From the moment the ‘Star Wars’ sequel trilogy kicked off with ‘The Force Awakens’, Lucasfilm has made a very deliberate effort to tie the films to George Lucas’s original trilogy, featuring return appearances from a list of characters that runs the gamut from Admiral Akbar to Luke Skywalker. But through all of that, one of the trilogy’s most iconic characters has been conspicuous for his absence. Until now.
After weeks of rumors, it’s finally official. Billy Dee Williams will once again don a cape and reprise the role of Lando Calrissian. The news comes via the Hollywood Reporter, which is confirming via unspecified sources that Williams is returning to the franchise. Speculation to this effect began in June when Williams abruptly cancelled an appearance at an upcoming convention, citing a scheduling conflict with an unspecified film project. For all intents and purposes, the cat was out of the bag.
Williams’ return comes in the wake of the scene-stealing appearance of a younger version of Calrissian – who first appeared in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ in 1980 – in this summer’s ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’, in which he was played by Donald Glover. Though Williams has voiced Lando on a number of occasions in recent years – including appearances on ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ and a variety of video games – ‘Episode IX’ will be the first time he has embodied the famously suave gambler on screen since 1983’s ‘Return of the Jedi’.
Hopefully, he bucks the trend established by other returning stars from the original trilogy and makes it out alive.
‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ will see J.J. Abrams return to the director’s chair, concluding the trilogy he began with ‘The Force Awakens’. In addition to Billy Dee Williams, the film will reunite the sequel trilogy’s established stars, including Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and John Boyega, and introduce audiences to franchise newcomers like Keri Russell
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on ‘Episode IX’ and other upcoming ‘Star Wars film and television projects as it becomes available!