‘Star Wars’: Billy Dee Williams to Reprise Lando Calrissian Role in ‘Episode IX’
After debuting the role of the smooth-talking space pirate and Han Solo buddy in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, Williams returned to portray Calrissian in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, the last time he donned one of the character’s famed capes.
Rumors regarding Williams’ return to the Lando role escalated in June when the actor suddenly canceled a September convention appearance due to a “film schedule conflict,” leading many fans to speculate the film in question was Episode IX; sources confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter that was the case.
Donald Glover portrayed a well-received younger version of Calrissian in the Star Wars Story film Solo, introducing the character to a new generation of filmgoers and perhaps fueling producers’ desire to welcome Lando back for the trilogy-ending Star Wars episode. Lando Calrissian was named the 13th best Star Wars character on Rolling Stone‘s list of franchise favorites.
Episodes VII through IX have already witnessed the returns of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo, Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker and Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia, although it remains unclear how director J.J. Abrams plans on completing the latter’s storyline following the actress’ December 2016 death.
While details about the December 2019-bound Episode IX are still under wraps, Variety reported earlier this month that The Americans star Keri Russell is being eyed for an undisclosed role.