The world of Star Wars is packed with instantly recognizable noises. The Wilhelm Scream. The swoosh of a lightsaber. The “pew pew” of the blasters. Whatever the hell Jawas are saying. But perhaps no noise in the entire Star Wars galaxy is more iconic than Chewbacca’s roar. The distinct yell, complete with the unforgettable intonations and slight tongue roll, is so universally known that anytime it’s even mentioned, basically everyone in the room will give their best effort to replicate the Wookie’s cry.
Yet many find their impression of the Millennium Falcon’s co-pilot either falls woefully short 0r is just downright embarrassing. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. It turns out, there are actually tips out there that can help even the most stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder tighten up their best Chewie. And we rounded up the best ones here.
Like rolling your Rs, the key to pulling off a convincing Chewbacca roar ⏤ which reportedly was a mix of walrus, tiger, and camel sounds, among other animals ⏤ is the proper position of your tongue. According to Geekologie, a “geek blog dedicated to the scientific study of gadgets, gizmos, and awesome,” the first thing you need to do is to move your jaw as far back as possible. From there, move the back of your tongue so that it presses against your uvula, which is the tiny bit of flesh that looks like a mini punching bag dangling in the back of your throat. (Expert tip: Be careful about pressing too hard, it can lead to vomiting).
Once your tongue is in the proper position, do your best impression of Chewie’s infamous growl to see how close you are. If your tongue is in the right place, it should make your impression noticeably more authentic. Although if you aren’t even sure how to make the Chewbacca noise to begin with, start with a general groan. You can make adjustments from there.
After nailing the basic technique ⏤ which most certainly will take a bit of practice⏤ you can begin evolving your Chewbacca roar by experimenting with the shape of your lips and the pitch you are using. Some have suggested pursing your lips, while one Reddit user says to position your mouth “in kind of a weird, open version of a Robert DeNiro smile.” Some have also suggested the benefits of rocking your head back and forth, though its actual function is not entirely clear.
As for changing pitch and tone, that will merely allow you to diversify your Chewbacca impression by adding different emotions to your interpretation of the signature roar. While most remember Chewie as having one yell, he is actually equipped with a wide range of vocal tics that show off the many facets of his personality.
To pull off his sad yell, you want your groan to sound more like a dog whimpering. If you want to sound like an angry Wookie, you’ll want to sound more like Tarzan’s mighty scream. And if you want to demonstrate Chewbacca when he feels so good he could take on the whole Empire by himself, put more volume behind your groan and use a slightly higher tone ⏤ all while keeping your tongue in its proper place, of course.
While all of this may seem like too much trouble to be worth the effort, with a bit of practice⏤ and perhaps a bit of help from the Force within ⏤ you should be able to at least not embarrass yourself next time you have to show off your Wookie War Cry.