With news that Star Wars: Episode VII has officially started filming comes word that actor Peter Mayhew will return to the Star Wars franchise to reprise his role as Chewbacca, Han Solo’s copilot. Hearing that Chewbacca is returning all but confirms at least Harrison Ford’s involvement in the sequel, which is set to be part of a new trilogy that picks up 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are expected to reprise the roles of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, respectively, though their involvement hasn’t been announced in an official capacity yet.
Last year Mayhew had double-knee replacement surgery and there were questions as to whether he’d ever walk again, having been refined to a wheelchair for two years prior. We’re not sure what his status is now, but he must be well enough to play Chewbacca on some level. We imagine other stunt actors will fill in for anything requiring physical action, but we expect Mayhew to be sitting copilot alongside Han Solo once again when Episode VII hits theaters on December 18, 2015.
Recently Mayhew alluded to jumping back in the Star Wars pool by posting a ton of great behind-the-scenes photos from the original trilogy to his Twitter page. Some of these you’ve probably seen before, and some you haven’t. Either way, Mayhew sprinkles humor across all of them, including a spectacular nickname he seems to have for George Lucas: Zazzle.
We’ve plucked out some of our favorites and shared them below. For much more, head over to Mayhew’s Twitter page.
[photo credit: Walt Disney World]
Note: A version of this post was originally published back on January 10, 2014.
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