Chewbacca is officially set to return in Star Wars: Episode VII, and the man inside the walking carpet’s suit will be none other than Peter Mayhew, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. Mayhew has been Chewbacca’s inner human since the Star Wars series premiered in 1977 with Episode IV: A New Hope. He even donned the hairy outfit for the for the Wookiee’s appearance in the so-bad-it’s-amazing (but still really bad) Star Wars Holiday Special.
There’s no word on how many of the upcoming Star Wars movies Mayhew is signed on for, but he’ll at least appear in the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars: Episode VII, which is currently filming and set for release on December 18, 2015. This marks only the second official confirmation we’ve gotten on Star Wars characters or casting. It is already known that R2-D2 will be returning, and now we know Chewie will as well.
A number of noteworthy actors are all said to be up for roles, including Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Jesse Plemons, and others. It is also widely believed that original stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher will reprise their roles of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia, respectively. While there’s plenty of reason to believe that some or all of these reports are true, it’s important to remember that they’re ultimately all unconfirmed.
We’ll know more soon enough. Lucasfilm continues to be cagey about anything Star Wars-related, but that’s going to have to change as shooting ramps up.