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Former Penn State Power Forward Plays Chewbacca Double In ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Penn State’s list of famous alumni is seemingly endless. From Nike CEO and Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year Mark Parker, to World Cup Champions Ali Krieger and Alyssa Naeher.

Now, Penn State has a new addition to the ever-growing list of famous alumni: Chewbacca.

Joonas Suotamo is a a 6-foot-10  former power forward who played for Penn State from 2005 through 2008, and plays the role of a Chewbacca double according to his IMDb page in the upcoming blockbuster “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Suotamo forwent his senior season and graduated early with a degree in Film and Video. After graduating, Suotamo played for the Finnish national basketball team, where according to Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat, he was approached by a production company looking for taller acting candidates, and Suotamo immediately jumped at the opportunity.

Though the former Nittany Lion won’t be playing the leading Chewbacca role — that’s being occupied by 71-year old Peter Mayhew, the original Chewbacca — Suotamo’s been graced with the opportunity of his life in having the honor of joining one of the most successful and beloved movie franchises in modern film history. Though it might be tough to tell the difference, Suotamo likely receives his fair share of camera time in the film given Mayhew’s advanced age (the British actor is 71-years old).

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” premieres tomorrow, Dec. 18 in theaters everywhere. May the force be with you, Penn Staters.

(h/t Lions247)

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About the Author

Alex Bauer

Alex graduated in Spring 2018 with a degree in Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and minors in Finance and Psychology. He was a first generation Penn Stater from Cheshire, Connecticut along with his two sisters. His favorite things are dogs, coffee, and dogs that shoot hot jets of coffee out of their mouths.


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