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The Han Solo movie casts a young Chewbacca – read his tribute to the original Chewie

Chewbacca was part of a host of recognisable faces in yesterday’s Han Solo movie cast photo but what you may not know is that there’s a new actor underneath the furry mask. That’s right, Peter Mayhew, who has played Chewbacca for nearly 40 years, is stepping aside for the Han Solo movie – and his replacement Joonas Suotamo paid tribute to Mayhew in the most heart-warming way.

Here it is #chewbacca #starwars

A photo posted by @joonassuotamo on Feb 21, 2017 at 9:35am PST

Suotamo, who is also a Finnish basketball player, was a body double for Mayhew during Star Wars: The Force Awakens but is now taking on the role (and fur) of Chewie full-time. This follows on from another iconic Star Wars role - R2-D2 - being recast in the wake of Kenny Baker’s death last year.

Suotamo thanked Peter Mayhew (pictured below alongside the Finnish actor) for his “kindness and guidance” which “prepared [him] for this journey.”

The Finnish actor ended his message (which made me feel all fuzzy inside) by saying he wants to make his predecessor proud and to “bring Star Wars fans the Chewie they know and love.” D’aww.

What do you make of Peter Mayhew passing on the Wookiee torch? Let us know some of your favourite Chewie moments in the comments below!

Images: Lucasfilm/Joonas Suotamo

Bradley Russell

GamesRadar+'s Entertainment Writer. Lover of all things Nintendo, in a tortured love/hate relationship with Crystal Palace, and also possesses an unhealthy knowledge of The Simpsons (which is of no use at parties).