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If you’re going to bring to life one of half of Star Wars‘ most iconic duos in Han Solo and Chewbacca, it goes without saying that you need to nail the language.
In fact, young Han Solo actor Alden Ehrenreich even had to audition with a bit of Wookiee, just to prove that he has what it takes to hold down his own. And, if you ask Alden, to humiliate him too.
Speaking to Jimmy Kimmel in an interview that quickly proved to be a goldmine for anyone who’s counting down the days until Solo: A Star Wars Story‘s release, Alden opened up about learning to speak Chewbacca’s language in all of its intricacies.
“It’s a little of both,” he replied to Jimmy’s question of whether there’s a proper language to tap into or if the actors just make grunting noises.
“We had to figure out, there’s a part where it’s subtitled, so we had to figure out what words meant certain words. But it was in my audition that I had to learn it, and sort out the whole thing.”
Which begged the question that Jimmy had to ask: “Did they do that to humiliate you?”
“Yeah,” Alden joked. “To see if you can deal with how embarrassed you feel.”
The interview even taught viewers what, exactly, the language is actually called. Because, as it turns out, it’s not just ‘Wookieespeak’ like we all thought.
“Shyriiwook, is the name of the language,” Alden confirmed, after singing the praises of Chewbacca actor Joonas Suotamo, who took over the role from Peter Mayhew starting with The Force Awakens.
“He does that live, and then they take the sound of a bear, and a seal, then a lion or something, and combine it.”
So, there you have it. To speak Shyriiwook, you need Joonas (or Mayhew), a lion, a seal and a bear. Simple.
The upcoming standalone Star Wars film is set a decade before Han and Luke Skywalker joined forces to battle the Empire in A New Hope.
Solo: A Star Wars Story will be released in cinemas on May 24 in the UK and May 25 in the US. Book tickets now.
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