Shyriiwook, the given name of the Wookiee language, has always been a bit of a Star Wars mystery, if only because our experience with it is mostly the whines and growls of Chewbacca. But it turns out, before it gets turned into those famous roars on the set of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Shryiiwook sounds like a very cursy bit of English. Or Galactic Basic, to keep it in the galaxy far, far away.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about the art of communicating like a walking carpet, Alden Ehrenreich – who actually has to speak a few lines of Shryiiwook in Solo – and Joonas Suotamo, the young Chewie himself, revealed that on set Shryiiwook lines are delivered in multiple ways. In some versions, Suotamo grunts an approximation of the snarfs and growls that will eventually be added to the movie in post-production. In some takes, like the legendary Peter Mayhew before him, Suotamo just delivers them in English:
ALDEN EHRENREICH: Joonas always does some version of the line with the noise, and that’s really fun. [It’s replaced in the finished film with distorted audio of animal sounds.] Sometimes he’ll say what he would be saying [in English] but sort of in the …
JOONAS SUOTAMO: [In plaintive Chewie warble] “Do you speak my language?”
EHRENREICH: [Laughs] There’s probably a great version of the movie where they just leave all those things in!
While we agree with Ehrenreich that the home release of Solo should absolutely include an “English Chewbacca” cut, it’s not just for the weird delight of getting to hear what Chewie is actually saying. It’s because apparently, the English-language version would give us a much swear-y version of the Wookiee:
SUOTAMO: I would love that, but there are some swear words.
EHRENREICH: [Nods] There’s a lot of swear words.
SUOTAMO: I heard one particular swear word wasn’t cut until the very last moments where they found a bear sound, and I was devastated. They should have stopped looking and just left it in there.
I like to think that Chewie really is just cursing at everyone around him through the Star Wars films, and Han is just acting as a bit of a filter for his ruder expletives. Someone get to dubbing all the Chewie scenes we have so far with a lot more “fucks” added, pretty please?