Wookiees have been a staple of Star Wars ever since A New Hope. Fans adored Chewbacca as both a fierce warrior and a gentle giant. His people received more spotlight during the Prequel Trilogy, showcasing their world of Kashyyyk.
From its creation and in-universe lore, Kashyyyk is one of the more fascinating planets in the Star Wars franchise. Looking at Life Day to cursed forests, here are 13 facts you may not know about Kashyyyk.
1 – Early Drafts
George Lucas' earliest notes about Kashyyyk date back to his first drafts of The Empire Strikes Back. The working names for the planet were “Kasshook” and “Kazzook (Ganaararlacc),” with the planet's biome described as full of massive trees. Lucas also considered Kashyyyk for Return of the Jedi, as the Empire relied on Wookiee labor to help build the second Death Star. He scrapped the idea, instead creating Ewoks and Endor for the final battle of the Original Trilogy.
2 – First Appearance
Kashyyyk's first appearance lived on in Star Wars infamy as the setting of The Star Wars Holiday Special, where Chewbacca and Han Solo race back to Kashyyyk to spend Life Day with the Wookiee's family. Influential concept designer Ralph McQuarrie crafted the original painting that inspired the Wookiee household and the first visual representation of Kashyyyk. These ideas continued into future projects, used for the first canon appearance of the planet in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, The Bad Batch, and the non-canon but excellent series LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures.
3 – Life Day
Life Day shares similarities with Christmas. Wookiees came together to share meals, exchange gifts, and spend time with loved ones. While The Star Wars Holiday Special centered around Life Day, in-universe, the festive Wookiee holiday wasn't celebrated around the galaxy until later in the timeline. Other beings knew about the festival, as Jedi Master Stellan Gios noted it in the High Republic era's anthology novel Life Day Treasury.
Thanks to the Empire's reign, the concept began to spread across the galaxy. People needed light during the fascist occupation of their planets, and they adored the idea from the Wookiees. Across various groups, especially those part of the Rebel Alliance who worked with Chewbacca and other Wookiees, people exchanged gifts and shared meals. By the time of The Mandalorian and the Sequel Trilogy era, much of the galaxy celebrated Life Day as a regular holiday.
4 – Wroshyr Trees
Wroshyr trees were by far the most essential and prominent plant in Kashyyyk. The mighty tree grew so vast that Wookiees built entire cities on them. The trees lived up to 50,000 years, allowing communities to grow with them. The tree's bark also held unique properties that aided the Wookiees. The bark was tough to burn and cut, requiring particular proton saw blades that often broke down. The rugged exterior of the wroshyr trees protected Wookiees from invaders because people like the Empire struggled to clear the trees to destroy Wookiee communities. The Imperials relied on parasites and black mold to invade and slowly kill the trees.
All wood was sacred to Wookiees. StarWars.com says the Wookiees had over 150 words for “wood.” Though since they were so crucial to the survival of the Wookiees, they had no word for “artists” despite their penchant for intricately carving wood.
5 – Rwookrrorro
Rwookrrorro is the capital city of Kashyyyk. Wookies built most of their cities to hide in the canopy of trees, but the wroshyr trees where they established Rwookrrorro were so ancient and massive that it was one of the few cities that starships could see from the air. Its spaceport is also one of the few places on the planet with more metal in structures than trees. Rwookrrorro is also the birthplace of Chewbacca.
6 – The Wookiee Council
The leaders of Kashyyyk were the Wookiee Council. While there is little about the Wookiee Council in the current canon, Legends material details how their representatives spoke for the Wookiees in the Galactic Senate. The Republic and the Wookiee Council allyship ran deep, often putting the Wookiees at odds with invading forces like the Separatists and the Empire.
7 – The Black Forest
One place on Kashyyyk the Wookiees feared was the Black Forest. They considered this location the most dangerous on the planet, believing malicious spirits haunted it. This rumor stemmed from the crash of a prison ship called Ashmead's Lock, resulting in a tragedy. Centuries later, the Empire and the First Order used the crash site to hide Wookiee, Rebel Alliance, and Resistance prisoners since the Wookiee avoided the area because of the curse. In both cases, Chewbacca led the fight to help free those captured.
8 – Dangerous Flora and Fauna
Wookiees weren't the only species to live in the trees. Kashyyyk homed a variety of plants and animals. Wookiees thought the rare Shyyyo bird brought peace to those who witnessed it. Though, much of Kashyyyk's native species were hostile. Known for carnivorous plants and animals, Wookiees expertly guided off-worlders through their forests to avoid dangerous critters and plants like the jaw plant, Terentatek, and flame beetles.
The game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order created or brought back many creatures from Legends material. One level occurs in Kashyyyk, where protagonist Cal Kestis faced the critters like massive wyyyschokk as he traversed the landscape.
9 – Can-cells
Wookiees deeply respected one benevolent creature. The can-cells were flying insect-like creatures thought to bring good luck. While other planets like Batuu and Ryloth also homed these bugs, the Wookiees took inspiration from them. As seen in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Wookiees based the Raddaugh Gnasp Fluttercraft off the shape of can-cells to use in battle during the Clone Wars.
10 – Mushbloom
One Kashyyyk plant invented for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the mushbloom. Companion and captain of the Stinger Mantis, Greez Dritus, kept a terrarium on the ship where he and Cal Kestis grew various plants. Mushblooms only grew around the Origin Tree, one of the oldest trees on the planet that Wookiees considered sacred. Because of its location in the Origin Tree, Wookiees considered it bad luck to take mushblooms off-world. The bloom also helped create Life Day pies, a rare luxurious delicacy for the holiday.
11 – Horrible Neighbors
Located in the same star system as Kashyyyk was Trandosha, the home planet of the Trandoshan species. Wookiees and Trandoshans loathed each other, deep seeded hatred dating back centuries. The two peoples were bitter rivals with their worlds in such proximity. Trandoshans often kidnapped Wookiees to hunt, which is why Wookiee bounty hunters like Black Krrsantan held no qualms about freely injuring Trandoshans, as seen in The Book of Boba Fett. Because the Wookiees allied with the Jedi and the Republic, Trandoshans often distrusted these two groups.
12 – Wookiee Jedi
Wookiee Jedi were incredibly rare and a source of immense pride for the people of Kashyyyk. Because of their long lifespan, a Wookiee could serve the Jedi Order and Republic for centuries. Their lightsabers often reflected their origin, like youngling Gungi making his weapon out of brylark tree wood, which was as strong as metal. Some notable Wookiee Jedi are Gungi from The Clone Wars, Padawan Burryaga Agaburry, and Jedi Master Arkoff from the High Republic era. The Bad Batch Season 2 episode “Tribe” featured the titular characters helping Gungi return to Kashyyyk, providing one of the best on-screen looks at the planet.
13 – Meryx
While wroshyr trees grew plentiful throughout Kashyyyk, ancient white wroshyr trees were extinct for over a millennia by Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Jeweled fossilized amber from the white wroshyr trees called Meryx was considered one of the rarest gems in the galaxy. Jedi Padawan Burryaga's lightsaber hilt had Meryx work into the blade's plating.