Joonas Suotamo

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Joonas Suotamo
Suotamo with Lappeenrannan NMKY in 2010
Joonas Viljami Suotamo

(1986-10-03) 3 October 1986 (age 37)
Espoo, Finland
Alma materPennsylvania State University (B.A., 2008)
Known forPlaying Chewbacca in Star Wars
Basketball career
Personal information
Listed height6 ft 11 in (211 cm)
Listed weight231 lb (105 kg)
Career information
CollegePenn State
Playing career2004–2015
Career history

Joonas Viljami Suotamo (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈjoːnɑs ˈsuo̯tɑmo]; born 3 October 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), Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) and in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019).

Early life and education[edit]

Suotamo was born in Espoo. In his youth he performed roles as a stage actor. Suotamo attended Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and played the power forward and centre 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 3+12 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 left the army at the rank of second lieutenant (res).[2]

Basketball career[edit]

Club career[edit]

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

National team career[edit]

Suotamo played three games for the Finnish national basketball team and 66 games for the junior national teams.[3]

Acting career[edit]

Suotamo is mostly known for his role as Chewbacca in the Star Wars franchise, a role in which he started out being a body double for the original actor Peter Mayhew in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), as Mayhew's age and worsening health was making it more difficult for him to fill the role. He went on to replace Mayhew entirely in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) as Chewbacca, with Mayhew as a consultant. He returned to the role in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)[6] and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019). Suotamo will make his first non-Chewbacca appearance in the franchise by playing Kelnacca, a Wookiee Jedi in the High Republic era, in The Acolyte.



Year Title Role Notes
2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Chewbacca Shared role with Peter Mayhew and Ian Whyte
2017 Star Wars: The Last Jedi
2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story
2019 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


Year(s) Title Role Notes Network
2022–2023 Willow The Scourge 4 episodes Disney+
2024 The Acolyte Kelnacca Post-production


  1. ^ "Suotamo To Graduate Early; Forgo Final Year With Nittany Lion Basketball Program". Penn State Nittany Lions. 25 September 2008. Archived from the original on 26 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Sinisilmäisyys karisi intissä".
  3. ^ a b "Joonas Suotaio- statistics". Archived from the original on 29 December 2017. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Joonas Suotamo player profile". Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  5. ^ Entertainment (5 January 2016). "Joonas Suotamo: Chewbacca's double in 'The Force Awakens'". Business Insider. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  6. ^ Parfitt, Orlando (18 December 2015). "JJ Abrams On The New Chewbacca, Episode 8 And That Daniel Craig Cameo". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2015.

External links[edit]