The Threshold

By Ron Salvatore
Photography by Bill Karp and Ed Albano

The hero must leave his familiar life behind to begin a journey from childhood to adulthood and to a life-transformation. The Mos Eisley spaceport is Luke's threshold to adventure. Here he encounters danger, but he also finds a hero-partner in the form of Han Solo, a pirate and smuggler. Han's faithful first mate is the enormous Wookiee Chewbacca--helpful animals often appear in myths and fairy-tales, symbolizing the power of the hero's instinctive nature.

As they travel from Tatooine to Alderaan in the Millennium Falcon, Ben begins to train Luke in the ways of the Force.
--from the Smithsonian introduction

I think the leather details of this get-up--the boots, the holster, the gloves, and that rather menacing black belt--do a wonderful job of conveying the roguish nature of the Han Solo character.

After all these years, and a couple of encounters with Peter Mayhew, I still can't decide whether Mayhew looks like the costume, or the costume looks like Mayhew. Chewbacca is really a wonder: that the folks at the fledgling ILM managed to pull off a character that was at once so animalistic, and yet so completely human in emotion and mannerism, is still a wonder now, twenty years after the character's birth. Every time I see this costume, I think of all the freezing yaks that must have been left running around naked in Tibet.

Chewie wasn't the only non-human entity in the Star Wars universe to be invested with a fair degree of humanity; machinery, whether it be droid or pesky comlink, not only had an instrumental role in the fate of our heroes, but always seemed possessed of a unique personality and indelible character. Who can forget this vindictive little training remote, and the almost gleeful way it whipped around the Falcon's interior and zapped poor Luke?

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