Former Keighley man Peter Mayhew is to reprise his role as the loveable Star Wars character Chewbacca.

Two decades after he last played the hairy hero, it has been revealed that the 7ft 3in actor is returning for the final movie.

The news -- just announced on the official Star Wars website -- has been welcomed by fans, who haven't seen the classic Wookie character since the original blockbuster trilogy between 1977 and 83.

Also reprising their roles for Episode III of the prequel trilogy -- currently in pre-production -- are Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker, as C-3PO and R2-D2.

Mr Mayhew -- a former hospital porter -- said he was delighted to be returning as the character.

He told the website: "I think his reappearance in this film is a fitting way to tie the whole saga together, especially for Wookie fans."

Mr Mayhew (pictured right) moved to Keighley from the south of England in 1987 and immediately fell in love with the town. He made many appearances as Chewbacca to raise money for local charities and became a keen supporter of Keighley Rugby Union Club.

But he decided to leave the area three years ago to set up home in Dallas, with his Texan bride Angelique, whom he had met at a Star Wars convention in the United States.