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Chewbacca Must Speak : Chewie’s Shyriiwook was translated by Star Wars, resulting in some of his best Legends stories. The Han Solo and Chewbacca comics demonstrate why this must happen again.
In the current Star Wars storylines starring Han Solo and Chewbacca, the smuggler frequently speaks in a way that interprets everything for the audience, and sometimes even for other characters. While this is a terrific approach for Han to tell a story, it takes away Chewie’s agency and point of view. Forcing people to believe in a renegade smuggler may not be the greatest way to portray Chewie’s narrative.
Han Solo & Chewbacca #2 by Marc Guggenheim and David Messina continues the story that pits Han and Chewie against Greedo. The suspense makes for an exciting adventure, especially since Han Solo may have just discovered his father, a plot that was never addressed in Legends. Even still, the comic book falls short of appreciating Chewbacca’s importance. Chewie is shown as Han Solo’s sidekick in the story, as he is in canon comics. The Wookiee hero, on the other hand, deserves more attention as a title character.
Han Solo & Chewbacca #2 is a great example of why fans should pay attention to what Chewie is saying. Han, Chewie, and Greedo debate the next stage in their robbery aboard the Millenium Falcon. Greedo, a Rodian, speaks Huttese, which is translated by the comic. The audience and Greedo must rely on Han Solo’s translation because Chewie only speaks up once. It’s understandable that Greedo doesn’t comprehend Chewie’s native Shyriiwook tongue, but as a story with the Wookiee as a central character, viewers should be aware.
The gentle giant reveals something Han doesn’t want Greedo to know, therefore translating Shyriiwook can help flesh out Han and Chewie’s legendary interaction. The novella eventually clarifies Han and Greedo’s infamous feud, but readers are kept in the dark regarding Chewie’s feelings. Han’s character is well-suited to concealing his closest friend’s straightforward honesty.
Some fans think that because Greedo’s Huttese is also translated in the movies, readers get to know what he says. Nonetheless, Legends content such as Dark Horse’s Star Wars comics and Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) translated what Wookiees said as they roared. For example, Darko Macan, Jan Duursema, Dave Gibbons, and Dusty Abell’s Chewbacca #2 from the early 2000s interprets everything Chewie says. He rallies a group of enslaved Wookiees against their Trandoshan oppressors at one point, which was an epic character moment. Similarly, Zaalbar, the tremendously powerful Wookiee protagonist in KOTOR, has a tragic and heartbreaking past that spectators would never know about if his grunts and growls were unintelligible.
Han Solo and his best friend are already among the most popular Star Wars characters. It’s admirable that creative teams adhere to alien translation movie formulas, but it’s also a major squandered opportunity. If comic books periodically interpret what Wookiees say in the same manner that Legends stories do, they can provide fans a unique method to learn more about Chewbacca’s personality and character.
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