Australia's Biggest Chewbacca Fan Is Grieving Peter Mayhew's Death
Sarah Hillier met legendary actor Peter Mayhew just a few weeks ago, and she told The Project how his death has left her grieving.
Hillier, who has cosplayed and performed as Chewbacca for several years, said she travelled overseas recently and met Mayhew -- who was best known for his role portraying the beloved Wookiee in the 'Star Wars' franchise.
Speaking to The Project on Friday, she said it was a delight to meet her idol.
"In the same hand there was a little hint of sadness because he was so frail," she recalled.
"It was a little bit confronting but I mean there were smiles through that pain, there was absolute joy when we all gathered around him."
Paying tribute to the much-loved star, Hillier said Mayhew embodied the very essence of Chewbacca, and like his character, his "actions spoke much louder than words".
"You know Peter Mayhew, because there was no dialogue, brought himself to that character," she said.
"So when you look at Chewbacca, you look at Peter Mayhew."
Hillier said she found out about the actor's death while she was dressed as Chewbacca, on a visit to the Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney.
The hospital invites cosplayers to visit around May the 4th -- an important day for 'Star Wars' fans -- to give movie merchandise to the sick kids.
"I got the news over a cup of coffee. I couldn't believe it," Hillier told the panel.
Asked by Magda Szubanski whether she would ever consider "putting her paw up" to reprise the role of Chewbacca, Hillier said it would be pretty hard.
"I do wear stilts and the actors who play Chewbacca are around about seven foot three [2.2 metres], so it would be a bit hard to manoeuvre in snow and ice and dirt in stilts."
"Other than that, sure!"
Following the news that 'Star Wars' actor Peter Mayhew had passed away at his North Texas home on April 30, tributes for the Chewbacca actor flooded in across social media from fans, friends and co-stars on Friday.
Mark Hamill, who starred alongside him in the 1977 original 'Star Wars' film, shared that he was "heartbroken" over the passing of his "loyal friend", who he called "a big man with an even bigger heart."
Harrison Ford also released a statement on the death of his friend, describing him as "a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character."
Featured Image: The Project