Chewie Got Jobbed

This is technically another in the “Unanswered Questions from” series, and so I’ll still tag it that way, but it’s something that I’m a bit too turnt up about to give a passive title.

The youngest padawan has been journeying every morning with her Chewbacca stuffed animal from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World. The other day, as I was dropping that youngest padawan off, Chewie was placed in the driver’s seat and I was informed to allow him to drive.

I chuckled, and then things got serious as I realized…Chewie got jobbed in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy.

Let me explain.

Chewie Got Jobbed

Thanks to the overpowering allure of nostalgia, when we meet Chewbacca again in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, he hasn’t changed much from his original trilogy days. He’s Han’s trusty sidekick and protector. You could argue that he’s had a lot happen in the previous 30 years, but much like any backstory of that era it will forever remain an unopened mystery box.

(Sure, Myster Box is just a rebooted phrasing of the MacGuffin, but what can you do? It’s JJ Abrams.)

That’s all well and good. My issue is what happens after Han’s death.

After Han dies, Chewie stays attached to the Millenium Falcon. But for some reason, he has no rights to inherit the pilot’s seat. Instead, Rey takes it over, acts like the gig is hers by birthright, and at the end of Star Wars: [Don’t Say Episode IX:] The Rise of Skywalker, flies off with it on her own.

The Rise of Skywalker Isn't That Good | kesseljunkie
“Sorry, Chewie, it’s my ship now because…reasons.”

What the Hell?

I can forgive Lando appearing after an interminable absence and taking back the pilot’s chair as some sort of respectful tribute, but Rey? What has she done to just show up and take the chair?

Even if you were to say, “Well, she did find the Falcon hidden in the junkyard on Not-Tatooine, so maybe she inherits it by galactic law,” I’d say that’s an unjust law and would push for Chewie to sue. He has more right to that pilot’s chair than she does. Even if she found the Falcon, given that we have no idea how whether it changed hands legally, she doesn’t get to take ownership. That would be like someone finding a lost wedding ring and saying, “Well, it’s mine now.”

Even if you can make a stringent legalist argument to that, you’re still ethically in the wrong. You know that the ship belongs to Han & Chewie. Absent Han, it’s Chewie’s.

You may as well give it to this guy.

Further Argument on Chewie’s Behalf

We’ve seen Chewie, onscreen alone, journey from war hero on Kashyyk to trapped Imperial slave, to revolutionary, from revolutionary to copilot and best friend, to Rebel hero who turned the tide at the Battle of Endor. He’s quite the Wookiee. He’s also been rightful copilot (and arguably rightful co-owner) of the Millenium Falcon for decades.

All he’s been through, up to and including the death of his friend for whom he walked away from his kinsmen in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and talking his BFF into becoming a de facto Rebel, and then sticking by his side as his family fell apart, and he doesn’t get the keys to ship.

I’m sorry, that’s some straight up malarkey. And it’s apparently been gnawing at my subconscious for some time but, in that one moment with the youngest padawan, it sprang forth as another example of how the sequel trilogy fails on the character development front.

I know that might be a controversial take for some, but I’ve promised always to be honest here.

Chewie got jobbed.

The Rise of Skywalker Isn't That Good | kesseljunkie
Justice for Chewie!

8 thoughts on “Chewie Got Jobbed

  1. Nonsense. If after all those years, Chewie (I call him that because we’re apparently good friends) wasn’t placed on title, and assuming Han didn’t die with a will, then there’s reason to believe Han had no intention of it passing to Chewie. If this were just a massive oversight on the part of Han, the clearly-not-a-blood-relative-or-spouse has no legal claim to the ship. Instead, it would pass to Han’s relatives. With (SPOILER ALERT) Leia and Ben both dead, as well as Han’s parents (I assume), and no indication that merely kissing Ben made Rey his wife (don’t judge; I’m not barred in the Empire), the property would likely escheat to the state (i.e., the government takes ownership because there are no appropriate heirs). Based on Solo: A Star Wars Story, I doubt we’d be able to find any distant relatives of Han that could step in to prevent that. Welcome to the world of intestate succession.

    But now I have to ask how it arrived in the junkyard in the first place. How did Han lose it? Was the loss fair and square? I honestly don’t remember if that was addressed in Star Wars: [Don’t Say Episode VII:] The Force Awakens. If Han lost it fair and square, then he doesn’t own it, and his taking of it from Rey in TFA was itself an act of piracy. If that’s the way things are in the Wild W… ummm, Space, then who’s to say Rey’s claim isn’t any better than Chewie’s (besides you, fan boy)? If it’s not about piracy, then I’d need to see the title to the ship before I could even begin to form an opinion. Let’s try anyway.

