New Chewbacca Gives Props To Star Wars Original

Wookiee torch pass alert: the Star Wars universe’s Chief Chewbacca, Peter Mayhew, is officially handing over the fur suit to a new actor after playing the much-loved character for just under four decades.

Mayhew first appeared as Chewie in 1977’s A New Hope and continued to play the gentle-ish giant (unless you were playing a boardgame against him and/or worked for the Empire) from the planet Kashyyyk right up until The Force Awakens, released in 2015. For that movie, Mayhew (after a double knee replacement in 2013) took on the less strenuous scenes, while newcomer Joonas Suotamo donned the Wookiee costume to film the action scenes.

Now, Mayhew has decided to retire and Suotamo is taking over the role full-time, following his Force Awakens apprenticeship.

It’ll be Suotamo playing Chewbacca (alongside co-stars Thandie Newton, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke and Alden Ehrenreich) in the forthcoming Han Solo movie, due out in 2018. To announce the news, the actor wrote a letter to fans which praised Mayhew and described how excited he was to be taking on the job. He posted it to his Twitter account yesterday.

Check it out:

Aw, we like you, new Chewie.