For those of us uber-nerds that pay attention to these sorts of things, we all know that Chewbacca has been portrayed in the Star Wars universe by 7-foot-tall actor Peter Mayhew since the very beginning, way back in 1977’s A New Hope. Sadly, due to the actor’s age and knee problems, Mayhew will no longer be able to play Chewbacca on a regular basis. While Mayhew still appeared as Chewie in The Force Awakens in some of the less physical scenes and will appear in a similar manner in The Last Jedi, this week the actor’s retirement from the role was officially revealed.
But it appears the role of everyone’s favorite Wookiee will be in good hands as Joonas Suotamo, a 6’10” Finnish former basketball player turned actor who donned the Chewbacca costume for the more physical scenes of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, will be officially taking over the role starting with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s untitled Han Solo Spinoff film. The new standalone film will also feature a brand new Han Solo in Alden Ehrenreich and a new Lando Calrissian in Donald Glover.
Yesterday, Suotamo took to Twitter to share his heartfelt and beautifully written thoughts on the passing of the torch. You can check out Suotamo’s tweet below:
— Joonas Suotamo (@JoonasSuotamo) February 21, 2017
I’m sure I am not alone in saying that I’m a bit sad that Mayhew will no longer be playing Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, but Suotamo has already proved himself to be an excellent replacement, judging from his scenes in The Force Awakens (pretty much all of shots where Chewie is running or standing upright were Suotamo). Plus, this post is just all class.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters December 15, 2017, and the still untitled Han Solo film is scheduled for a May 25, 2018 premiere.