New Chewbacca actor delivers touching letter as Peter Mayhew retires

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Feb 22, 2017, 2:30 PM EST

Suffering from chronic knee and back pain, Peter Mayhew shared the Chewbacca acting duties on J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens with Finnish basketball player Joonas Suotamo. Lucasfilm won't reveal exactly who's under the mask in different scenes, but most of the more rigorous sequences requiring running, fighting or jumping are most likely not the 72-year-old Mayhew.

As an ever-growing number of Star Wars spin-off films and sequels are filling the Disney creative pipeline, Lucasfilm has officially given the gig to the 6-foot-10 Suotamo full-time and gently retired Mayhew's beloved portrayal of Chewbacca.

Humbled and most appreciative of the opportunity to continue his Chewie work in the galaxy far, far away, Suotamo posted a touching letter via Twitter honoring the legacy and mentorship of Mayhew.

Peter Mayhew can be seen in his final Chewbacca performance this December in Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi followed by Joonas Suotamo's first, uh, solo appearance in the suit in Han Solo spin-off in 2018.

How do you feel about Mayhew passing the mantle to his younger protege?

(via Geek Tyrant)