The other day when we got our first look at the majority of the cast for the upcoming Han Solo Star Wars Story we learned that the one person whose face we could not see was a somewhat surprising new addition. Now, the man underneath the walking carpet that is Chewbacca has spoken out about his taking on the iconic role. Joonas Suotamo will be playing Chewbacca next year and the actor has posted on social media to express his gratitude at the chance.
Technically this isn't the first time that we've seen Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, as he was the body double for Peter Mayhew on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so really, this shift is really more like getting promoted. Suotamo is clearly excited based on his Twitter post, the same way any fan would be if they had an opportunity like this
It was announced very early on the Chewbacca would be part of the Han Solo Star Wars Story that's set for release in 2018. He was the second character that we knew would be there, right behind Han Solo himself. What was interesting, however, was that even as other major casting decisions were announced, we never heard anything about Peter Mayhew, the man who has played Chewbacca in every film up until now, joining the spinoff film. To that end, it wasn't completely shocking when we heard somebody else was taking on the role. Peter Mayhew is 72 years old after all. With the entire new trilogy to make, plus a spinoff movie, Mayhew would have ended up spending half of the decade inside the costume and he simply doesn't need to do that anymore. The man has earned a break.
Working directly with Peter Mayhew on Star Wars: The Force Awakens means that Joonas Suotamo learned how to be Chewbacca from the man himself. Knowing that somebody else was going to have to take on this part eventually, this is exactly the way that such a change should be made. Have the expert pass on everything he has learned so that the new guy can pick up the role and run with it so that the audience can't even tell there's been a change.
Of course, since the new movie will see a younger Chewbacca, just as we'll see younger versions of the other characters, it potentially gives Joonas Suotamo a chance to bring a little something fresh and new to the character. We still don't know exactly how long prior to Star Wars: A New Hope this new movie is supposed to be set, it's possible that a significantly younger Chewie could act and move a bit differently than the one we're used to seeing.
Based on the response the new Chewbacca is seeing on Twitter, he's receiving a very warm welcome from Star Wars fans who are eager to see him take on the famous role. We'll get to see the new Chewie for ourselves when the as yet untitled Han Solo Star Wars Story arrives in theaters May 25, 2018.