This is a tough week for the Star Wars community, which lost legendary Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew. The man behind the Wookiee passed away at 74 on April 30th, and fans and fellow actors alike have been paying tribute to Mayhew. The latest in a long line of touching posts comes from Joonas Suotamo, the actor who took over the role of Chewbacca in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story. The Finnish actor took to Facebook this week to celebrate his mentor.
“Losing someone as important to myself and the world as Peter Mayhew brings back many memories. I found this picture from 2016. It was during a week that Peter and I spent together, as he trained me in the ways of Chewie,” Suotamo began.
The actor went on to explain how Mayhew is a lot like the iconic character he portrayed.
“Something surprising happened during that week- I began to see how much of Chewbacca’s personality was like Peter’s. A part of Peter was so ingrained in the character that they couldn’t be separated. It changed how I thought of the role and I began to wonder how I am like Chewbacca or Peter. What personality quirks of mine would emerge, the same way Peter’s did?,” he added.
“Since the news broke yesterday, I’ve read so many of your comments and I see and feel the palpable pain of losing one of the greats. He was infinitely kind, honest, gracious. All of this just days before the aptly called Star Wars Day. Sending all of you hugs,” he concluded.
Today is bittersweet, with Star Wars fans across the globe celebrating May 4th while also remembering Mayhew’s legacy.
A memorial service for friends and family of Mayhew is set to be held on June 29th, with a memorial for fans expected to occur in December at EmpireCon LA.
Suotamo will be reprising the role of Chewbacca in the upcoming film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The final installment of the Skywalker Saga is set to star a returning Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, and Billie Lourd. New cast members include Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell, and the returning veteran actors are Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams. According to director, J.J. Abrams, Leia will be featured in the film using unreleased footage of Carrie Fisher from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is expected to hit theatres on December 20th. May the 4th be with you, always!
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