Former Penn State Basketball Player Reprises Chewbacca Role in ‘Solo’

PHOTO: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” hits theaters Friday and the latest installment of the “Star Wars” franchise shows the much-anticipated first meeting between Han Solo and sidekick Chewbacca, played by former Penn State basketball player Joonas Suotamo.

Suotamo played power forward and center for the Nittany Lions before graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

“Solo” shows Chewbacca in ways he hasn’t been seen in previous “Star Wars” films which surprised “Solo” co-star Alden Ehrenreich.

“It was actually a long time before Alden saw me in that very traditional Chewbacca. Because when we meet, Chewie doesn’t really look like the Chewie that you’ve known and expect. It took a while,” Suotamo told ABC NEWS.

Suotamo was actually one of the few veteran cast members on the “Solo” set.

He first appeared as everyone’s favorite Wookiee in 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” as a body double for original Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew.

The 6-10 Finnish basketball player, said Mayhew helped him through a Wookiee “boot camp” to learn movements and sounds.

Suotomo offically took over the Chewbacca role in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

Suotamo was also the subject of the ESPN‘s “Finding Chewbacca: An E:60 Story.”