. We can’t imagine ever seeing Chewbacca in clothes and certainly the idea of him in lederhosen like he was attending some sort of misguided Berlin bachelor party doesn’t bear thinking about.
If you want more Chewbacca, though, find out why he’s the reason Return of the Jedi introduced the Ewoks. You can also learn about how Chewbacca had to be protected from Bigfoot hunters during the filming of the best Star Wars movies.