Here's what Chewbacca looks like under the mask

2017-12-14 11:17

Cape Town - You simply won’t believe who is now tucked under all that brown fur belonging to Chewie.

It's Finnish model, actor and basketball-player Joonas Suotamo, 31 who has taken over from actor Peter Mayhew.

The Last Jedi Premiere, here I come! #chewbacca #premiere #starwars #thelastjedi

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The blond-haired, blue-eyed Joonas at 2.1 metres tall has literally been standing in for Peter Mayhew since the previous Star Wars film, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, as well as in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi opening in South Africa on Friday.

He officially took over the role from Peter Mayhew, 73, in Episode VIII. Peter - who has gotten too old and is suffering health problems - has been recovering the past few months from a pair of knee replacement operations.

Joonas has been the stand-in since 2014 and will continue the role in the next film, Episode IX due in 2019 as well as in next year’s stand-alone film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, but how he looks under all the brown fur has only really been revealed now.

The model-actor-basketball player made the most of his height and played for the Penn State basketball team in America until he graduated in 2009.

He told People magazine, for a special The Last Jedi collector’s edition, that it was actually the basketball association of Finland who called him after they had been approached by a casting agency in London.”

“They were finding it hard to find this seven-footer with blue eyes. So they called every Scandinavian basketball association. I went to London for an audition and that’s where it started.

“Sometimes I still wake up thinking, ‘Where am I? What is this dream?’ I’m doing Star Wars films, I still don’t quite believe it.”

This week on his Instagram account he told fans that “since 2014 I’ve been keeping relatively quiet about being a part of this awesome group of talented people. After 3.5 years, I feel like the wait is over and I want to share my joy with all of my followers!”

In real-life this laugh-it-up fuzz-ball has been engaged since August. He took his fiancée Milla Pohjasvaara, who he proposed to in London’s Notthing Hill, to the red carpet premiere of The Last Jedi.

She is pregnant with their first child - a boy - that is due in February 2018.

About not being recognised – or rather being recognised instantly when he is Chewbacca, but not as the actor inside – he told the The Daily Mail at the London premiere of The Last Jedi: “it gives me a  bit of privacy out there on the streets.

“I can do my shopping and nobody will bother me. The first thing they say to me is, ‘Gosh, you’re tall’. So I’m that tall guy – not Chewbacca.”

Read more on:    star wars: the last jedi  |  movies

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