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Joonas Viljami Suotamo (born October 3, 1986) is a Finnish actor and former professional basketball player. He is best known for his role as Chewbacca in the Star Wars saga, taking over the role from Peter Mayhew, first as a body double, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), and later as the lead in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). He will return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019).

Joonas Suotamo
Joonas Suotamo.jpg
Joonas Suotamo with Lappeenrannan NMKY in Sunday, April 11, 2010.
Joonas Viljami Suotamo

(1986-10-03) October 3, 1986 (age 33)
Espoo, Uusimaa, Finland
EducationPennsylvania State University (B.A., 2008)
Known forPlaying Chewbacca in Star Wars
Height2.12 m (6 ft 11 12 in)
Weight105 kg (231 lb)
Basketball career
Personal information
Listed height211.5 cm (6 ft 11 in)
Listed weight105 kg (231 lb)
Career information
CollegePenn State
Playing career2004–2015
Career history


Suotamo was born in Espoo, Uusimaa, Finland. As a youth, he performed roles as a stage actor. Suotamo attended Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and played the power forward and center positions for the Penn State Nittany Lions. With childhood interests in music, arts, and movies he studied film and video at PSU. He was a strong academic performer at Penn State, where he was twice named to the Academic All-Big Ten team, and graduated in 3½ years with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December 2008 in order to fulfill his Finnish conscription service and to pursue a career in film.[1]

He got out of the army with a rank of second lieutenant (res).[2]

Basketball careerEdit

Club careerEdit

Suotamo played seven seasons in Finland's basketball leagues, including four seasons in the top tier Korisliiga.[3][4] He has also sold insurance.[5]

National team careerEdit

Suotamo played three games for the Finnish national basketball team and sixty-six games for the junior national teams.[3]


Suotamo is mostly known for his role as Chewbacca in the Star Wars franchise, a role which he started out being a body double for the original Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as Mayhew's age and worsening health was making it more difficult for him to fill the role (Mayhew would later pass away on April 30, 2019). He went on to entirely replace Mayhew in Star Wars: The Last Jedi as Chewbacca, with Mayhew as a consultant. He then reprised his role as Chewbacca in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).[6]



  1. ^ "Suotamo To Graduate Early; Forgo Final Year With Nittany Lion Basketball Program". Penn State Nittany Lions. 25 Sep 2008. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "Joonas Suotaio- statistics". Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Joonas Suotamo player profile". Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  5. ^ Entertainment (2016-01-05). "Joonas Suotamo: Chewbacca's double in 'The Force Awakens'". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-12-21.
  6. ^ Parfitt, Orlando (18 Dec 2015). "JJ Abrams On The New Chewbacca, Episode 8 And That Daniel Craig Cameo". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2015-12-28.

External linksEdit