RIP Chewbacca, Sander's gun votes & wedding bells for a world leader: The Morning Rundown

Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Chewbacca in the "Star Wars" series, has died.
Image: American actors Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, British actors Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew on the set of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
Harrison Ford, who played Han Solo, Chewbacca's partner in adventure and misadventure, called Peter Mayhew "a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character." Lucas Films / Corbis via Getty Images

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

"Star Wars" fans are mourning the loss of Peter Mayhew, the actor best known for playing the beloved Chewbacca in the iconic film series.

Here's what else we're watching today.


'He lied to Congress'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., did not mince words Thursday about her views on Attorney General William Barr's testimony before Congress last month.

"The attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That's a crime," Pelosi told reporters Thursday.

She was referring to testimony Barr gave to Congress in April in which he denied knowledge of the Mueller team's concerns.

"Nobody is above the law — not the president of the United States, not the attorney general," Pelosi added.


'Run, hide, fight' mantra put into practice during shooting at UNC Charlotte

When reports of a shooter spread on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on Tuesday, the college's emergency officials blasted out a stark, but increasingly familiar message: "Run, hide, fight."

Having no place to run or hide, one student, Riley Howell, took the last option and confronted the gunman.

His actions "took the assailant off his feet," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said. "But for his work, the assailant may not have been disarmed. Unfortunately, he gave his life in the process, but his sacrifice saved lives."

While Howell's family is grappling with his death, they said they are "beyond proud" of his actions.


'So long, Chewie, may the force be with you'

Peter Mayhew, who roared inarticulately yet somehow understandably as Chewbacca for generations of "Star Wars" fans, has died at age 74.

Mayhew towered — literally at over 7 feet tall — as the 200-year-old Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk who co-piloted Han Solo's Millennium Falcon.

Tributes poured in for the man who was hailed as both a gifted actor and a gentle giant.

"We all love Chewie, and have Peter to thank for that enduring memory," said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, the Disney-owned studio behind "Star Wars."

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Designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization? Bad idea, experts say.

White House officials are weighing whether to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization — a move experts warn would make the United States less safe and end up victimizing American Muslims to curry favor with authoritarian allies.

"A real concern here is this designation is also a smokescreen to essentially attack the American Muslim community through guilt by association," one expert said.


The Week in Pictures

Sumo wrestlers hold crying babies during the Naki Sumo Baby Crying contest in Tokyo on Sunday.Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty Images

See more of the most remarkable images from around the world during the last week here.


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Plus


THINK about it

If William Barr continues to defy subpoenas, Watergate could offer House Democrats several options, Michael Conway, counsel for the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in 1974, writes in an opinion piece.


Science + Tech = MACH

Engineers in California have come up with a lightweight robot designed to be dropped into disaster zones, where it can gather potentially life-saving information about conditions on the ground.


Quote of the day

"I'm a feminist, but I want to put him through the pain and torture of having to agonize about that question himself."

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern once joked about forcing her longtime partner to pop the question.


One fun thing

The people behind "Game of Thrones" have only three more chances to set the internet ablaze with wild fan theories, feverish predictions, rampant speculation and a Citadel's worth of memes before the series wraps on May 19.

As the faithful await Sunday's installment, here's a spoiler-heavy look at what could go down in Westeros.

Will dagger-wielding Arya kill Cersei? Helen Sloan / HBO

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra Cahill