Joonas Suotamo is returning to a galaxy far, far away to play Wookiee Jedi Master Kelnacca in Star Wars: The Acolyte.
After sharing the role of Chewbacca with Peter Mayhew and learning from him while filming The Force Awakens, Suotamo took over the role for The Last Jedi, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and The Rise of Skywalker following Mayhew’s retirement. Suotamo’s talents were also used in Lucasfilm’s Willow television series where he played one of the monstrous Gales known as the Scourge.
It was confirmed at Star Wars Celebration 2023 that The Acolyte will be released on Disney+ in 2024. The Acolyte takes place toward the end of the High Republic era and many years before The Phantom Menace and the Skywalker saga. It will be a mystery-thriller in which a former Jedi Padawan and her Jedi Master investigate a series of crimes, with the story exploring the emergence of dark side powers.
Cast members including Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Dean Charles-Chapman, and Jodie Turner-Smith had already been announced, but Suotamo is a newly confirmed addition to the cast.
Jedi Master Kelnacca is not the first Wookie Jedi to appear in a Star Wars story, but he will be the first Wookiee Jedi to appear in live-action Star Wars.
The Wookiee Jedi youngling Gungi was a fan-favorite character in The Clone Wars and recently returned to Star Wars animation in The Bad Batch season 2 episode “Tribe.” Gungi may even help Omega in The Bad Batch season 3 as well.
Another prominent Wookiee Jedi is Burryaga Agaburry, who was an important and beloved character throughout Phase I of the High Republic (and hopefully in Phase III as well).
It is thrilling to know that Suotamo is returning to Star Wars to play another Wookie and that he will be playing the first Wookie Jedi in live-action Star Wars. He is deeply passionate and enthusiastic about Star Wars and is celebrated by all for how he graciously took on the role of the iconic Chewbacca.
The Acolyte continues to be one of the most intriguing Star Wars projects in development, with the addition of Suotamo making it even more exciting. His performance as a Wookie Jedi will help bring the Jedi Order to life in an era never seen before in live-action Star Wars.
Stay tuned at Dork Side of the Force for news from Star Wars Celebration 2023 and about The Acolyte.