One of the first species outside of the human race that Star Wars officially introduced was the Wookiees – namely, Chewbacca, a Wookiee best friend of Han Solo. The Wookiee appears throughout the entire original trilogy, but we also learn that he was around centuries before it took place. So, how long do Wookiees live?
Wookiees have an expected lifespan of 400 years, although some have lived much longer. That being said, external factors such as working in mines or being noble warriors significantly decreased the life expectancy of certain Wookiees.
Now, that super-long lifespan explains why Chewie looks pretty much the same throughout all of his appearances in Star Wars movies. The span where a Wookiee is considered an adult lasts for about 300 years, and their appearance doesn’t change too dramatically throughout due to their long fur. Without further ado, here’s all you need to know about Wookiees and their age.
How long do Wookiees live?
Wookiees are native to the forest planet named Kashyyyk, where they live in treehouses, although they use sophisticated technology to build them. They are proud warriors and loyal friends and often are very devoted to their families. But how long do Wookiees live exactly?
Well, according to the reference book called ‘Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know,’ the average life expectancy for a Wookiee is around 400 standard years. Their lifespan varied, however, based on numerous factors that may or may not be biological.
For instance, one Wookiee, Lohgarra, a white-furred female, lived well over 600 years. The character appears in the young-adult canon novel ‘Lost Stars,’ written by Claudia Gray. Some Wookiees were even rumored to live as long as 800 years old, but that’s not a rule, but rather an exception.
On the other hand, some Wookiees never lived close to that age. Working in the dangerous mines of Kessel, their life expectancy shrunk dramatically. Some, who were noble warriors, were also known to live shorter. In other words, external factors are crucial to a Wookiee’s lifespan expectancy. If you remove those factors from the equation, an average Wookiee lives 400 years.
It’s important to note that the reference book, although considered canon, does have a disclaimer on the back that says:
“In 2014, Lucasfilm reclassified what is considered canon in the Star Wars universe. Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know draws mostly upon information from the Expanded Universe that Lucasfilm now considers to be “Legends”―that is, stories beyond the original six films and the TV shows Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.”
Meaning the 400-year life expectancy of a Wookiee is considered canon but may be subjected to change in the future.
What age do Wookies reach maturity?
This is a very interesting topic due to several new factors that recently caught Star Wars fans’ attention. So, Wookiees have a super long lifespan – much like the mysterious species that Yoda and Grogu belong to.
We know Master Yoda died at 900 years old in ‘Return of the Jedi.’ We also know that Grogu was well over 50 years old in ‘The Mandalorian’ Season 1 but was still practically an infant. So, does the same principle work for Wookiees too? At what age do they reach maturity?
Unlike Yoda and Grogu, Wookiees reach maturity much faster – closer to humans. A Wookiee is considered an adult at the young age of 18, and their adulthood lasts until they are about 300 years old. In that time frame – approximately from the age of 200-250, there’s a 50-year span where Wookiees seem not to age at all.
After reaching 300 years, a Wookiee is considered to be of ‘average’ or ‘mature’ age, and after 350, they are considered old. Here’s a quick rundown of a Wookiee’s life stages:
- Age 0-12: Child
- Age 13-17: Teenager/Young Adult
- Age 18-300: Adult
- Age 301-350: Average/Mature Age
- Age 350-400: Old
- Age 400+: Venerable/Very Old
How old is Chewbacca?
Although we didn’t learn Chewie’s exact age in the original trilogy, nor in the prequel trilogy, where Chewbacca made an appearance, we did learn how old he is in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ which was the story of how Han Solo and Chewie formed the most amazing partnership in the history of Star Wars.
In that movie, it was confirmed that Chewbacca was 190 years old. That movie, in particular, took place in the year 10 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), indicating that Chewie was born in 200 BBY. Knowing that, we can safely say how old he was throughout the franchise – and I’m doing it chronologically.
The first time we saw Chewie – chronologically, not literally – was in ‘Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith,’ where he was one of the Wookiees to fight alongside Master Yoda in the Battle of Kashyyyk. That took place nine years before the movie ‘Solo,’ in 19 BBY, which puts Chewie at the young age of 181, the first time we’ve seen him in action – chronologically.
The first time we’ve actually seen him in action – in the first Star Wars movie ever, aka’ Star Wars IV: A New Hope’ – Chewbacca was exactly 200 years old, as the events of this movie kind of marked the beginning of a new calendar for the galaxy.
The next movie, ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ happened about three years later, which would mean Chewie was 203 at the time – and 204 in the next movie, respectively, as ‘Return of the Jedi’ happens roughly a year or after ‘TESB.’
Now, we’ve seen Chewie in the sequel trilogy as well, and our beloved Wookie looks as if he hadn’t aged a bit! The first two movies of the sequel trilogy – ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Last Jedi’ – both take place in 34 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin), making Chewbacca 234 years old throughout both movies.
The third movie that completed the sequel trilogy, ‘The Rise of Skywalker,’ took place about a year later, in 35 ABY – meaning, the last time we saw Chewie, he was 235.
Now, that might sound like a lot, but it basically means that Chewbacca has approximately that much more to live – he’s still a fairly young Wookiee!
Do Wookiees mate for life?
Seeing that Wookiees lived for so long and that many of them traveled afar from their homeworld due to being enslaved or any other reason, one might expect that they don’t really engage in monogamous relationships. Well, you see, despite being big and strong, Wookiees are actually quite loving and loyal.
Their relationships are based on monogamy, and they usually mate with a single partner for life after being married. Meaning some Wookiee couples remain together for centuries!
Although they live for so long and are commonly fertile for centuries, a couple of Wookiees hardly ever has more than two or three children. The gestation period takes around a year, and the cubs are born quite large – about a meter tall – and they can walk and think on their own rather quickly at the age of one.
Even though they could, theoretically, have dozens of children over such a long lifespan, it hardly ever happens. I guess they just like to enjoy life without kids once their cubs grow up and start their own life.
Have something to add? Let us know in the comments!