As Lucasfilm and the filmmakers behind Episode VII launch their casting efforts for what looks very much like a new actor to play Chewbacca, an amazing amount of support has rushed forth for Peter Mayhew, the actor who originated the role in George Lucas' 1977 original.
As we told you earlier in the month, Mayhew isn't in the best of health right now. Complications arising from his gigantism lead to him being unable to stand up straight or walk unassisted.
But he's undergone surgery on his knees and legs, and when the whole healing process has been completed, the doctors say that he should be able to walk again.
This surgery is being documented in a film, Standing In The Stars: The Peter Mayhew Story. At this moment in time, Peter has undergone four separate operations – and is heading into a month's worth of "intense rehabilitation and recovery."
That film's director, W. Ryan Ziegler dropped me a line to pass on a message from Peter. It's very simple, and it's actually incredibly moving. Succinctly enough, he's said:
I intend to pursue the role of Chewbacca for Episode VII.
To the point.
Here's a graphic made to promote Ziegler's film,
And now, more than anything else in all of the Star Wars universe, I want Peter Mayhew to come back and play that blessed walking carpet again because that means, above all else, the promise implicit in this image has been delivered upon.
And maybe this time he can get that desperately overdue medal.
You can follow Peter on Twitter. If you think he's the only Chewbacca for you, send him your support.