A Wookiee is a member of a race of hairy bipeds in the fictional Star Wars universe. The most famous Wookiee is Chewbacca, a companion to Han Solo. Other prominent Wookiees include Lowbacca (the nephew of Chewbacca), Tyvokka, Zaalbar, Chuundar, Freyyr, Attichitcuk, Tarfful, and Hanharr. A common, though incorrect, spelling is Wookie (with only one trailing "e").
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The Wookiee homeworld and natural habitat is a forest world called Kashyyyk (though some sources contend that they are immigrants to this planet). Kashyyyk is covered with massive kilometer wide Wroshyr trees (carnivorous plant), in which the Wookiees construct their homes. Reportedly, Wookiees are descended from tree-climbing mammals.
Adult Wookiees are walking carpets
Wookiees are often short-tempered. When Chewbacca complained about a move in a board game that R2-D2 had made during their initial trip to Alderaan, Han Solo told C-3PO it was not a good idea to upset a Wookiee, hinting that Wookiees are known to tear people's arms out of their sockets. As if to confirm Solo's remark, Chewbacca then glowered menacingly at the droids while striking a nonchalant pose, arms crossed behind his head (Chewbacca and Han were almost certainly having fun with the droid, but the anecdote still illustrates one of the Wookiees' most famous characteristics).
Conversely, Chewbacca later demonstrated exceptional devotion to his friends by fully reconstructing C-3PO after the droid was blown apart following orders given by Darth Vader on the Cloud City of Bespin. The loyalty is also evident in the Wookiee concept of life debts, which are held to be sacred in Wookiee culture.
The Wookiee language is Shyriiwook. While they are capable of understanding Galactic Basic, normally none are able to speak it, due to the structure of their vocal chords. Wookiees with speech impediments can speak Basic to an extent.
Similarly, while it is possible for other races to learn to understand Shyriiwook, most races are incapable of speaking it.
Wookiees possess a fierce style of fighting, typically eschewing standard blasters and grenades for bladed weapons and powerful bowcasters—weapons that physically weaker species cannot use effectively. Not only do they use bowcasters and sabres, but also use boom boom sticks. Wookiees often use their immense strength to literally rip the limbs off of their adversaries. Despite their valiant efforts, the entire race was enslaved by the Empire in company with Trandoshan hunters; their role in saving Yoda during the Great Jedi Purge gave Palpatine the excuse he needed (the Alliance later released them from their bondage).
Wookiees in computer and video games
Wookiees starred in Star Wars Battlefront as both a native species on Kashyyyk, and the powerful Wookiee Smuggler. The model was based on Chewbacca. Wookiees also appeared as native forces in Star Wars Battlefront II, and as the Wookiee Warrior, but the model was changed to that of Tarfful, the Wookiee leader seen in Revenge of the Sith.
One of the tough but sensitive Wookiees is Zaalbar from Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic. The opposite of Zaalbar is Hanharr, who is a Wookiee bounty hunter in Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
Wookiees are one of the ten available races in the MMORPG Star Wars: Galaxies. The Wookiee race was initially one of the most handicapped in the game. For nearly the entire first year Wookiees were the only race unable to wear armor, giving them a huge disadvantage in PvP. Also, due to a typo in programming, Wookiees were the only race that wasn't certified in C12 grenades without training, which became a huge issue when Force Sensitive XP (FSXP) came around. C12 grenades could be used in conjunction with mob lairs to easily gather huge amounts of Combat XP (which had an exceptional conversion rate into FSXP), making the C12 grenade/lair route unarguably the swiftest & least painful route to becoming a Jedi. Additionally, Wookiees have a large racial penalty towards receiving Imperial faction points (FP). Kashyyyk was added to Star Wars: Galaxies with the release of Star Wars Galaxies: Episode III Rage of the Wookiees. Travel to and from Kashyyyk is limited to player owned & operated spacecraft, thereby restricting the planet to players owning the Jump to Lightspeed expansion. It should also be noted that players are unable to build housing on Kashyyyk.
Also, they are a normal choice within the Star Wars RPG Revised Core Rulebook.
On Adult Swim's website, there is a game entitled "Insult Master" in which two people engage in verbal warfare, attempting to create the best insult with a selection of pre-written words, including "ewok" and the misspelled word "wookie." Naturally, a common use of the word is "wookie taco," because the site itself uses the phrase for advertisements, but another relatively popular combination is "wookie butter," coined by user lazywookie.
Wookiees and popular culture
- The name originated in George Lucas' film THX 1138. In a line ad-libbed by an actor, a character says, "I think I just ran over a wookiee on the expressway."
- Wookiees are referred to in popular culture through a variety of formats ranging from Ralph Wiggum's "I bent my Wookiee" as popularized in The Simpsons to slightly less direct parodies such as that of Barfolomew in the film Spaceballs.
- In an episode of the animated television series South Park, real-life attorney Johnnie Cochran successfully wins two trials by confusing the jury with ramblings about Chewbacca that distract them from the actual issues of the case. This strategy was dubbed the "Chewbacca Defense". Also on South Park was a running gag in the show's Halloween episodes in which student consistently won the school's competitions for best Halloween costume with nothing more than a store bought Chewbacca mask.
- Instrumental rock band Liquid Tension Experiment recorded a track entitled "Chewbacca" in their second studio album, Liquid Tension Experiment 2.
- Fans of jam bands are sometimes classified as "Wooks" or "Wookiees" due to their stereotype of having unshaven faces, long hair, and lack of personal hygiene.
- The band Supernova performed a song called "Chewbacca" where they proclaim "Whoooa, what a Wookiee!". The song is heard in the movie Clerks.
- Sometimes people with hypertrichosis are said to have Wookism or Wookieeism.
- Star Wars Wiki was later renamed Wookieepedia, a pronunciational portmanteau of Wookiee and Wikipedia.
- One of Timmy Turner's aliases is Chewbacca on the Fairly Odd Parents. It is due to his buck teeth (Chewbacca).
- In the song "Fire Water Burn" by Bloodhound Gang, references are made to Wookiees in the lines "I'm kind of like Han Solo, always stroking my own Wookiee, I'm the root of all that's evil, yeah, but you can call me Cookie."
- In the webcomic Scary Go Round, Shelley creates a short story about "The Saddest Wookiee."