Standing at nearly 7ft tall, Finnish basketball player Joonas Suotamo is perhaps best known to fans around the world for his work as Chewbacca in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and coming soon, Solo: A Star Wars Story.
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.
As a youth, Suotamo performed roles as a stage actor. He was a strong academic performer at Penn State, where he was twice named to the Academic All-Big Ten team, and graduated in 3.5 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. He played professionally in Europe for the Espoo team from 2011-2015. In 2015, he was cast as a body double for Chewbacca, originally played by Peter Mayhew, in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And took over the role for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.