'Solo' Sequels Could Fix One Big Chewbacca Plot Hole

Not since the prequel trilogy has there been a more origin-y Star Wars movie than Solo: A Star Wars Story. But as audiences embark on one of the first heists ever taken by a young Han Solo (played by Alden Ehrenreich), there’s one question the film forgot to answer: How did Chewbacca get his bowcaster crossbow? For a movie preoccupied with explaining things that don’t need to be explained, Chewie not getting his famous weapon is a bizarre omission. And it’s one that feels like it could be corrected should there be a sequel to Solo.

In Solo, audiences witness a young Han Solo navigate the galaxy as a wide-eyed, reckless, soon-to-be scruffy scoundrel who is separated from his first love, Qi’ira (Emilia Clarke). In the years that pass between Han and Qi’ira’s reunion in the unlikeliest of circumstances, Han meets Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo, replacing Peter Mayhew since The Force Awakens) for the first time in a clever subversion of Luke Skywalker and the Rancor in Return of the Jedi.

Lots of things are explained and foreshadowed about Han in this movie. From his mistrust of other people to his joining of the rebellion, to even the gold dice he keeps hanging above the Millennium Falcon cockpit, everything gets an origin in Solo. Han’s famous blaster gets the biggest beat in the film, a quiet moment that carries the weight of 40-plus years of mythology. But you know what doesn’t? Chewie’s way overpowered bowcaster, a weapon favored by Wookies that’s been packaged with every Chewbacca action figure for decades.

Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in 1977's 'Star Wars.'


How Chewie obtained his bowcaster remains a mystery in the post-Disney canon of Star Wars. A 2015 coffee table book, Ultimate Star Wars, reveals that Chewie crafted his bowcaster with mods from a Stormtrooper blaster, including “an automatic cocking system, a feature traditional models of the time lacked.”

But the timeline for when Chewie built the thing is unknown. It’s definitely after 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, where Chewie fought in alongside Yoda in the Battle of Kashyyyk armed with a different bowcaster. Chewie’s Sith bowcaster was cast in bronze and shaped like a “U” than the normal “T”-shaped crossbows. At some point after the fight, Chewie must have ditched that bowcaster and built a new one. Since he used Stormtrooper mods, it definitely happened after the Jedi Purge and the rise of the Galactic Empire, which swapped in Stormtroopers to replace the outdated Clone Trooper army.

Chewbacca, armed with a different bowcaster, in 2005's 'Revenge of the Sith.'


Solo takes place several decades after Revenge of the Sith, and about a decade before 1997’s A New Hope where fans saw Chewie carry his crossbow for the first time. The weapon has earned even greater mythical status in recent years, when in 2015’s The Force Awakens Han fired Chewie’s bowcaster himself and discovered just how much heat the thing packs in one shot. That Han and Chewie could work together for decades and Han wouldn’t be curious to fire it just once is its own mystery.

Not everything needs to be explained or revisited. 2017’s The Last Jedi is a two-hour thesis why iconography and slavish devotion to canon can be misguided. But Chewie and his crossbow are so closely related, it’s just kind of odd no one knows how they came to be. Could a sequel to Solo be a chance to rectify this? Sure, why not. But then again, it’s never been Chewie’s style to share things.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now.

Related Tags