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Published: Sunday, 6/9/2013

TSA agents stop Chewbacca actor over light saber

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Abby Kurdziel, 4, gets a hug from Chewbacca on the concourse before a Toledo Mud Hens game May 4. Transportation Security Administration agents in Denver briefly stopped “Star Wars” franchise actor Peter Mayhew, who plays Chewbacca, recently as he was boarding a flight with a cane shaped like one of science-fiction’s most iconic weapons. Abby Kurdziel, 4, gets a hug from Chewbacca on the concourse before a Toledo Mud Hens game May 4. Transportation Security Administration agents in Denver briefly stopped “Star Wars” franchise actor Peter Mayhew, who plays Chewbacca, recently as he was boarding a flight with a cane shaped like one of science-fiction’s most iconic weapons.
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DENVER — 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 Mr. Mayhew, who is more than 7 feet tall, on the plane.

Mr. 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.

There was no word on whether agents were initially suspicious that Chewie had a weapon more commonly associated with other Star Wars characters, including Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and Yoda.

Attempts to contact Mr. Mayhew, 69, for comment — or roar — were not immediately successful.



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