    Back to “escheat to the state”: Which state? Which government — the Republic or the First Order — has jurisdiction? I doubt either government really cares at that moment. They’re all wrapped up in a huge war, and when the dust settles, there are going to be a lot of loose ends that the winning government doesn’t have time to tie. The government will likely resort to the otherwise inaccurate adage, “Possession is nine-tenths of the law.” (Why is that inaccurate? Because the other tenth — the one that matters — is actual ownership. If I actually can prove ownership, then I can claim it from whomever currently possesses it. The adage applies only to the rest of society that doesn’t actually own it, defaulting to possession as the best means to resolve the dispute. But I digress.) Because the existing title will be conveniently lost during the War to End All Ithorians, the winning government will probably issue a new title to whomever possesses it, and that will be the start of a new, legal paper trail.

    Of course, none of this happened on screen. If it did, it would have said, “Screenplay by Rob Bodine,” in the credits and would have made much less money. My interpretation was that this was a handshake agreement. Basically, Chewie just wanted to go back home where he’d have no need for a ship that’s so fast it measures speeds in distances rather than velocities. In other words, either Han didn’t want him to have it (see above), or Han knew Chewie wouldn’t want it (see this paragraph, which is technically above but much closer). Rey still had a use for it. Chewie probably just let it go, and no one in the new government was going to question Rey’s claim to it. A new title is now issued, and we have a new paper trail.

    Or it’s all about piracy, and we’ve both wasted a lot of time and effort.

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    1. OK, to answer you then, with your belief that our laws are similar, then Leia’s a jerk because she WOULD have inherited it, and therefore she chose to shaft Chewie. Which is why Kylo wanted to kill her, since he wanted the Falcon himself.

      Game, set, match.

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  2. Depends. If Han and Leia were legally divorced, and if they lived in a separate property state (which makes no sense in this context; see below), then she’d never have earned rights to the Falcon absent having her name placed on title. Even if she did have rights, those rights would have been resolved through the divorce, and since Han kept the ship post-divorce (did he?), then obviously he regained total ownership of the Falcon.

    I’ve considered the constitutional issues associated with the Empire v. the planets, which is closely analogous to the US federal government v. our states, but with a galactic and (possibly) planetary governmental layer on top of it. What I don’t know is whether planets still have separate countries in a space-faring time, so I really have no idea what government (galactic, planetary, federal, state, or local) would have jurisdiction over something so minor. It seems like it’d still be a state or local thing, but if so, then none of us have any idea how the law would address these issues even if we assume these laws roughly parallel what we see in the United States. Most of the heavy lifting in the US is done by the states, and we have 50 different states with their own ideas as to how to run things.

    The bottom line, however, is that your premise is flawed. There’s no reason a non-relative should assume rights to the Falcon, especially in light of the fact that (apparently) nothing was done during Han’s lifetime (by either Han or Chewie) to provide an exception to the default rule. There’s nothing here that should be assumed to be illegal or even unethical. Chewie is responsible for Chewie. He screwed up.

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    1. Ah, but see, you too are making a presumption that Chewie didn’t have his name on the title. While I was speaking strictly to the storytelling shortcomings of the writing in this regard, at least from an emotional and development standpoint, I wasn’t attempting to address the actual legal process. So please allow me to retort with this:

      I was addressing the ethical and moral dilemma of screwing Chewie out of what was rightfully his, and the fact you conflated ethical and moral with “legal” is exactly the kind of thing that an authoritarian like Sidious/Palpatine would pursue. Hence, you are a Sith, meaning anything you say should be regarded with great suspicion and the least generous interpretation.

      Further, as Palpatine’s heir apparent (spoilers), Rey should also be considered as having used treachery and deceit to worm her way from copilot seat to pilot seat in the matter of a few parsecs. She coldly took advantage of Han’s death and Chewie’s distraught state to take possession of a thing while the estate was in question, and flew off to some dank planet with Whale Nuns and porgs. Since it was basically a day(ish?) after the loss of his BFF, she leveraged Chewie into going with her, undoubtedly to con him into forfeiting any rights a la Lex Luthor.

      In conclusion, you’re a Sith and Rey is one by nature. You should marry Rey.

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      1. No, you can’t really spoil a movie that I have very little intention of seeing. I mean, if I’m bored and channel surfing some day, I might watch it. I mean, it’s probably not quite “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze” bad. I’ve almost got my head canon to the place where the movies popular belief holds to be Episodes 7, 8, and 9 are really all just a drug fueled nightmare Chewie is having. But yeah, spoil away. In actuality, it’s probably better that my expectations will be lowered should I ever see it.

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