A Wookiee Roar and a Haka Dance

Reflection and family were two major elements of Friday’s 1PM panel featuring Daniel Logan (young Boba Fett) and Chewbacca himself, Peter Mayhew. The Marriott Imperial Ballroom resonated to rousing applause and Wookiee roars when panel moderator Riley Blanton introduced them. Logan and Mayhew then reminisced and reflected about their Star Wars careers and, especially, the relationships they created.

Riley Blanton began the conversation by asking Mayhew about bringing Chewbacca to life. When asked what makes “Chewie, Chewie?” Mayhew declared: “Me!” Mayhew pointed out that he had to take George Lucas’s guidance and build his own character through his presentation, movement, and physicality. Chewbacca was a fully realized character whose only limitation was that he couldn’t talk with others in the way they spoke with each other. His is a character with a real moral compass. Mayhew pointed out that Chewie cared for the other characters, even robots. We must remember, Mayhew declared, “He was one of the characters who saved the day almost every time.”

Daniel Logan launched his visit by donning a Boba Fett helmet and offering a haka war dance in homage to his Māori ancestry. When asked about playing an iconic Star Wars character, Logan declared it was a “blessing” to be a part of the franchise and that it was a “life-changing” experience. His work on Star Wars: Episode II—Attack of the Clones occurred when he was quite young (13), and he speaks fondly of his work with Tem Morrison (Jango Fett). During the production, Tem encouraged them to refer to one another as “dad” and “son.” That notion of family and the security that environment created clearly had an impact on the young Logan. Daniel has come to realize that “every day is a blessing” and age has only deepened his appreciation of the Star Wars family. Of Mayhew, Logan simply declared: “Peter’s always had my back… and I appreciate that.”

When asked about the legacy of Star Wars, Mayhew offered a series of memories from his days on production. More than once Mayhew couched them in the context of “we were all together.” Whether shooting for three weeks in Norway with temperatures running –20 degrees to working out of a logging camp in California during the production of Return of the Jedi, they were together.

That idea of family and community extended to include the entire Dragon Con community as the panelists continued to reflect. Both valued and appreciate the genius of George Lucas. They also appreciate the power of the support they receive from the fandom. Struck by the generational popularity of the franchise, Peter asked, “Who would have thought that it [Star Wars] was going to be what it became?” For him, the world of Star Wars is about “giving back, not taking.” Looking out at the audience he quietly said, “You guys have grown up still supporting us… you can’t want for more.”

When asked about funniest moments on the set, Daniel Logan offered a memory of an encounter with Sir Christopher Lee. While on the set he saw this tall man who seemed “very old.” He approached him, though, and after exchanging introductions began to chat. During their conversation Daniel acknowledged that he was working on his first film. Lee stated that he had performed in more than 150. At his young age Daniel concluded that doing one film per year meant Mr. Lee had to be 150 years old and exclaimed, “You’re old.” When challenged on the point by Lee, Daniel said that Lee must be 51 or 52 years old. “My boy,” Lee declared, “you just made my day.”

Both Mayhew and Logan maintain a very active presence on social media. Daniel pointed out the necessity of doing so, arguing that in his view you must make it a part of your life. They appreciate the opportunity this media gives them to engage with their incredibly supportive fans.

For all in attendance it was an entertaining, rich, and rewarding hour all thanks to Peter Mayhew and Daniel Logan.

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