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Comic Legends: How Marvel UK Got Chewbacca His Medal!

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and eighty-first week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As always, there will be three different posts for each Star Wars-themed legend this week!

NOTE: I noticed that the the CSBG Twitter page was nearing 10,000 followers. If we hit 10,050 followers on the the CSBG Twitter page then I'll do a BONUS edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed during the week that we hit 10,050. So three more legends! Sounds like a great deal, right?

COMIC LEGEND:

George Lucas used Marvel UK to give Chewbacca a medal.

STATUS:

True

I certainly wouldn't call it a CONTROVERSY, but it is fair to say that a lot of fans wondered what the heck was up with the medal ceremony at the end of 1977's Star Wars. Luke, Han and Chewbacca all helped save the Rebellion. However, only Luke and Han actually received medals at the ceremony. Not only that, but it wasn't like they just told Chewbacca not to come. He showed up at the ceremony and stood up there and they just didn't give him a medal! It's hilariously weird.

What's especially weird is that in one of the earlier drafts of the screenplay for the film, Lucas specifically DOES have Chewbacca receive a medal...

Queen Leia, in all her grandeur, sits on the magnificent throne of Aquilae. Starkiller and the general stand to her right. Several old advisors stand to her left. Han presents Chewbacca and a delegation of Wookees with a treaty, gifts, and a medal of honor. They bow and exit. Han moves to one side of the crowded court.

Initially, you could tell that Lucas was all about, "Ugh, whatever, people" and essentially gave it a blow-off answer that Chewbacca did not like medals or something to that effect.

That was not received all that well.

Finally, a few years after the movie came out, Lucas changed his tune. Now he said that Chewbacca DID receive a medal, but it just came at a different ceremony (once he suggested that it was held on Chewbacca's home planet). He explained that it was because Princess Leia was so short and Chewbacca was so tall that it was an awkward thing to do.

Marvel UK had a weekly Star Wars comic. The problem with a weekly comic is that it needed slightly more content than a typical Marvel Star Wars comic book could provide, so the creative team for the series, writer Archie Goodwin and penciler Carmine Infantino, would do short stories to fill in for the extra necessary content.

In Star Wars Weekly #97, they did a short story revealing what happened the day after the Death Star was destroyed and sure enough, Leia gives Chewbacca a medal!!

Here's a color reprint of the panel where Leia gives him the medal...

Years later, when Marvel got the Star Wars licensed back and the comics are all now "official" Star Wars canon, Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto revealed that Chewy definitely DID get a medal in Chewbacca #5...

Marvel was closely linked to Lucasfilm back in the day, though, so Lucas definitely had a say in that Goodwin story. Funny stuff.

Check out some Star Wars legends from Legends Revealed:

Check back Saturday for part 2 of this week's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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