Whew. I just didn’t want to picture it. I couldn’t go there.
The novel details how the guards threw the imprisoned Chewbacca scraps of meat every few days to keep him sustained, but he’d overheard them talking about bringing him a living snack. “He hadn’t gotten that hungry. Not yet,” the text explains. Though Chewie wasn’t going to take a bite out of Han, he wasn’t thrilled about having a human tossed into his path; he was angry about being used as entertainment and the presence of Han was the proverbial last straw. That’s understandable, especially when you consider all the negative history between the Empire and the Wookiees as a species.
Han used his improvisational skills to concoct an escape plan and thankfully communicated it to Chewie, despite his poor grasp on Shryiiwook, the Wookiee language. He calmed Chewbacca down and focused his anger towards the Imperials, where that ire really belonged. If Han wouldn’t have diffused the situation, he probably wouldn’t have been Chewbacca’s dinner, but he may not have walked out with both of his arms attached to his body.