TSA Denver tries to confiscate Chewbacca actor's light-saber cane

Peter Mayhew, the seven-foot-tall actor who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies, livetweeted his dustup with the TSA operatives at Denver airport as they attempted to confiscate his light-saber-themed cane, which he needs to walk. The TSA agents apparently objected to the cane because it was too long (Mayhew explains, "Giant man need giant cane.. small cane snap like toothpick.... besides.. my light saber cane is just cool.. I would miss it.."). The tweets came to the attention of American Airlines, with whom Mayhew is a million-mile flyer, and they intervened with the TSA to get him on his flight with his mobility aid.

Mayhew was returning to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport from an appearance at Denver Comic Con early this week when TSA agents refused to let Chewie board his plane with one of a kind cane.

Chewbacca Actor Battles TSA Over Light Saber Cane


  1. To be fair, there’s no way to know that’s not a real lightsaber.  That said, I’m pretty sure that lightsabers aren’t on the prohibited items list.

    1.  Actually….they are.  Two years ago I flew to my Dad’s house with three 2x2x12 inch blocks of wood in my bag. No, problems at all did TSA have with me having three heavy sharp cornered blocks of wood. At my Dad’s house I used his lathe to fashion wooden light saber hilts. Attempting to fly back, TSA now had a problem with my rounded blocks of wood that were suddenly now weapons. So with this I can just deduce that TSA does ban Light Sabers, if they are wooden replicas or canes. It is still a functional weapon to these idiots.

      1. By that logic, you should just be able to wave your hand a bit and tell them that those aren’t the items they’re looking for.

      2. To be fair, you can bring a file and a bar of steel, and file it down into a knife while on the plane.

        But really, TSA needs to pull their heads from their asses.

  2. Nice to see confirmation that the security “rules” created/enforced by a government agency can be overruled by a corporation on request.  Citizens?  Not so much.

    1. This was the standout part of the story for me.

      Issue of National Security, and yet an airline company has veto power? That’s some bullshit right there freedom fighters.

      1. Ha, I was about to do my cookie cutter ‘sharp things are everywhere’ bit – but you got here first!

        You can’t be my new enemy, The Jerk is one of my favourite films :(

        In all seriousness though I’m sure the situation was far less intentional. Pen-knives, by their very nature are normally carried on a keychain, in a pocket, or live permanently in that little oft-forgotten about pocket in your rucksack. I’ve always got one with me. It may even terrify you to learn that my father likely took one to America, in his pocket (!!).

        1. Indeed, it was accidental (and stupid) on my part, and I had a choice of missing my flight and paying for a new ticket or giving up my little gizmo. I’d traveled with it a few times, always returning it to luggage before taking off. This time was the exception.

          More recently, I forgot a penknife that was in my toiletry kit that was in my overnight bag. They now have a thing in place where you give them the knife and about ten bucks, and they mail it to you a couple of months later. I’d gladly have gone with that option in Denver, and I applaud whoever came up with it.

        2. Nothing terrifying, just kind of an obvious thing that will be confiscated whether you agree with the policy or not. I can understand if somebody forgot their pocket knife in their backpack or something, but I can’t understand being surprised that you can’t take it with you.

          1. Ultimately I agree with you, hence why I pointed out that it was likely accidental, rather than trying to argue that it was the right thing to do.

            I find it sad that it’s ‘obvious’ though. That just means we’ve been trained well.

        1. Umm, you reminded me of the law in Chattanooga, Tennessee I encountered once where I could buy good wine at a wine & liquor store but not a corkscrew – it was forbidden.  Perhaps that was the TSA Wine & Liquor store . . .

  3. Wait, what? A few tweets from a million mile flier and it’s ok but a non-famous person would have the same item confiscated? Dammit, TSA, at the very least stick with your poorly-formed, misguided convictions.

