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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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) – and his replacement Joonas Suotamo paid tribute to Mayhew in the most heart-warming way.

Here it is #chewbacca #starwars (opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab) 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

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.