Hello, what have we here?
Big news tonight, as The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Billy Dee Williams will indeed be returning to a galaxy far, far away, as he is set to reprise his iconic role of Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: Episode IX!
Those who have been following along won’t be too surprised by this, though it’s great to get more confirmation from a reputable source. Last month, Fantha Tracks reported that Williams was set to appear in Episode IX, and that report gained more credibility recently when Williams pulled out of the Saskatchewan Entertainment Expo due to filming obligations. So it’s actually not too surprising that Williams will be back, but that doesn’t make hearing this any less sweet.
Williams of course first donned the cape for the legendary role of Lando Calrissian in 1980 in The Empire Strikes Back, and he returned in the 1983 sequel Return of the Jedi. In more recent times, Williams has lent his voice for the role of Lando in many different outlets, including The Lego Movie, various Lego Star Wars animated projects, Star Wars Rebels, and Star Wars Battlefront and Star Wars Battlefront II. Lando also recently starred in this May’s standalone film Solo: A Star Wars Story, featuring younger versions of Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian. In that film, Lando was played by Donald Glover.
In the original trilogy, Lando was first introduced as the baron administrator of Cloud City who had a history with Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon (his former ship), and Calrissian betrayed Solo and his friends to Darth Vader. Having a change of heart, however, Lando helped Leia, Chewbacca, and the droids escape from Vader, and then helped Luke, Leia, Chewie, and the droids rescue Solo from the clutches of Jabba the Hutt. Then during the Battle of Endor, General Calrissian led the fighter attack and piloted the Falcon into the heart of the second Death Star to destroy it. In the days following Endor, Calrissian commanded a space battle above Naboo to assist Leia, and he and Shriv infiltrated an Imperial base on Sullust. At some point, though, Lando returned to Cloud City and became a droid expert, which briefly forced him to re-team with Han after a couple of years to track down and stop Fryzen Gor from taking over all droids in the galaxy and programming them to kill their masters.
It will be very interesting to see what Lando’s role will be in Episode IX, which will be directed by J.J. Abrams and is set to begin filming soon. The only major figures remaining expected to be in Episode IX that have a history with Lando are Chewbacca, the Millennium Falcon, and Ben Solo (since Luke Skywalker as a Force ghost is unlikely to interact with Lando). I would guess that Lando gets involved with the Resistance as an ally of Leia who came to her aid following the Battle of Crait and the legendary exploits of Luke Skywalker to give the galaxy hope and the Resistance a spark. It would be really cool to see Lando piloting the Falcon again, something that I’d expect to happen.
We can only speculate right now as to what Lando’s role will be, but it’s simply exciting enough that he’ll be back in the third film of the sequel trilogy! Fans were hoping to see him in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and while that didn’t happen they will get to see him again before the trilogy is done!