Star Wars’ Chewbacca Actor Fights TSA Over Lightsaber Cane

Don't mess with a wookiee -- or the actor who actually played one.

  • Share
  • Read Later
Original cast member Mayhew attends a screening commemorating "Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back" in Hollywood
Fred Prouser / Reuters

Original cast member Peter Mayhew, who portrayed "Chewbacca," attends a screening commemorating the 30th anniversary of "Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back" in Hollywood May 19, 2010.

A word to the wise: Don’t mess with exceptionally-tall guys in wheelchairs traveling with walking canes — especially when those canes just so happen to resemble fully-deployed Star Wars lightsabers.

When Star Wars’ Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew, 69 — who owns such a cosmetically weaponized cane — attempted to pass through Denver International Airport’s security checkpoint last week, Transportation Security Administration agents there apparently tried to confiscate the 7-foot, 2-inch tall actor’s, umm, cane-saber despite his explanation that he needed it to walk, reports Fort Worth, Texas NBC affiliate NBC 5.

Mayhew, who was traveling back to his home in North Texas last week, was eventually allowed to board with cane intact, but not until he’d posted about the kerfuffle to his more than 27,000 twitter followers from his account, @thewookieroars. (Tagline: “The OFFICIAL twitter of Actor, Author & the man behind the mask of CHEWBACCA! This is where The Wookiee Roars… and Tweets!”)

TSA later emailed a statement explaining its version of events: “Because of the unusual weight of the passenger’s cane, a security officer alerted a supervisor. Less than five minutes later, the passenger and cane were cleared to travel.”

Here is the first tweet Mayhew wrote about the incident:

Shortly thereafter, Mayhew tweeted again, explaining why he needed the cane.

By Monday, June 10, quips about the incident were flying, including this one (with picture) by amateur comedian Phil Walker.

And here’s Mayhew’s last tweet on the matter as of June 11:

MORE: The 13 Funniest Celebrity First Tweets