Chewbacca’s understudy has now become the new Chewbacca. At least for the Star Wars anthology film featuring Han Solo.
The man behind the furball suit? Meet Joonas Suotamo, a former college basketball player who stands just under 7 feet tall. While he appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as the backup to longtime Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew, he’s not expected to replace the actor in Star Wars: The Last Jedi or in 2019’s Star Wars: Episode IX.
He’ll star alongside Alden Ehrenreich, who has stepped in to play the younger Han Solo, the role originated by Harrison Ford in 1977.
Suotamo released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter calling the Wookie “one of the most iconic characters in the history of film.”
“Peter’s development and portrayal of this beloved Wookie has spread so much joy around the globe. Peter’s guidance and kindness have been invaluable gifts, which warmed my spirit and prepared me for this journey.
“I aspire to make Peter proud, and bring Star Wars fans the Chewie they know and love.”