Trust me, it’s not as weird as you’d think. But, it is a neat story!

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For years, Chewbacca, the beloved Star Wars character, was played by Peter Mayhew including episodes III-VII. In Episode VII – The Force Awakens, the role of Chewie was played by both Mayhew and his body double, Joonas Suotamo. Suotamo would eventually take over the role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

I could leave it at that and leave you with the belief that there’s no interesting story beneath the surface. But, if I did that, I would be depriving you of a good, heartwarming story of how a former college basketball player from Finland found his way into one of most beloved movie franchises of all-time.

In 2005, Suotamo came to the United States to attend college and play basketball at Penn State University. After graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Film from PSU, he would return home to Finland to begin the rest of his life.

Around 2015, Joonas auditioned for a movie part while only knowing that the role was for a big-budget film in the US. For his audition, he was told to act out a scene as a caveman getting shot with an arrow. He only found out what movie he had auditioned for once he was notified that he had received the part of Chewbacca (along with Peter Mayhew) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

To check out the trailer for the E:60 mini-documentary about his journey from Finland to Hollywood, visit here.

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