My understanding was that Chewie was bound to Han with a 'life-debt' for Han having freed him from slavery.

In Episode VII,

Han is slain. Does this mean that all obligations arising from the life-debt are canceled?

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    ...and if so, does this mean he's just flying off with Rey because he supports the mission?
    – zipquincy
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 16:18
  • I imagine so, yes. However cannot find canon source confirming. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 16:21
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    To my knowledge, the life-debt doesn't actually exist within Disney canon. Han Solo was originally envisioned to have grown up with Wookiees
    – phantom42
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 16:23
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    Won't it be delightful that the debt passed to Han's children and we find Chewie fighting alongside Kylo Ren?
    – Bardo
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 16:45
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    @Bardo Ahh, the good old "Join me, and together we will rule the galaxy." Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 1:20

2 Answers 2


In Disney Canon, the answer is unknown. As a matter of fact, I don't recall explicit acknowledgement of the life debt existing in Disney canon in the first place before today.

However, please note that the concept of life debt DOES exist in New Disney canon, since a 2nd Aftermath novel (planned for 2017) butchered by Chuck Wendig will be called "Aftermath: Life Debt")

In Legends/EU canon, Chewie makes it clear that life debt to Han extends to Leia and their (non-Disney-canon) children even while Han is alive (e.g. Thrawn books, when he protects first Leia against Nohgri, then their kids).

  • The life debt is mentioned even in the original trilogy I tTHINK once
    – Thomas
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 15:37
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    @Thomas - i'd appreciate a quote if you have one. Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 15:52
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    @Thomas Not in the movies. As of 1994, the only sources for the the story of the life debt Chewie owes Han is the Han Solo Adventures trilogy. As such, it was not from an "official Lucasfilm source" (what passed for canon at the time) and instead was a "licensed source". "Solo destroyed his (Imperial) military career to free..." Chewbacca from slavers. (Summary quote from Bill Slavicsek, A Guide to the Star Wars Universe). Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 4:08
  • @ToddWilcox - Where can I learn about this Wookie Life Debt? A: "Not from a Jedi... Lucas" Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 4:09
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    @DVK-in-exile - Life Debt is book 2 in the Aftermath series (released 7.12.16)
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 19:50

TL;DR: Chewbacca's life debt still exists in canon, but Han has essentially released him from it.

The life debt exists:

“I saved him, at least that’s what he says, the big fuzzy fool, but really, he saved me. I was on a bad path, and Chewie, he put me straight. Saved my shanks more than once, too. He said it was part of some life debt — he has a word for it, but if I try to say it in his tongue I’ll probably strain something. Even if I can’t say it, I know what it means. It means that he owes his life to me."
- Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt

It is still valid, but Han effectively released Chewie from it, by ordering the Wookiee to go back to his family:

“No. No! You have to stay here. We fought like hell for this and now... this is yours. Okay? All yours. This is home. You got people here and I want you to find them, You hear me? That’s my last demand. No arguments.” Chewie rumbles but Han reiterates, more firmly this time: “I said no arguments. You be with your family. I have to go start mine”...

“I’ll be back. We’re not done, you and I. We’ll see each other again. I’m gonna be a father and no way my kid won’t have you in his life.”

One more bark and yip as Chewie pets his head.

“Yeah, pal. I know.” He sighs. “I love you, too.”
- Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt

And Chewbacca did as Han told him:

I wonder how Chewbacca is doing. Her husband’s old Wookiee partner had settled back into a peaceful domestic life on Kashyyyk. As difficult as it was for Leia to imagine Chewie being content at home, he’d remained there long enough that she had to conclude he was enjoying himself. Han never passes along Chewie’s holos; I need to make some time to catch up, and soon.
- Star Wars: Bloodline

Han doesn't think the life debt makes sense any more, because in Han's eyes, he's the one who owes Chewie something:

The galaxy is changing, and with peace now a possibility, some dare to imagine new beginnings and new destinies. For Han Solo, that means settling his last outstanding debt, by helping Chewbacca liberate the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk...

But that’s a hot cup of bantha spit, is what it is. He doesn’t owe me. I owe him. I got a debt to Chewie to get him his home back. So when this chance came up, I leapt at it. The rebels, or the Republic, or whatever they want to call themselves? They didn’t want any part of it. I made it clear, we need to make Kashyyyk a priority, but they waved me off. Not strategically significant, they said. Not yet. Soon. Blah blah."
- Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt

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    As a tangent, I'm utterly flabbergasted by the utter badness of the writing quoted here. Did someone actually write that, or was it machine-generated? Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 22:00
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    @JonKiparsky - Bloodline is rather good; both Aftermath books are notoriously horrible. They are written entirely in the present tense and use cringeworthy phrases like "while you were still in your space diapers". It is shocking that Disney allowed the Aftermath author (Chuck Wendig) to butcher three books worth of canon material.
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 22:11

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