The Hollywood Reporter is, well, reporting that Peter Mayhew, actor behind Chewbacca the Wookiee in all four Star Wars films in which he appears, is onboard for the next installment in the franchise, Star Wars VII.
THR attributes this to “sources,” but when a statement like that comes from an outlet like The Hollywood Reporter, even we sit up an start listening. Their source’s story is corroborated, they say, by the following.
Rumors have recently surfaced that he may be reprising his role as he canceled an appearance at Texas convention Comicpalooza “due to filming.” Since the convention takes place May 23-26, many fans wondered if that meant the actor would be busy with Episode VII.
If true, this would be the first confirmed appearance of an original actor in the new film, as folks like Mark Hamil, Carrie Fischer, and Harrison Ford are still merely rumored to appear. Additionally, I wouldn’t expect Mayhew’s Episode VII Chewbacca to be quite as sprightly as his Return of the Jedi Chewbacca. Certainly, on the one hand, Chewbacca was already roughly two hundred years old during Star Wars: A New Hope, middle aged for a wookie. But on the other, the seven-foot-three actor in his costume walks with a cane (a lightsaber cane, actually) and underwent double knee replacement surgery last year, due to the complications that arise when one is approaching seventy after a long life lived with gigantism.
(via The Hollywood Reporter.)