Chewbacca’s Complete Chronological History in Star Wars

Chewbacca

How can anyone not like Chewbacca? The lovable furry companion to his best friend, Han Solo, Chewie has been a cornerstone of the Star Wars universe since the first series began in 1977. With his distinct canine-like design and characteristics, Chewie instantly emerged from other alien species presented in Star Wars, with audiences’ attention immediately gravitating towards the gentle giant.He may not fulfill as prominent a role in Star Wars canon as Han, Luke, Leia, or Anakin, but Chewbacca has remained a fixed part of the Star Wars universe for 40 years. He’s appeared in numerous movies, video games, comic books, and Extended Universe novels, witnessing some of the most important events within the Star Wars series, like Order 66, the Empire's rise, and the Galactic Republic's rebirth.

With how often Chewbacca has been featured in Star Wars, it can be hard to decipher his chronological appearances from the beginning of his life onwards for even the most dedicated viewer. From his earliest appearances in The Clone Wars to his later adventures serving in the Resistance, here is every one of Chewbacca’s appearances in Star Wars.

The complete linear history of Chewbacca

Peter Mayhew, ChewbaccA
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Given Wookiees’ inordinately long lifespans (they can live to be just over 400 years old), Chewbacca is in the prime of his life throughout most of the Skywalker Saga. As a simplified guide to his many appearances in Star Wars, we compiled the following list of Chewie’s linear appearances in Star Wars:

  • The Clone Wars (series)
  • Revenge of the Sith
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • Han Solo & Chewbacca (Marc Guggenheim)
  • A New Hope
  • Chewbacca (Greg Duggan)
  • Smuggler’s Run (Greg Rucka)
  • Star Wars (Marvel)
  • Forces of Destiny
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Return of the Jedi
  • Shattered Empire (Greg Rucka)
  • The Force Awakens
  • The Last Jedi
  • The Rise of Skywalker

As helpful as this guide is for understanding Chewbacca’s general lifetime, we thought we’d go into more depth detailing Chewie’s life, from his earliest days on Kashyyyk to his glory days in the Rebellion and the Resistance.

The Clone Wars (series)

The Clone Wars series
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

In 20 BBY, the 180-year-old Chewbacca is captured by Trandoshan hunters who transport him to the jungle world of Wasskah. Before his captors have a chance to pursue him through the planet’s unkempt environment for sport, the Wookiee warrior is freed by Ahsoka Tano and a group of Jedi younglings, all of whom similarly find themselves being hunted by the Trandoshans. Together, the group stays one step ahead of the hunting party. After Chewbacca steals the Trandoshans’ transmitter to contact his people on Kashyyyk, his chieftain Tarfful leads a band of warriors to rescue Ahsoka, Chewie, and their fellow survivors, allowing Chewbacca to return to his homeworld in one piece.

Revenge of the Sith

Revenge of the Sith Chewbacca
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

One year after his adventure on Wasskah, Chewbacca has returned to Kashyyyk, overseeing the planet’s defense as the Clone Wars rages throughout the galaxy. In 19 BBY, the Droid Army mounts a vicious assault on the Wookiees’ stronghold, prompting Yoda and a relief force of Clone troopers to support the Wookiees on the battlefield. As they defend themselves against the droids’ relentless onslaught, Chancellor Palpatine issues Order 66, forcing the Clones to turn against their former Jedi allies. After witnessing Commander Gree nearly murder Yoda, Chewbacca and Tarfful escort Yoda to safety, helping him flee the planet before the Clone troops can locate and destroy him.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo A Star Wars Story Chewbacca
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Over the next ten years, the Republic is restructured into the Galactic Empire, the subsequent regime forcing the galaxy’s inhabitants to live in fear and subjugation. Along with several other planets, Kashyyyk’s population is forced to complete manual labor, acting as the unwilling servants of the Empire and other corrupt corporations (especially mining companies). 

By 10 BBY, the Empire has captured Chewbacca and is forced to fight in gladiatorial battles in a small pit on the planet Mimban. There, he comes face to face with the former Imperial infantry soldier Han Solo. Nearly killing his future companion, Chewie is stopped when Solo uses his knowledge of the Wookiee language to calm Chewie down. Impressed, the professional criminal Tobias Beckett offers the two fugitives a place on his crew, which the two immediately accept.

