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When George Lucas was developing fictional characters for Star Wars, he named Chewbacca after his dog, Chewbacca. The name "Wookiee" came from an ad lib in Lucas's first feature movie, THX 1138. The line was "I think I ran over a Wookiee back there."
On Kashyyyk wookiees build their houses in mile-high trees. They have long arms and legs so they can climb the trees. Chewbacca is over seven feet tall and over 200 years old. By nature they are gentle and intelligent creatures. When angered they can pull a man's arms out of their sockets. Wookiees have a great sense of smell. They are fully covered with a thick coat of hair. Wookiees prize loyalty and bravery above all else.
The Wookiee language is Shyriiwook. Wookiees are capable of understanding English but cannot speak it. In the original Star Wars trilogy Chewbacca showed he could understand humans. His human partner, Han Solo, also shows knowledge of Shyriiwook. In the Star Wars expanded universe books, Chewbacca builds a miniature translator droid ("Em Teedee") for his nephew Lowbacca. When Lowbacca begins training as a Jedi the droid helped him communicate with his fellow students.
- Eric P. Nash (26 January 1997). "The Names Came From Earth". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1997/01/26/movies/the-names-came-from-earth.html. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- Jeanne Cavelos, The Science of Star Wars: An Astrophysicist's Independent Examination of... (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999), p. 52
- "Wookiee". Lucasfilm Ltd. http://www.starwars.com/databank/wookiee. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Lowbacca". The Comic Book Database. http://comicbookdb.com/character.php?ID=817. Retrieved 20 November 2015.