Actor Joonas Suotamo is taking over the mantle of one of the most beloved characters in the entire Star Wars cinematic universe — Chewbacca.
When the man beneath the mask of Chewbacca for the past 40 years, Peter Mayhew, was physically unable to continue to perform the rigors and physical acting of being our most beloved Wookiee for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney/Lucasfilm found a fantastic double.
The young actor who filled in for Mayhew at certain points in The Force Awakens is named Joonas Suotamo, and now, thanks to the untitled Han Solo standalone film, as well as Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it would appear as if he has a full-time gig. Making it official, Suotamo took to Twitter to write a heartfelt letter to Star Wars fans:
Joonas Suotamo was born in Espoo, Uusimaa, Finland, but attended Penn State University in the US, where he played both Power Forward and Center for the Nittany Lions men’s basketball team. Coming in at 6′ 10″ Suotamo should have no problem filling out the Chewbacca costume. However, he’s still a tad shorter than Peter Mayhew, who comes in at 7’3″.
Suotamo has already been a fantastic ambassador for Star Wars and the lovable Chewbacca brand. Last year, he took to his Instagram account to post photos of himself with the Royal Princes of England, when they visited Pinewood studios in London, on the set of The Last Jedi.
In fact, Suotamo is a fantastic account on Instagram to follow, as he constantly interacts with his fans, as well as posting photos from set, when he can, much like this one with Luke Skywalker himself — Mark Hamill.
Joonas Suotamo will portray Chewbacca in the untitled Han Solo Star Wars standalone film (2019) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi on December 15, later this year.
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We want to hear from you: Even though it’s sad to see Peter Mayhew lay down the mantle of Chewbacca, are you happy to see that an actor is so excited to take up the role in his absence? Let’s discuss in the comments below.