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Last Updated: Monday, 28 April, 2003, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
Chewbacca returns to Star Wars
Chewbacca (left) with Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi
Chewbacca (left) featured in the original Star Wars trilogy

Classic Star Wars character Chewbacca is to return alongside fellow favourites R2-D2 and C-3PO for the final instalment of the sci-fi film series.

Actor Peter Mayhew is to reprise his role as the hairy wookie creature for Episode III, which is due out in May 2005.

While R2-D2 and C-3PO have featured in the previous five Star Wars films, Mayhew's character did not appear outside the original trilogy.

"I think his re-appearance in this film is a fitting way to tie the whole saga together, " he said.

George Lucas
Director George Lucas is behind the sixth Star Wars movie

Episode III will be the final part of the Star Wars prequels, linking it with the original trilogy of director George Lucas' much-loved space saga which made its debut in 1977.

In Episode III Anthony Daniels will return as C-3PO, with Kenny Baker as R2-D2.

The full title of the film, which is in pre-production, has not yet been released.

It has a provisional release date of 25 May, 2005 - one etched in the diaries of countless fans worldwide.

In a poll for BBC News Online to mark the 75th Academy Awards in March, the Star Wars series were voted the most influential movies of the last 75 years.

The five films were picked as the most influential by more than a third of the 18,000 people who voted online.

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