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Han Solo: New Chewbacca Actor 'Profoundly Grateful'

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Lucasfilm's second Star Wars spinoff film, a prequel centering around young Han Solo, is now in principal photography ahead of its scheduled May 2018 premiere. Obviously, the project required the studio to recast some classic franchise characters with younger actors, and the duo of Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover are locked in to play scoundrels Han and Lando Calrissian. But they aren't the only newcomers injecting new life into familiar faces of a galaxy far, far away. The role of Solo's best friend Chewbacca is one that had to passed off to someone else as well.

As many fans know, Peter Mayhew first portrayed the lovable Wookiee, most recently appearing in 2015's The Force Awakens. Unfortunately, Mayhew's age and ailing knee problems severely limited his performance in the suit by the time Episode VII rolled around, and he could not handle the more physical elements of the production. With that in mind, Lucasfilm brought in former basketball player Joonas Suotamo to relieve Mayhew of his duties, and reprise the part in this year's The Last Jedi (which will also feature Mayhew). With Han Solo, Suotamo has officially taken over as the full-time Chewbacca, and he's now issued a statement about that development.

Taking to Twitter, Suotamo shared a message expressing much gratitude for everyone who has helped him in his life and that he plans to honor his legendary predecessor. Check it out below:

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