After participating in a botched heist on an Imperial mining train, the surviving members of Beckett’s crew organize another effort to steal a large coaxium supply from the mines of Kessel. As they complete the heist, Chewie personally frees several Wookiees he finds involuntarily serving as a labor force in the planet’s mining facilities. Using his impressive piloting skills, Chewie then aids Han in making the dangerous Kessel Run onboard the Millennium Falcon, allowing the gang to escape an Imperial blockade.

With the coaxium now in their possession, Chewie is betrayed by Beckett, who holds him hostage until Han intervenes, besting his former mentor in a duel. Together again, Han and Chewie hand over the coaxium shipment to the anti-Imperial Cloud Riders, fearing the potential damage that could be done if such a supply ended up in the wrong hands. Locating their former crew member Lando Calrissian, Han outsmarts Lando in a game of sabacc, the Millennium Falcon passing into Han and Chewie’s possession.

Han Solo & Chewbacca (Marc Guggenheim)

Han Solo & Chewbacca Marc Guggenheim
Image Credit: Marvel Comics.

After two years of completing various smuggling jobs for galactic criminals, Han and Chewie take on a high-level assignment from Jabba the Hutt at some point between 8 and 2 BBY. Working with Greedo and a professional criminal posing as Han’s father, the four are ordered to acquire the remains of Jabba’s chief rival, Krestrel D'Naran, from Corellia. As they complete the task, they battle opposing smugglers, mercenaries, bounty hunters, and even Imperial agents, forcing them to wonder if there’s more to D’Naran’s ashes than they were previously led to believe.

A New Hope

A New Hope Chewbacca
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Spending the next ten years together flying around the galaxy, Han and Chewie work up a substantial debt to Jabba, mainly owing to a botched smuggling operation that left Jabba without his promised goods. Needing funds to square away with their dangerous employer, Han and Chewie accept an assignment transporting Obi-Wan, Luke, R2-D2, and C-3PO to Alderaan, with the specific caveat that they avoid any “Imperial entanglements” along the way.

Arriving to Alderaan’s location shortly after the planet’s destruction by the Death Star, the crew and passengers of the Falcon are surprised to find only rubble where the planet once was. When they attempt to flee the area, the Death Star apprehends the ship, forcing the group to evade the Imperial troops roaming the facility. With Han and Luke disguised as Stormtroopers, the trio free the imprisoned Princess Leia from her cellblock, escaping the station onboard the Falcon after Obi-Wan sacrifices his life to buy his friends ample time to escape.

Traveling to the Rebellion’s secret base on Yavin IV, Chewie and Han prepare to depart the planet and return to Tatooine, using their reward money to fulfill their debt to Jabba. As the Rebellion launches a desperate attack on the encroaching Death Star, the Millennium Falcon suddenly reappears, allowing Luke to safely destroy the Imperial facility, saving the Rebellion in the process. Reuniting on Yavin IV, the Rebellion hosts a prestigious ceremony, publicly awarding Han and Luke medals for their participation in the battle.

Smuggler’s Run (Greg Rucka)

Smuggler’s Run Chewbacca
Image Credit: Disney–Lucasfilm Press.

Having earned the trust of the Rebel Alliance thanks to their role in the battle of Yavin IV, Chewie and Han are assigned by Leia to escort Rebel Caluan Ematt from the planet Cyrkon, ensuring he reaches the safety of the Rebellion. While they accomplish this task, the duo’s decision to aid the Rebellion further angers Jabba, who becomes increasingly hostile towards his two associates over their unpaid debts.

Chewbacca (Greg Duggan)

Chewbacca
Image Credit: Marvel Comics.

Shortly after the battle of Yavin IV, Chewie departs for a solo mission on behalf of the Rebellion. After his A-Wing Interceptor is damaged, he lands on the world of Andelm IV, where he meets and befriends a young girl forced into indentured servitude named Zarro. After getting involved in several adventures with the young woman, Chewie gifts her his personal medal awarded to him by the Rebellion for his service in the battle of Yavin Iv, leaving the planet to reunite with the Rebel Alliance.

Star Wars (Marvel)

Star Wars (Marvel)
Image Credit: Marvel Comics.

