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The heartbreaking discovery made in Chewbacca actor's attic

Posted at 4:38 PM, Feb 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-15 16:38:24-05

(CNN) -- "Star Wars" scripts formerly owned by Peter Mayhew, the original portrayer of Chewbacca, would be treasured finds for most any fan of a galaxy far, far away.

Now, though, instead of being sold at auction, Mayhew's old items will go to the late actor's foundation and then be displayed at a Texas toy store dedicated to "Star Wars."

British auction house Ryedale Auctioneers was set to sell various call sheets, scripts from "The Empire Strikes Back" and other Chewbacca memorabilia found in the attic of Mayhew's former home. Mayhew's widow, Angie, said she didn't know the items were heading to auction until BBC presenter Jon Kay tweeted photos of some memorabilia.

Mayhew, who for decades played the lovable Wookiee pilot Chewbacca, died in 2019 at 74. He had long experienced health issues stemming from his gigantism, and Angie Mayhew said his mobility was limited, in a statement through his eponymous foundation's Twitter account.

"When we moved out of this house Peter's movement challenges made it impossible for him to get into the attic to get the rest of these memories," she wrote, noting that it broke her heart to see the items auctioned off. "It was one of Peter's and my biggest regrets that we had to leave these items behind, but his knees and joints had gotten to be so painful that he was no longer able to go into the attic to get them."

The Peter Mayhew Foundation, a nonprofit the late actor created that benefits various causes, said in a tweet that it had requested the items be returned to the foundation.

Within days of Angie Mayhew's tweets and a chorus of "Star Wars" fans' differing opinions on what to do with the items, the auction was called off. Ryedale Auctioneers head Angus Ashworth said in a statement to CNN that the couple who uncovered the "Star Wars" memorabilia in their attic were "quite happy to donate" the lot of items to the Peter Mayhew Foundation to have in its collection, "not for profit, so that fans can access it in perpetuity."

"I can only apologise to all of the Star Wars (sic) fans who had already shown great interest in owning a bit of film history!" Ashworth said.

As for Mayhew's souvenirs from his stint as Chewbacca, the foundation's philanthropy director, Matthew Egan, told CNN that the items will be displayed at the Holocron Toy Store in Fort Worth, Texas, a popular "Star Wars" shop Egan said has donated more than $300,000 in "Star Wars" toys that the foundation then distributed to patients at children's hospitals and to shelters for women who have experienced domestic violence.

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