Towering actor Peter Mayhew will reportedly don the Wookie fur once more as he joins the cast of Star Wars Episode VII.
The list of original Star Wars cast members joining the first film of the Disney era has grown by another thanks to the addition of Peter Mayhew, the English actor who portrayed the gigantic Wookie Chewbacca in the original trilogy (and very briefly in Revenge of the Sith). Mayhew's role was first rumored after he canceled a May appearance at the Texas Comicpalooza "due to filming," and now sources have told The Hollywood Reporter that he will in fact appear in the film.
This of course leads to a couple of obvious questions, the first being, "Why?" Disney can't toss new actors into the roles of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia or Han Solo, but with all due respect to Mayhew, his portrayal of Chewbacca was essentially anonymous. Anyone of sufficient height could pull it off, especially with all the technology available to moviemakers these days. His health is also a consideration and a limitation, as he had both knees replaced in 2013 and walks with a cane.
It's hard to see his casting as anything but nostalgia-driven fan service, which is fine with me; after all, if you're getting the band back together for one last gig, you might as well go all the way. It's also very likely that his role will be a small one: a wave, a roar, maybe pull somebody's arms out of their sockets, and then wrap it up. Hardly necessary, in other words, but I'm still looking forward to it.
Star Wars Episode VII is slated to hit the screen on December 18, 2015.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter