The great thing about writers conferences is you never know who you're going to meet. This past weekend, I met a wookie. Or at least the man behind the wookie. Peter Mayhew was the guest of honor at Archon in St. Louis. He played Chewbacca in the original Star Wars movies.
Star Wars was the first movie I ever saw in the theatre. My dad took my brother and I. Mike was 7 and I was 5 - the age when you're more excited about the popcorn and soda than the actual film. Well, until it started. We were glued as soon as the big battle ships flew across the screen.
Then came the sequels, and the action figures - the old ones - before Leah had sexy curves and Luke somehow sprouted muscles (but that's an entirely different blog).
Star Wars colored our childhoods. And Mayhew's life too. He said the Chewbacca character started as a "two week" part, meaning if it hadn't worked immediately, they would have found a new sidekick for Han Solo.
He also said that when he first visited George Lucas's office, the drawings of Chewbacca showed a humanid-type character with bermuda shorts and a vest. Can you imagine? I'm sure glad Chewbacca grew more fur.
And just when I though the weekend couldn't get better, I walked into the bookseller's room and found Casey Daniels' latest release, Dead Man Talking. It looked so good that I bought two. One for me and one for a lucky winner. Tell us about your favorite Star Wars character, memory, action figure and, well, really - anything Star Wars - and you're entered to win. May the force be with you!