For the next three years, Chewbacca becomes a valued member of the Rebellion, participating in various missions across the galaxy. During this time, Chewbacca begins to develop continuously growing loyalty to his newfound friends, personally volunteering for a rescue mission to save Luke’s life on Nar Shaddaa and angrily chasing away scavengers attempting to dismantle C-3PO for parts on Cymoon I.

Forces of Destiny

Forces of Destiny Chewbacca
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

As an anthology series, Star Wars: Forces of Destiny jumps a great deal around the Star Wars chronology. The first canonical episode Chewie technically appears in is “Beasts of Echo Base.” Set in 3 ABY, Chewie is captured by a ravenous Wampa, forcing Leia and R2 to rescue him. In “Bounty Hunted,” Leia, Chewie, R2, and Maz Kanata lure infamous bounty hunter Boushh to Ord Mantell, knocking him unconscious and allowing Leia to steal his armor (which she then uses to impersonate Boushh in 4 ABY). In “Tracker Trouble,” Han, Chewie, Finn, Rey, and BB-8 fly to Maz’s castle in 32 ABY, only to discover a bomb hidden on the Falcon, narrowly jettisoning the explosive before it ignites.

The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back Chewbacca
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

In 3 ABY, the Rebellion has established an outpost on the remote snow-swept world of Hoth. When Chewie and Han inadvertently catch the attention of a probe droid, the Empire is alerted of the Rebels’ presence. As Chewie and Han make critical repairs to the Falcon, the Rebellion mounts a defense of the planet, evacuating their forces before the Empire seizes control of their base. As Darth Vader closes in, Han, Chewie, Leia, and C-3PO depart onboard the Millennium Falcon, with Vader and his fleet in hot pursuit.

Fleeing across the galaxy, the Falcon barely stays ahead of Vader’s armada, desperately avoiding capture around every turn. Without any other options, Han decides to land on Bespin, encountering his former criminal acquaintance, Lando Calrissian, who’s since become a leading figure in Cloud City’s administration. However, Lando betrays Han and Chewbacca shortly after their arrival, turning them over to Vader, who uses them as bait to lure Luke to Bespin.

As Luke draws near, Chewie witnesses Vader freeze Han in carbonite, devastating Leia and enraging Chewbacca. As they’re being led away, Lando turns the tables against the Imperial troops, freeing Leia and Chewie and helping them try to rescue Han before he’s taken away in the custody of Boba Fett. Though unsuccessful in saving Han, they flee the planet onboard the Millennium Falcon, rescuing a wounded Luke after his disastrous battle with Vader. Together once more, Chewie and Lando leave the Rebel Fleet behind on the Falcon, searching for Boba and Han in the far reaches of the galaxy.

Return of the Jedi

Return of the Jedi
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Having realized that Han has fallen into the hands of Jabba on Tatooine, Luke organizes an effort to save his friend in 4 ABY. With Leia masquerading as the bounty hunter Boushh, Chewie is led into Jabba’s Palace under the guise of the bounty hunter’s prisoner, gaining access to Jabba’s underground prisons. There, he joyously reunites with Han, who’s dethawed by Leia and immediately detained by Jabba. With a similarly captured Luke, the three are transported into the desert, with Jabba intending to drop them into the Sarlacc Pit for a slow and painful execution. In the nick of time, Luke orders R2 to toss him his lightsaber, defeating Jabba, Boba Fett, and most of the gangster’s forces.

They were rendezvousing with the Rebel Fleet near Sullust, Han, Chewie, Leia, and Luke volunteer for a covert assignment, sabotaging the Death Star II’s shield generator on the forest moon of Endor. The plan has its fair share of complications, mainly due to an initially hostile encounter with the moon’s resident Ewoks. With their furry new allies by their side, the Rebel strike force completes their primary objective, demolishing the shield generator and giving Lando and his fellow Rebel pilots a chance to destroy the Death Star II. Coming together in the Ewoks’ village, Chewie and the other Rebel forces celebrate their momentous victory over the Empire and the recent demise of the dictatorial Emperor.

Shattered Empire (Greg Rucka)

Shattered Empire
Image Credit: Marvel Comics.

