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peter mayhew star wars episode vii
Another familiar face is returning for "Star Wars: Episode VII": Chewbacca.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that Peter Mayhew, who played Han Solo's Wookiee sidekick in the original "Star Wars" trilogy, will reprise his role in J.J. Abrams's hotly anticipated new chapter of the saga. Mayhew reportedly canceled an upcoming convention appearance "due to filming," reports THR, prompting speculation that he'll be joining the already-in-progress "Episode VII."

Mayhew starred in all three of the original "Wars" films -- "A New Hope," "The Empire Strikes Back," and "Return of the Jedi" -- and also appeared as Chewbacca in one of the later prequel films, 2003's "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith." Rumors have been swirling for months that original leads Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher are also reprising their roles, though Disney and Lucasfilm have yet to confirm that news. R2-D2, another beloved character, is the only returning cast member that's been officially acknowledged by the studio.

Filming is reportedly already underway, though the script and casting have yet to be finalized. At least Mayhew won't have to worry too much about memorizing hastily-written lines, since Chewbacca's communication consists solely of grunts and growls.

"Star Wars: Episode VII" opens on December 18, 2015.

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