Joonas Suotamo

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Joonas Suotamo
Joonas Suotamo.jpg
Joonas Suotamo with Lappeenrannan NMKY on 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)
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

Joonas Viljami Suotamo ([ˈjoː.nɑs ˈsuo̯.tɑ.mo]; 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), 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, Uusimaa, Finland. As a 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 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 left the army having risen to 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 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] and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.



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


  1. ^ "Suotamo To Graduate Early; Forgo Final Year With Nittany Lion Basketball Program". Penn State Nittany Lions. 25 Sep 2008. Archived from the original on 26 December 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  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 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 links[edit]