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Star Wars fan Jonny Mathers in bid to become Chewbacca

Jonny and Bethany Mathers
Image caption Mr Mathers said being in the new Star Wars film would be "his dream come true"

A 7ft 3in Star Wars fanatic hopes to be cast in the role of Chewbacca in the latest instalment of the sci-fi saga.

Jonny Mathers, 34, from Weston-super-Mare, has replied to a casting call from Disney, the film's producers, which he is convinced is for the role.

The director, JJ Abrams, is casting now, prompting speculation as to which characters and actors will feature.

British actor Peter Mayhew, 69, who is also 7ft 3in tall, played Chewbacca in previous Star Wars films.

Disney announced it would be making three new Star Wars films after it purchased Lucasfilm, the company started by Star Wars creator George Lucas, in October 2012.

Walt Disney Pictures/LucasFilm/Bad Robot have put out a casting call for a: "Male, 7 ft to 7.3 ft tall with a slim/thin build and upright posture.

"Not too worked out or too 'thick set' especially in the shoulders. Broad facial features would be a bonus".

Mr Mathers said his mum rang to tell him about the casting call which is for an "untitled studio feature".

"She said she'd heard the casting directors were looking for a 7ft 3 male and we twigged it was Star Wars," he said.

"There can't be that many roles for blokes my height and I'd love to be in it, no matter what capacity."

Mr Mathers, who has never acted professionally, replied to the call and set up a Facebook page set up for his ambition which received more than 1,000 likes in its first 48 hours.

He says he has been a Star Wars fan since when he first went to the cinema to see Return of the Jedi as a four-year-old.

Image caption Chewbacca and Mark Hamill who played Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy

"It'd be my dream come true to be part of the latest instalment," he said.

"I've been in contact with Spotlight [a website for professional acting jobs and auditions] and I'm taking things from there.

"I can't say any more right now but this would be a great opportunity for me," he said.

The Chewbacca character, a Wookiee, has featured in four of the previous Star Wars instalments.

Star Wars: Episode VII is due to start production in the UK early next year and is scheduled for release in 2015.

Filming on previous Star Wars episodes took place at studios including Elstree, Shepperton and Leavesden.

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