Joonas Suotamo

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Joonas Suotamo
Cannes 2018 Star Wars 2 (cropped).jpg
Suotamo at 2018 Cannes Film Festival along with his character
Joonas Viljami Suotamo

(1986-10-03) 3 October 1986 (age 32)
Espoo, Uusimaa, Finland
EducationPennsylvania State University (B.A., 2008)
Known forPlaying Chewbacca in Star Wars
Height211.5 cm (6 ft 11 12 in)
Weight105 kg (231 lb)
Basketball career
Career information
CollegePenn State
Playing career2004–2015
Career history

Joonas Viljami Suotamo (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈjoːnɑs ˈsuotɑmo]; 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) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).


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]

Basketball career[edit]

Suotamo with Lappeenrannan NMKY in 2010

Club career[edit]

Suotamo played seven seasons in Finland's basketball leagues, including four seasons in the top tier Korisliiga.[2][3] He has also sold insurance.[4]

National team career[edit]

Suotamo played three games for the Finnish national basketball team and sixty-six games for the junior national teams.[2]


Suotamo is an actor and musician, but as his height limits available acting roles he is also concentrating on directing.[5] He was a body double for the Chewbacca character played by Peter Mayhew in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and played him in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with Mayhew as consultant. He reprised his role as Chewbacca in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).[6]


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: Episode IX Post-production


  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. ^ a b "Joonas Suotaio- statistics". Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Joonas Suotamo player profile". Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  4. ^ Entertainment (2016-01-05). "Joonas Suotamo: Chewbacca's double in 'The Force Awakens'". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-12-21.
  5. ^ "Joonas Suotamo: Hollywood Confidential". Penn State Nittany Lions. 17 Dec 2007. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  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]