LOS ANGELES - “Solo: A Star Wars” story doesn't just introduce audiences to a new actor playing Han Solo, it shows his sidekick Chewbacca in ways he hasn't been seen in previous “Star Wars” films.

Chewbacca actor Joonas Suotamo says the differences surprised “Solo” star Alden Ehrenreich. The film depicts the characters' first meeting, long before they become heroes of the Rebellion shown in the original “Star Wars” trilogy.

The former Finnish basketball player stands 6-foot-10 and studied with original Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew to get the Wookiee's mannerisms and sounds right.

Suotamo was actually on the veteran “Star Wars” actor on the “Solo” set, having started with the franchise in 2015 with “The Force Awakens.”

He says he was impressed with how Ehrenreich handled the Solo role, which was made famous by Harrison Ford.

“Solo” will be released Friday.