Though landing significant blows against the Empire with the destruction of the Death Star II and the death of the Emperor, the Rebellions’ celebration proves short-lived. Almost immediately after the first battle of Endor, the Empire orders a furious counterattack. With the Rebels now on the defense, the Rebels manage to outlast the Imperial onslaught, hastening the end of the Galactic Civil War in the years ahead.

The Force Awakens

The Force Awakens Chewbacca
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

As the Civil War nears its conclusion, Chewie focuses more on freeing his fellow Wookiees, liberating Kashyyyk from the Empire’s domineering hold. After years of service to the Rebellion, Chewie and Han retire from military life as the Alliance transitions into the New Republic, returning to their former profession as smugglers (albeit without the Falcon, which is stolen away from them sometime after the Civil War). 

While transporting a herd of Rathtars onboard a freight ship in 34 ABY, Han and Chewie come across their former ship, the Millennium Falcon, piloted by Rey, Finn, and BB-8. Agreeing to help the three get in contact with the Resistance, Han and Chewie escort the group to Takodana, introducing them to Resistance sympathizer Maz Kanata. At Maz’s Castle, they’re ambushed by First Order troops commanded by Kylo, though Resistance forces under Leia arrive to save them.

Chewie and Han agree to participate in a valuable mission for the Resistance, sneaking onto Starkiller Base, freeing a captured Rey, and sabotaging the battle station from the inside. As Chewie sets up explosives, he witnesses Han – his best friend of 44 years – murdered by his estranged son Kylo Ren. Heartbroken, Chewie lets out a furious roar and fires at Kylo, wounding him. Separating from Finn and Rey, Chewie ventures back onto the Falcon, picking the two up after their brief duel with Kylo Ren. Rendezvousing with the Resistance, Chewie sets out on the Falcon with Rey and R2, accompanying her to Ahch-To to find Luke.

The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi Chewbacca
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Traveling to the ancient Jedi world of Ahch-To, Chewie assists Rey in convincing Luke to assume her Jedi training. Each of their efforts, however, meet with failure, with the now downtrodden Luke initially refusing to help. With some pivotal words of wisdom from R2, Luke ultimately relents, briefly assisting Rey in strengthening her connection to the Force. When Luke again expresses reluctance at continuing, Rey leaves the planet with Chewie and R2, helping her friends in the Resistance with her limited training.

Piloting the Falcon, Chewie plays a significant role in helping the Resistance safely arrive on Crait, participating in the planet’s defense as the First Order closes in. As Luke distracts Kylo and his forces, Rey and Chewie smuggle the remaining Resistance members away, ensuring the war effort lives on for another day.

The Rise of Skywalker

The Rise of Skywalker
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

In 35 ABY, Chewie helps Finn, Rey, and Poe Dameron search for a Sith Wayfinder on the desert planet, Passana. With some valuable help from Chewie’s old companion Lando, the four eventually find the device on the deserted ship of a notorious assassin. Almost immediately upon discovering the artifact, however, the First Order appears, capturing Chewbacca and bringing him to their fleet. Initially believing Chewie was killed, Finn and Poe rescue the imprisoned Wookiee from the planet Kijimi. Upon returning to the Resistance base on Ajan Kloss, a heartbroken Chewie learns of Leia’s death, leaving him the final survivor of the Falcon’s Civil War-era crew. As the Resistance’s offensive effort against the Final Order wanes, Chewie appears with Lando and Wedge Antilles, the three veterans piloting the Falcon and spearheading a final charge against Palpatine’s gathered forces. With the former Emperor defeated and the Resistance victorious, the Falcon returns to Ajan Kloss, where Maz Kanata greets Chewie. Recognizing the Wookiee’s personal losses, Maz gives him Han’s Yavin IV medal. This heartfelt keepsake will allow Chewie to fondly remember his deceased friends and their service to the galaxy.

Author: Richard Chachowski

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Classic Film, Contemporary Film and TV, Video Games, Comic Books

Bio:

Richard Chachowski is an entertainment and travel writer who has written for such publications as Wealth of Geeks, Fangoria, Looper, Screen Rant, and MSN. He received a BA in Communication Studies and a BA in Journalism and Professional Writing from The College of New Jersey in 2021. He has been a professional writer since 2020. His geeky areas of interest include Star Wars, travel writing, horror, video games, comic books, literature, and animation.