TSA Tries To Confiscate Chewbacca’s Light Saber Shaped Cane

Mayhew Denver

Peter Mayhew, the actor who portrayed Chewbacca in Star Wars, recently had some trouble while flying out of Denver International Airport last week:

DENVER (AP) — Not even Chewbacca and his light saber get a free pass with airport security before being cleared to travel.

Transportation Security Administration agents in Denver briefly stopped “Star Wars” franchise actor Peter Mayhew recently as he was boarding a flight with a cane shaped like one of science-fiction’s most iconic weapons.

Airport officials say they wanted to inspect the huge walking stick before allowing Mayhew, who is more than 7 feet tall, on the plane.

Mayhew tweeted “Giant man need giant cane” from his verified Twitter account when the incident happened June 3. He also posted photos showing a TSA agent holding the replica laser sword, which comes up to his chest.

Many subsequent media reports made it seem as though security officials buckled to pressure from Chewie’s fans in allowing the actor to board the flight to Dallas with the cane, but officials say that characterization is inaccurate.

“Because of the unusual weight of the passenger’s cane, a security officer alerted a supervisor. Less than five minutes later the passenger and cane were cleared to travel. Social media played no role in the determination,” the TSA said in a brief statement released to The Associated Press on Saturday.

The only question, of course, is why Han wasn’t there to give Chewie a ride home. And, oh yea, Chewie is on Twitter.

Via Facebook and Gawker


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Liberal Capitalist says:

    As a frequent flier, I really hate to step up to the defense of the TSA, but…

    Complete non-story, except for the famous name (sans fuzzy shag carpet suit)

    I mean, look at the picture… Does that look like a standard cane?

    More like a big stick, baseball bat, or well… an oversized solid replica of a light saber.

    So, applying the rules of potential weapon-like sporting goods ( http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/sporting-equipment )… the agent verified with a supervisor, received an exception, and off everyone went.

    Five minutes of delay, less time than it took for me to read this and write a response.

  2. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Oh… and last time I checked, a light saber was a Jedi self defense weapon…

    The Lightsaber is the signature weapon of the Jedi order and their Sith counterparts, both of whom can use them for close combat, or to deflect blaster bolts…. The Lightsaber’s blade cuts through most substances without resistance. It leaves cauterized wounds in flesh, but can be deflected by another Lightsaber’s blade, or by energy shields.

    …which I think falls under the martial arts carry on ban.


    Checked, OK, carry on, not so much.

    the REAL question is why would a wookie (who is NOT a Jedi) have a light saber.

    They do better with a bowcaster, or just a laser pistol.

  3. Gustopher says:

    I travel with a banjo that folds up so it fits in my carry on luggage. In an x-ray, it looks weird — large metal ring, with wires sticking out.

    I always leave a few extra minutes for security, because it sometimes gets noticed, and the TSA wants to look in the bag. There are apparently enough other folding banjos and guitars out there that sometimes the TSA folks recognize it, and sometimes they just run it again to see what the new guy thinks it is (really).

    Generally, I only feel like they aren’t doing their job when they don’t notice it.

    Giant walking stick shaped like a light saber? Same thing, I assume. It’s out of the ordinary, expect some out of the ordinary treatment.

  4. Don’t those TSA agents know you always let the wookie win?

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:


    I travel with a banjo that folds up so it fits in my carry on luggage. In an x-ray, it looks weird — large metal ring, with wires sticking out.

    Back when I was expedition caving, when I flew to or from I always put my essentials in my carry on (helmet, headlamps, battery packs, climbing gear, etc. I always expected extra attention and was only surprised when I didn’t get it. Disappointed too because I am such an attention whore.

  6. stonetools says:

    If you are OK with just a few planes being blown up every year, because the TSA security procedures aren’t exacting enough, but there is more FREEDOM!, then this is evidence that TSA is overdoing it.
    Most people don’t accept the civil libertarian calculus that it’s worth it to live with the higher risk of planes blowing up , so I expect the TSA procedures will continue.

  7. JKB says:

    TSA is mixing up their movies. There is no concern in Star Wars about Lightsabers of Unusual Weight (LUW). Bu they should be concerned that this is not the Wookie they are looking for.

  8. Anderson says:

    Never mind the cane, Wookiees probably aren’t suitable for public air travel in the first place. A jet’s cabin is not a good place for an enraged Wookiee.

  9. Neil Hudelson says:

    First they came for the giant light sabre walking sticks, but I was not a wookie, so I said nothing…

  10. The sad thing this news reveals is that Mayhew may not be physically up to reprising his role as Chewbacca for Episode VII.