Star Wars Insider #201 preview: Joonas Suotamo recalls his Wookiee boot camp (exclusive)

Star Wars Insider #201 cover. Photo: Titan Publishing Group.
Star Wars Insider #201 cover. Photo: Titan Publishing Group. /

Star Wars Insider is back with a new issue later this month, and Dork Side of the Force has an exclusive first look at the cover and feature story, courtesy of Titan Publishing!

In Star Wars Insider #201, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the loveable Wookiee Chewbacca. Plus (as part of the cover feature), actor Joonas Suotamo shares his stories about playing the role of Chewbacca.

As many fans know, Suotamo took over for long-time Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew in The Last Jedi after being a double in The Force Awakens, and he continued to take over the role in the final films of the Skywalker saga.

So, just what is it like to become a Wookiee? Read on below the cover to go behind the scenes of the making of Star Wars — and you can read an excerpt from Suotamo’s story in Star Wars Insider #201 to learn about some of his most interesting (and embarrassing) moments from the set!

Star Wars Insider 201
Star Wars Insider #201 cover. Photo: Titan Publishing Group. /

Star Wars Insider #201 preview

The Wookiee Walk

When walking, I put extra weight into my steps. Chewie swings his arms with an almost uncontrollable power. In Solo: A Star Wars Story, I carried Donald Glover while running to the Millennium Falcon. In the original movies, I noticed that Chewie ran with knocked knees, but director Ron Howard wanted me to do a full sprint. I decided to lean on my basketball background and went all out. In my mind, I felt that Chewbacca could get up to speed with the right motivation.

The Fur and The Furious

Staying in shape is critical, it’s like a mild sauna inside the suit. Good health helped me
endure that, so I maintained my physique on lighter days. Even if you keep your body
operating at its peak, there’s one unforgettable piece of advice to remember: Never
underestimate your inner Wookiee strength.

Hairy Hugs

Wookiee hugs are instrumental. I nearly injured Harrison Ford with an embrace filming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. His face clashed against my metal bandolier boxes, but was very good-natured about it. The best hug that I’ve shared with a cast member is the one with Kelly Marie Tran at the end of The Rise of Skywalker (2019). It was an epic, jumping hug with a 540-degree spin.

In Star Wars Insider #201, get under the fur of the original Wookiee costume, learn more from Suotamo’s Wookiee boot camp, and discover how the costume was created for the most recent Star Wars movies. On sale March 30, 2021.

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