New Chewbacca, Joonas Suotamo, Tweets Open Letter to Star Wars Fans and Peter Mayhew

Peter Mayhew has not had the best health in recent years. However, he was still able to put on his world famous Chewbacca suit one last time in The Force Awakens. With the help of photo double Joonas Suotamo, a former basketball player, Suotamo played Chewbacca in Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But, apparently, Suotamo was being trained to take over as Chewbacca, which he announced on Tuesday night.

Suotamo posted the open letter on Twitter for his social media fans:

Suotamo says, “I am profoundly grateful for this amazing opportunity to become a part of the Star Wars franchise that I have loved since my childhood.” Suotamo continues by thanking his friends, family, basketball coaches and the staff at Disney and Lucasfilm. But, he also takes a moment to thank Peter Mayhew personally.

Peter Mayhew
Peter Mayhew & Harrison Ford at the European premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in Leicester Square, London. December 16, 2015, London, UK Picture: James Smith / Featureflash

“Chewbacca is one of the most iconic characters in the history of film, and Peter’s development and portrayal of this beloved Wookie has spread so much joy across the globe.” Suotamo added, “Peter’s guidance and kindness have been invaluable gifts which warmed my spirit and prepared me for this journey. I aspire to make Peter proud and bring Star Wars fans the Chew they know and love.”

This news comes after Disney’s Star Wars released a first look at the cast of the upcoming Han Solo spinoff movie. The Star Wars photo features Atlanta’s Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Chewbacca, and the leading star of the film Alden Ehrenreich.

The upcoming Star Wars Han Solo standalone movie hits theaters on May 25, 2018.