TSA agents in Denver held up Peter Mayhew, the Star Wars actor who played Chewbacca, for traveling with a large, ‘suspicious’-looking cane that resembles a light saber.
The 69-year-old actor stands 7’3” tall and relies on his walking cane to get around, which is designed to look like a light saber. But when ‘Chewbacca’ reached security at Denver International Airport on June 3, his famous role in Star Wars did little to smoothen the process.
Mayhew was returning to his home in Boyd, Texas, after attending the Denver Comic Con. He frequently brings his light sabre cane to public events, and has posed in numerous photos with the object over the years.
Transportation Security Administration agents stopped the man and initially refused to allow the walking cane onboard. Mayhew live-tweeted the incident, documenting his frustration with his followers while the agents were examining his light saber-like cane.
“Giant man need giant cane… small cane snap like toothpick… besides… my light saber cane is just too cool… I would miss it…” Mayhew wrote.
The Force was strong in Chewy’s case: Mayhew posted numerous photos of the incident on his Twitter account, and claims that TSA agents allowed him to take the cane onboard only after the online uproar began. One photo shows the enormous actor sitting in a wheelchair while TSA agents examine the walking stick.
Magic words to TSA are not "please" or "thank you".. It's "Twitter".. cane released to go home.. twitter.com/TheWookieeRoar…— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) June 3, 2013
“Magic words to TSA are not ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ … It’s ‘Twitter’… cane released to go home,” Mayhew tweeted from his account, @TheWookieeRoars, indicating that the agents buckled to pressure from tweets about the incident.
“In Dallas. Thank you to @AmericanAir for checking up on me. Problem was all @TSA. I’m a million-miler on American and they are a class act,” he later wrote.
But the TSA soon released its own statement, arguing that their agents were not swayed by the angry tweets against them.
“Because of the unusual weight of the passenger’s cane, a security officer alerted a supervisor,” reads the statement, which was sent to AP. “Less than five minutes later the passenger and cane were cleared to travel. Social media played no role in the determination.”
The actor, who is frequently referred to as “Chewy”, also retweeted an astronomer who quoted Star Wars’ Han Solo in the context of the TSA incident.
“Just learned Star Wars lesson #1: ‘Let the Wookie(e) Win,” the Tweet reads.