Hello, what have we here?
It’s none other than Billy Dee Williams, the original, smooth-talking scoundrel, making his way back to the silver screen as Lando Calrissian. Sources have confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the rumors are indeed true: Star Wars: Episode IX will see Williams reprising the role that put him on the cinematic map.
As we previously reported, earlier this year Williams was noted to have begun a new diet and workout regimen, and just recently cancelled an upcoming appearance at the Saskatchewan Entertainment Expo due to a “filming schedule conflict.” Now we know why.
Williams, now 81, first played the swashbuckling smuggler Lando Calrissian in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, which saw the one time gambler and rogue having retired from a life of petty crime to become a “legitimate businessman” and administrator of a tibanna gas mining facility floating among the clouds of Bespin. An ill-advised bargain with Darth Vader teams him up with old friend Chewbacca, Leia, and the rest of the Calrissian lore is history.
Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty
Having never really left the Star Wars life, often making appearances at comic-cons and other conventions, Williams’s work in a galaxy far, far away has most recently been centered on voice work for Star Wars Rebels and miscellaneous video games. Now, it’s back to live action for the former Colt 45 front man.
With the Resistance in shambles following the events of The Last Jedi, it would seem to reason that Lando would answer Leia’s call for assistance in one last, historic tribute to his old buddy Han. What role he’ll ultimately play, however, we likely won’t know until the first trailer drops for the film, perhaps next summer.
You might want to buckle up, baby. Billy Dee Williams is back.
Star Wars: Episode IX begins production this summer with an anticipated December, 2019 release.