It’s not everyday that you get invited by Disney, all expenses covered, to attend a Star Wars Press Junket, and this happens to be the event of all events. This is when Chewbacca meets Han in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Chewbacca’s alter ego is now Joonas Soutamo and yes he really is THAT tall.
Joonas is 7 feet tall, actually he admitted to only being 6 foot 11 inches but anyone that is that tall I don’t see how you can tell the difference between one inch.
I liked Joonas a lot, I don’t know if it’s because he came from a different background than most actors or if it’s just his liveliness but his personality is so friendly and easy going. He was a great interview. He talked about so many different things.
Getting Chewbacca right
Joonas has been Chewbacca since Star Wars The Force Awakened, so he’s worked with Han before, he worked with Harrison, so he’s no stranger to being Chewbacca. But what is fun about Solo, is this is how the relationship began. He talked about how he and Alden Ehrenreich (the young solo) had to be on set weeks early so they could start training together. He said they also spent time playing video games together.
He also had big shoes to fill taking on the role of Chewbacca. He replaced Peter Mayhew and said it was very important to him to make fans love his version of Chewbacca. This was one of his biggest hurdles, was to respect what Peter had already created. He spent a week training and said it was called “Wookie Bootcamp”, which he was joking of course.
Han and Chewbacca
He and Alden spent time talking about how this is the beginning of both of their characters. Chewbacca was in a bad place when he met Han. He didn’t have any “kind of structure in his life at that point”. The arc of the friendship had to start there and develop as the story goes on. I’m going to be straight with you guys and say this is my favorite part of Solo. The story arc even when it felt small between Han and Chewbacca as they didn’t have a lot of time as just the two of them on screen was huge to me. The small looks, or just a few words, the fact that Han could speak Wookie at all even, all of these things made me fall in love with Chewbacca and Han Solo. It’s the BEST part of the movie. Joonas and Alden wanted to get it right and I think they succeeded.
The Chewbacca Suit
In any movie, costumes can be quite the challenge and for the Chewbacca Suit there were many. Joonas said that for him, his eyes had to be poked out quite a bit just so he could see what he was doing. He also said that the mouthpiece and the suit going in and out of his mouth was also challenging.
Joonas also said that the Chewbacca suit was very hot and tested his endurance throughout the day. He also mentioned that he had to be very careful with the suite. He would get in trouble with his handler if he ended up rolling around in his suit. He said that he had to be very aware of how he looked on screen. Because of this he appeared to be a Diva, but he just had to work very closely with Ron to make sure his suit looked ok and how he could improve the next day.
The Millennium Falcon Then Verses Now
The first time he stepped foot on the Millennium Falcon was with Harrison Ford and everyone was in tears. It was so HUGE to have the old Star Wars Cast with the New Star Wars cast and to have him on set. Joonas said he didn’t cry he was in his good behavior. He said that while filming the Force Awakens, the Millinnium Falcon smelt like an appliance store. Being on that Millennium Falcon was wonderful, because it’s part of everyone’s childhood memories.
The new Millennium Falcon is “well-kept” and there’s a mini bar in the corner. Then there is also a luxury room where all the capes are stored. The decor is amazing and Joonas said
I just hope nobody ever tarnishes that very sweet [CHUCKLES] décor on that ship. But I guess that’s a wish that’s not gonna true.
We know that he and Han are going to destroy the ship over the next few years. If you want to see how amazing the relationship between Han and Chewbacca is, the Chewbacca suit in action, and this new amazing rendition of the Millennium Falcon then get your tickets to see Solo: A Star Wars Story this weekend. It opens May 25th.