The actor who played Chewbacca will once again don the furry costume as Han Solo's Wookiee co-pilot -- at least, if The Hollywood Reporter
is to be believed. THR this afternoon reported
that "Peter Mayhew will play Chewbacca for Disney and Lucasfilm's upcoming sequel."
in September 2013 that he "intend[ed] to pursue the role of Chewbacca for Episode VII," and late last month, he canceled a scheduled appearance
at Comicpalooza in late May "due to filming."
If confirmed, Chewbacca's appearance in Episode VII would represent the first definitive blow to the hope among some fans that the new films will attempt to dovetail with the Expanded Universe. In the EU, Chewbacca was killed in the 1999 novel Vector Prime
by R.A. Salvatore. However, Disney has taken every effort to stress that their cinematic stories will not be beholden to the books, comics, and other supplementary material.
As of press time, Lucasfilm and Disney would not comment on this rumor.