Chewbacca makes an appearance outside Comic-Con. Chris Stone photo

It’s one thing to be part of the “Star Wars” fandom, but Vista fire Captain Samuel Craig has long taken his support a step farther — dressing up as one of the franchise’s most recognizable characters, the Wookie Chewbacca.

So when Chewbacca’s long-time portrayer, actor Peter Mayhew died Tuesday, Craig took it almost like a personal loss, reported NBC-7 San Diego.

“It’s hard to put into words what Chewbacca meant to the (fan) community,” Craig told the station. “He was the passion, the teddy bear, the loyalty. He was everything, for everyone.”

In addition to taking on the iconic role, Mayhew was one of the most popular actors on the convention circuit, known for engaging with and enjoying fans’ company. A fan favorite and San Diego Comic-Con fixture himself, director Kevin Smith, thanked Mayhew in a tweet, saying he always waved “the flag for fandom.”

Vista Fire Captain Samuel Craig, a mega Chewbacca fan. He mourned “Star Wars” actor Peter Mayhew’s April 30, 2019 death.

Craig was one of the fortunate fans who got the chance to meet Mayhew, while wearing his own personal homemade Chewbacca costume. Fans have been thrilled to run into Craig, who has worn the costume at Comic-Con.

He also dons his Chewbacca suit for community and charity events in North County, according to NBC-7 San Diego.

Craig knows, however, that Mayhew did more than fill the furry costume. He said he could tell the difference on screen when a stuntman took the actor’s place, because Mayhew brought “so much of the heart” to Han Solo’s famous sidekick.

“That’s what made it an endearing character,” he added. “It wasn’t the costume, it was the man inside the costume.”

– Staff reports

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