Ron Howard on set
Credit: RealRonHoward/Twitter

Brace yourself for a Wookiee embrace.

As Ron Howard has taken the helm of the upcoming Han Solo movie, he has tweeted a handful of behind the scenes shots, first the floor, then the gates of the studio.

Last week, he got a little bolder and gave us a glimpse of a character’s closet. (Popular opinion is that he photographed the costumes of Lando Calrissian, played by Donald Glover.)

Today, the filmmaker actually dropped a big reveal: Ostensibly, it was a photo of Chewbacca (played by Joonas Suotamo) looking at some playback on the monitors. But the screens actually reveal something significant.

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Chewbacca stands forehead-to-forehead with another Wookiee in what looks like a moment of great emotion. Worry? Grief? Is this a goodbye of some sort?

Or is it a sign of happiness? Deep affection? Wookiee love?

To me, it’s a little of both. And even the positioning of what appears to be a Stormtrooper silhouette in the back left calls to mind a similar moment from The Empire Strikes Back, involving Han Solo and Princess Leia.

We know that this movie, set for release in 2018, is the origin story for young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and shows his history with Chewbacca — which also, presumably, involves a little of the Wookiee’s history, too.

So who is this other furball? There’s a lot of backstory for Chewbacca in the Expanded Universe of stories that were de-canonized to clear way for this new series of movies, and in 1979’s much-derided Star Wars Holiday Special, we saw Chewie celebrating Life Day (a kind of galactic Christmas) with his extended family: wife Malla, son Lumpy, and dad Itchy.

While all that would seemingly be far, far away from the official story Lucasfilm is following now, the 2015 YA retelling of the original Star Wars story, A New Hope: The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farmboy, included a reference to Chewbacca having a wife named Malla and a family back on the Wookiee world of Kashyyyk.

Is this Malla? Or maybe Lumpy? (… whose real name is Lumpawarrump, in chase his “Chewie”-style nickname sets your teeth on edge.)

In any case, this is a surprisingly moving frame considering it features two people in furry alien outfits.

**sad Wookiee roar**

Solo: A Star Wars Story
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