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Star Wars: The Acolyte Creator Explains Why The Series Features A Jedi Wookiee

Wookiees have been a part of the "Star Wars" franchise since its inception, and it's no surprise that they've stuck around. Chewbacca (the late Peter Mayhew) made a great first impression in "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope," leading to numerous other Wookiees popping up in all forms of "Star Wars" media. Fans will get to meet a brand new one in the long-awaited Disney+ show "Star Wars: The Acolyte" – one with Force abilities no less. According to series creator Leslye Headland, the reason for the inclusion of a Jedi Wookiee comes down to the person in the suit.

"Honestly, I really loved ['Solo: A Star Wars Story'] and I loved [Joonas Suotamo's] performance in it. So I was watching it and I was like, 'Gosh, it'd be really cool to see him be a Jedi," Headland said during an appearance on the "Dagobah Dispatch" podcast. Upon having this thought, Headland took it upon herself to pitch to the Lucasfilm brass the idea of Suotamo, the current Chewbacca actor, playing a Jedi Wookiee named Kelnacca on "The Acolyte." It wasn't the easiest sell, but eventually, she got her wish, and Suotamo was added to the cast list.

Though they're far from common, Kelnacca isn't the only Jedi Wookiee to appear in the "Star Wars" canon.

Star Wars fans have met several Wookiee Jedi over the years

Before the Jedi Kelnacca makes his "Star Wars" debut via "The Acolyte," now is as good a time as any to look back on the numerous Wookiee Jedi that made their canonical introductions before him. First and foremost is the beloved Gungi, who made his earliest appearance as a youngling in the "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" episode titled "The Gathering." Gungi later reappeared in the "Star Wars: The Bad Batch" Season 2 episode "Tribe" following the execution of Order 66 and the fall of the Jedi Order.

Aside from Gungi, there are a few Wookiee Jedi who call the High Republic era — a period between 500 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) to 100 BBY — home. Jedi Master Arkoff first fully appears in "The High Republic: The Edge of Balance" Vol. 1, and Jedi Padawan Burryaga Agaburry debuts in Charles Soule's "The High Republic: Light of the Jedi" novel. Additionally, if one were to move away from the current "Star Wars" canon and delve into Legends territory, there are even more Wookiee Jedi, such as Lowbacca and Tyvokka.

At the time of this writing, it's unknown when the eight-episode first season of "Star Wars: The Acolyte" will premiere on Disney+, but hopefully, it won't be much more of a wait. Surely, many Wookiee enthusiasts out there are eager to finally meet Kelnacca.