Ever since J.J. Abrams took over the reins of the third trilogy in the saga of Star Wars trilogies started by George Lucas in 1977, there’s been a groundswell of support for a return to the screen of one of the Star Wars galaxy’s most beloved scoundrels – smuggler and gambler turned businessman Lando Calrissian. Tonight the word from The Hollywood Reporter is that Abrams has in fact asked Billy Dee Williams to reprise his role as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars Episode IX.
Episode VII “The Force Awakens” took place 30 years after the events of “Return of the Jedi” (1983) when we last saw Billy Dee Williams celebrating the Rebels victory in the company of those cuddly and remarkably effective warrior clan – the Ewoks. Before that Williams introduced the character in “The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Lately Williams provided the voice of Calrissian in the Star Wars Rebels animated TV series and various video games.
The caped character of Lando Calrissian also appeared in the recent stand-alone “Solo: A Star Wars Story” movie (played by Childish Gambino himself Donald Glover). That might allow some interesting flash-back opportunities in Episode IX.
The news of Williams’ participation in Episode IX comes on the eve of production, which begins later this summer, and Williams clearing his calendar of scheduled appearances around that time.
While JJ Abrams took a break on Episode VIII, handing direction lens to Rian Johnson, he remained a producer on the movie and will be directing Episode IX. The as-yet untitled film will reunite the main cast including Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isacc (Poe Dameron), and Adam Driver (Kylo Ren). Its not clear how the film will deal with the real world loss of Carrie Fisher, whose Princess Leia on-screen character, was very much alive at the end of “The Last Jedi.”
Star Wars Episode IX is scheduled to open on December 30, 2019.