Star Wars Episode IX Brings Back Billy Dee Williams as Lando

Billy Dee Williams will return as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: Episode IX.

Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian has been conspicuously absent from the main line of new Star Wars movies. That will finally change with Star Wars: Episode IX, as THR broke the news that Williams will return to the role he debuted in The Empire Strikes Back in 1980.

There’s a certain symmetry in having Lando return in Episode IX. Disney was careful not to re-cast Han Solo for Solo: A Star Wars Story until after the character had been killed off in The Force Awakens. With Lando, the character was reintroduced in Solo, played to perfection by Donald Glover. We finally learned about the complicated relationship between the two, and it will be interesting to meet an older, wiser, Lando in Episode IX, one who has to deal with the death of some of his dearest friends. 

In fact, Lando is now the only core human character from the original trilogy who will still be alive on screen for Episode IX. Han had his ticket punched in The Force Awakens, Luke became one with the Force in The Last Jedi, and the tragic death of Carrie Fisher means that General Leia will need an offscreen sendoff.

Hopefully JJ Abrams resists the temptation to make him the father or uncle of one of the main characters of the new films. Instead, I’m more curious about what his role in the Resistance might be. When last we saw Lando in the (official) saga, he was a General in the Rebel Alliance. Has that carried over into the Resistance? Is he using his considerable charm in politics? Any of these are more interesting questions than any needless connections to new characters. As long as he doesn’t blow up a Death Star in this one, we’re good.

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Star Wars: Episode IX opens on December 20, 2019. We have everything else you need to know about the movie right here.