Billy Dee Williams is returning to the galaxy that made him a superstar. The Hollywood Reporter confirms that Williams will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian for the untitled “Star Wars: Episode IX.”
Williams first appeared as Lando, an old friend of Han’s, in “The Empire Strikes Back.” He also starred in “Return of the Jedi,” helping the Rebel Alliance to overthrow the empire. We learned a little bit more about Lando’s background in this summer’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” For that film, Donald Glover played a younger version of the beloved gambler.
Glover’s portrayal was so popular, there has been talk about him possibly getting his own spin-off. Although the spin-off talk has slowed considerably this summer as Lucasfilm plans its next moves.
Billy Dee Williams capitalized on the fame from “Star Wars.” After “Empire” in 1980 and “Jedi” in 1983, he joined the burgeoning convention circuit, making frequent appearances around the world. He also lends his voice to video games, and episodes of the animated series.
Williams has also appeared in many non-“Star Wars” projects over the years, too. Long before he joined the rebels, he had a number of television credits, and a few feature films. In 1989, he played Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s “Batman.” He made guest appearances on shows like “That 70s Show,” “Scrubs,” “Glee,” and “Modern Family.” He had an arc on “General Hospital,” and showed up in the television remake of “Dirty Dancing.”
We don’t yet know the details of Lando’s return. His name hasn’t even been mentioned in either “The Force Awakens” or “The Last Jedi,” so we don’t know where he has been all these years. It will be interesting to see what’s in store as new details start emerging over the next months. Filming is set to begin within the next few weeks.
“Star Wars Episode IX” is slated for release on December 20, 2019.