Joonas Suotamo Reflects on Chewie’s Emotional Rise of Skywalker Scene

Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker!

Carrie Fisher’s untimely passing hit Star Wars fans pretty hard in 2016. But onscreen, Leia Organa survived until Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Chewbacca, as played by Joonas Suotamo, took the news very badly in the movie. Now, while speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Suotamo has revealed on how it felt to prepare for that heart-wrenching goodbye.

“Everyone was really tense,” said Suotamo. “It was agonizing to deal with that situation because you were essentially living the actual reality of it — that Carrie had passed — and now we were shooting the scene where her character passes. It was a very emotional day, and watching it is still very emotional for me.”

The scene naturally drew comparisons to Chewie’s reaction to watching Han Solo’s die in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But according to Suotamo, Han’s death didn’t carry the same weight as Leia’s.

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“When Han died in The Force Awakens, you knew that you were still going to shake Harrison Ford’s hand at the end of the day,” said Suotamo. “So, yeah, Leia’s scene was definitely more difficult.”

Suotamo also commented on one specific bit of criticism leveled against The Force Awakens after it hit theaters in 2015. Some fans took issue with the fact that Leia mourned Han’s death by hugging Rey, instead of Chewie, who was part of their family for over three decades. Suotomo revealed that an alternate version of this moment exists. Unfortunately, fans might never get to see it.

“For The Force Awakens, we actually shot a special scene — a consolation scene for Chewie — which didn’t make it into the finished film or DVD,” added Suotamo. “The thought process behind it was a little bit different than what ended up being in the film, and those kinds of things always affect the final decision-making on the day.”

What did you think of Suotamo’s memorable scene in The Rise of Skywalker? Let us know in the comments below!

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