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Following recent online rumblings about abrupt changes to Peter Mayhew’s convention schedule, Heat Vision reports the 69-year-old actor will reprise his role as Chewbacca in Star Wars: Episode VII.
While Disney has to date only confirmed the involvement of R2-D2 in director J.J. Abrams’ film, studio chairman Alan Horn revealed that casting is nearly complete, and that shooting already has begun (early reports indicated principal photography would start next month). However, it’s believed original trilogy stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford will return in some capacity, with Adam Driver playing the lead villain.
Mayhew played Han Solo’s Wookiee co-pilot on the big screen in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, 1983’s Return of the Jedi and 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. He also appeared as Chewbacca on the fabled 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special and on a 1980 episode of The Muppet Show.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens Dec. 18, 2015.