  4. Magic words to TSA are not “please” or “thank you”.. It’s “Twitter”..

    I once made a comment to a friend about how easy it is to tell if a TV show is American or Canadian:
    1) In the ‘States, everyone on TV wears lots and lots of clothes when they sleep.  In Canada, the characters tend to sleep naked;
    2) In the ‘States, no one ever says ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ (‘except for Benton Fraser(see below)) .  Especially if the character wears a uniform. 
    In Canada…well, you know the drill.

      1. In bed.  When they’re freezing their canuks off waiting in line for a cup of hot maple syrup and a hockey ticket, they’re fully camouflaged in their moose furs.

          1.  Always baffled by the double double. When I want coffee, i want there to be some coffee in the cup.

    1. So my vintage trading cards aren’t considered the definitive reference?  

      Next you’ll be suggesting that Luke kissed Leia, or that Han shot first!

        1. Dammit, my Snaggletooth is really tall and has silver moonboots and a blue speedsuit. He wasn’t supposed to be like that!

  5. In case anyone is wondering what the maximum length of a cane is according to the TSA; there is none.

    That TSA agent with the beard looks like he’s a Star Wars fan – probably a cos-player who has a Stormtrooper suit at home. I bet he’s thinking “It’s not wise to upset a Wookie. Man I hope he doesn’t rip my arms off…”

    1. That TSA agent with the beard looks like he’s a Star Wars fan…

      …who probably thought he was about to score a really awesome collectible for free.

  6. I’d say the system works, it’s pretty suspicious that a Wookiee would be carrying a Jedi’s weapon- I hope they investigated his connection to any missing Padawans.

      1. Slightly off-topic, but along that line I always wondered why my female smuggler in SWTOR can’t date her wookiee companion.  Since she’s a twi’lek, we’re both humanoid aliens so what’s the problem?  

      2. Not racist, “profiling.”  After all, we have comlink metadata that this particular Wookiee associates with a person known to be hostile to the Jedi religion and said associate prefers “a good blaster at your side.”

  7. Celebrity gets special treatment and TSA are idiots. Not exactly news, but thanks for keeping us in the loop just the same. ;)

    1. Yeah I just wanted to point out that the magic word isn’t “Twitter” it’s “Celebrity” – I have a Twitter account too… with 30 followers. If I’d come to the checkpoint with that cane it wouldn’t have ended the same way for me. Bit silly to pretend that Celebrity privilege wasn’t exercised here. 
      “Oh yes certainly sir, we can stop being automatons and become human beings briefly when threatened with a large amount of bad press. Right this way.”

      as opposed to how it would have gone for me:

      “Oh you have twitter do you? Hey Chuck! Get a load of this guy! He thinks we’re afraid of his twitter account! HAW HAW HAW! Set this gentleman up with an extra enhanced patdown.” 

  8. I’m surprised they let him through after finding out who he was. Isn’t the Rebel Alliance wanted by the Empire for blowing up the Death Star and trying to bump off Lord Vader?

  9. When is a cane a cane and walking stick a walking stick.  For me its how you place your hand.  Canes round over to form a handle so you can put your weight on them, walking sticks are straight up so you can hold it like a staff.   This looks like a light saber walking stick to me. 

    1.  Don’t need a handle , and the man is 7’2″. You or I might hold his can like a staff.

  10. This does make me think that flying would at least be somewhat more interesting if we could get the TSA folks to wear stormtrooper white.  I bet their blaster fire is about as accurate too.

  11. Rumor has it, a federal air marshal carrying a loaded pistol had a toy light saber that he bought for his son’s birthday confiscated by TSA. Go figure.

  12. How can it be that there is literally *no* process by which this idiocy can be ended? It’s impossible to justify current policy, and yet no reasoned debate, no weighing of cost and benefit, no popular demand, no judicial outbreak of sanity, no executive decision seems likely to EVER fix it.

    It’s like watching a friend suffer from a debilitating, incurable illness, except there is a cure – he just has to stop eating paste but won’t.

  13. After that incident where a terrorist smuggled a light saber in a droid, then used it to destroy a sand barge (killing all occupants), the TSA is taking no chances.

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