You might want to buckle up, baby. It seems that famed smuggler, gambler, Cloud City administrator and original Millennium Falcon owner Captain Lando Calrissian is returning to the big screen.
That’s according to The Hollywood Reporter, which cited unnamed “sources” — plus the fact that Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando’s later incarnation in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi has had to bow out of the convention circuit due to an unspecified “movie schedule.”
There’s no doubt that Williams is eager to reprise the role. “No one’s going to play Lando but me,” the actor insisted when I interviewed him in 2013 — at a time when Star Wars Episode VII, the movie that became The Force Awakens, was still being cast.
He added that he was waiting by his phone for the call from Lucasfilm; a call that didn’t come for years.
Lando didn’t show up in The Force Awakens or its sequel, The Last Jedi. He didn’t even rate a mention from Luke, Han, or Leia — whom, so far as we know in the new Star Wars canon, last saw him at the Ewok celebration on the forest moon of Endor following the destruction of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi.
But a younger Lando did show up in this year’s Solo spin-off, played with self-adoring pansexual sparkle by Donald Glover. For newcomers to the Star Wars franchise, then, the pump has been primed for Lando to return.
There’s also a large hole in the forthcoming saga film that Williams can help to fill.
Given the tragic death of Carrie Fisher after The Last Jedi, and the fact that Episode IX was supposed to focus on her character General Leia Organa, we would be entirely without original trilogy characters if Lando didn’t return. (Not counting Luke Skywalker, who is likely to appear in Force Ghost form.)
If the report is true, then Episode IX — directed and written by J.J. Abrams and slated for a December 2019 release — is getting better all the time.
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