In the Original Trilogy, Chewbacca's bowcaster seems pretty similar to a normal blaster, with the blast only affecting the person it hits.

However, in The Force Awakens, his bowcaster seems much more powerful, creating explosions that affect multiple targets.

Are these meant to be the same bowcaster, and if so, why the apparent change is power?

My question is related to this answer, however, I would like an answer based on Canon, not Legends, works.

  • 5
    It does seem like it could be different. Han seems surprised at the power of it, and I kept thinking "has he never in all this time shot Chewie's weapon!?!" Dec 22, 2015 at 23:36
  • Unless the novelization has more details, Han's surprise might be our only evidence.
    – joshbirk
    Jan 6, 2016 at 21:10
  • 3
    It's worth noting that they aren't the same prop. Very similar, but not the same
    – Valorum
    Jan 6, 2016 at 22:35

1 Answer 1


Neither the movie and and novelization give us much detail on the bowcaster Chewie is using. We don't know where it's from, how old it is, how customized it is, etc.

It's interesting to note that Han takes the bowcaster in the movie at least twice and shoots it, but no such scenes occur in the novelizations, implying they were last-minute changes to the script. (One explanation I have seen is that the director needed to explain how a single shot from the bowcaster was able to

seriously wound Kylo Ren enough for Rey to beat him

so he added some scenes of Han admiring the weapon's power.)

This means the only thing we have to go on is the one scene in the movie where Han asks to borrow the bowcaster, and decides he likes it and wants to get one for himself. The way the exchange takes place really only makes sense if there's something new and better about the bowcaster than the one Chewie had been using previously. Han doesn't even seem sure about how to use it for his first shot, and is surprised by it's power.

Even if he'd never used it in combat before, I find it extremely difficult to imagine that Chewie had been carrying around a strange bow/blaster hybrid weapon for 30+ years and Han never once even picked it up out of curiosity.

I'll also note that the weapon looks more powerful than the one from the original trilogy -- the amount of damage it does seems higher than previously. Combined with Han's seeming lack of awareness of how powerful it is, I think the only reasonable conclusion is that it's either a new, or newly modified, bowcaster that Chewie's carrying around.

  • Makes you wonder why they didn't simply have Han use a word like "new" or "upgraded" when he was admiring the bowcaster.
    – Ixrec
    Jan 31, 2016 at 19:47

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