The Star Wars community is still heartbroken about the passing of Peter Mayhew. Fans continue to remember the actor by paying homage to his work. One of them is Joonas Suotamo, who shared the role of Chewbacca with him in the new Star Wars films.
Mayhew passed away last April 30. He played the role of Han Solo's towering best friend and co-pilot Chewbacca in the live-action Star Wars films up to The Force Awakens before he handed the mantle to Suotamo.
In a lengthy tribute to the Star Wars OG, Suotamo admired passion and professionalism he brought into creating everyone's favorite Wookiee into an icon.
"Even though the character easily loses his temper, at his core is the warmth, loyalty, and friendship that Peter brought to Star Wars," he said in a lengthy tribute. "That’s the mixture of shades we see when we look at Chewbacca — he’s a complete being. So Peter created something that we will always remember," he continued.
Suotamo met Mayhew days before filming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He remembers how he helped him prepare for the role by telling him stories and giving him encouragement. They even spent a week at Wookiee Boot Camp where they would watch old Chewbacca footage and Mayhew would share his thought process in the legendary scenes.
He saw how much care and passion Mayhew gave in creating Chewbacca and set out to ensure that he will give his best to come close. "Just watching him speak about this character and being himself, every second was a worthy lesson, and I will always treasure that," Suotamo said.
Indeed, he kept his word. The 74-year-old legend gave Suotamo his seal of approval for his performance in Solo: A Star Wars Story, saying that he was "as good as it ever could be."
"That meant so much to me, because he had been so supportive. I knew that it was bittersweet for him to let go of the role, but I assured him that all I ever do is honor his performance and Chewbacca himself, which is honoring Peter, too," Suotamo said.
Suotamo also couldn't help but gush about how Mayhew put his heart into everything he does. "Peter was a unique person, too — and not just physically. You can see that in his charity work, and the way he met with fans and carried the mantle of Chewbacca. He loved the fans so much, especially the 501st Legion, which does such great work with children," he said.
"It’s a beautiful thing to see the legacy that Peter left behind, and I hope to contribute to that. I’ll always remember where Chewbacca got his start, and how much he means to people," he concluded.