Why didn't Chewbacca get a medal at the end of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope? That is a question fans have been asking for the past 38 years, ever since the original 1977 release of the first movie. During the iconic medal ceremony on Yavin IV, which celebrated the heroism of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker during the raid, and ultimate destruction of the Death Star, both humans were given a gold medal of bravery by none other than Princess Leia. Chewbacca had to stand on the sidelines and yell out his disappointment just before credits rolled. He was left empty handed. Now, a new comic book has our real, true, canon specific answer to what actually happened.
The medal debate has raged for years. The truth is, Chewbacca was given a medal to call his own. He just didn't want to wear it. This idea is presented in the new Chewbacca comic book series, issue #5. io9 has an official review of the comic book, which they have shared. There are some spoilers ahead for Chewbacca #5, so read on at your own risk!
Chewbacca #5 brings the Wookie's short adventure with Zarro to an end. The crash-landed duo have freed the young girl's father from a local thug operating spice mines. And they have escaped Imperial Troops. After freeing themselves from a Star Destroyer, Chewbacca and Zarror are ready to go their separate ways. The young Zarro suggests to Chewy that it sure would be nice if they had a memento to remember how they saved this planet from the Empire. This is when Chewbacca turns to bestow his Yavin IV medal on the girl.
It is presumed, but never outright stated, that Chewbacca was given the medal sometime after the big ceremony. It's unclear why Leia didn't hand him the medal at the same time Luke and Han were awarded theirs. Chewy explains to Zarro that he doesn't like having the medal, and that it clashes with his 'warrior vibe'. At least, this is how Zarro translates the Wookie's native language of Shyriiwook.
Now we know for a fact that Chewbacca did get his own medal for helping destroy the Death Star. But we'll likely never see that medal again. It's not like we ever saw Han and Luke's medals show up in previous movies. Unless there is a The Force Awakens Easter egg fans have yet to locate.
The Marvel Star Wars comics have been doing a great job of filling in a lot of little holes that the movies miss or gloss over. And this is all official Star Wars canon. The theories and debates about Chewbacca and his medal can finally be put to rest. Next up, in a C-3PO one shot, we will learn just how the droid got his red arm. That comic will be released in February. Until then, here's a sneak peek at Chewbacca #5.