Posts tagged ‘Chewbacca’

Wookiee Sensation

Our March/April issue includes a feature on former Nittany Lion basketball center Joonas Suotamo ’08, who had quite a large role in bringing an iconic character to the screen in the blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you saw the movie — and by now, who hasn’t — you’re probably thinking, “Huh?!?! I don’t remember a 7-foot blonde Finnish guy in that?” That is, unless you recognize his friendly blue eyes.

Suotamo assumed the role of Chewbacca, the trusty co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon. Cast to help lessen the physical burden on 73-year-old Peter Mayhew, Suotamo didn’t miss a beat in making his Wookiee a virtual carbon copy of the original, despite being about four inches shorter. (And neither is saying which scenes feature either actor.)

So what’s the key to playing Chewbacca? Said Suotamo when we caught up with him recently via Skype from his native Finland, “You have to realize the stubbornness of that hairy carpet. He doesn’t take kindly to advice when he’s flying in his Millennium Falcon. It was just diving into the role and trying to behave as he would in whatever the story demanded.”

And the growl? On screen it’s a sound effect added in later by film editors. But Suotamo does do his own interpretation of a Wookiee growl, and he did it for us in this clip from the interview:

For more on Suotamo’s story, check out our March/April issue. You can read more tidbits from the interview below.



February 25, 2016 at 12:52 pm Leave a comment

Penn State, We Are!!!


We checked, and this is not the car of someone named “Jed I.” Nor does it belong to, Gerald Abrams ’61, whose son Jeffrey Jacob, is directing a little movie that is set for wide release on Thursday night. And by little, of course we mean by comparison to the combined GDP of the European Union, United States and China (which at $46.3 trillion still seems infinitely smaller than what Star Wars: The Force Awakens might gross at the box office this weekend).

In any event, it is the license plate/vehicle of Jo Wilson ’90, who you might assume would be already in line by now. Not quite, but she says she will be skipping out on her office holiday party on Thursday night in order to catch a 7 p.m. showing. (She specifically made sure to get tickets at a theater with reserved seating, so as to avoid the line.)

“I already had my tickets for the first show when I found out about our office party—everyone knows where my heart lies,” she says. She also has tickets for a screening in IMAX this weekend.

While she will not be dressed as Leia, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Rey, Kylo Ren or—God forbid!?—Jar Jar, she will be wearing a “blinged out” Star Wars shirt, and matching jewelry. With the exception of the Penn State accents, her car may actually stand out the least of any Force-related vehicles you might happen to catch in a theater parking lot Thursday night.

Know anyone else who has matched their love of Star Wars—OK, even Jar Jar—with their love of Penn State like this? Let us know in the comments!

And May the Forc—*

(*You get the idea.)


—B.J. Reyes, associate editor

December 16, 2015 at 5:44 pm Leave a comment

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