Back in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Lando Calrissian told Han Solo, “You know, seeing you sure brings back a few things.” According to casting rumors, we may be able to say the same thing about the original actor who made the role famous: The Hollywood Reporter writes that Billy Dee Williams will return to the role in J.J. Abrams upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX.
A younger version of the swaggering, self-sure gambler was played by Donald Glover in Solo: A Star Wars Story – and we thought Glover was “almost better at the character than the original.” The key word there is “almost.” Bringing Williams back into the fold after everything that has transpired in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi will give his character a lot of different possible directions to head that could prove interesting.
For his part, Williams has returned quite a bit to one of his most well-known roles: he has frequently appeared as Lando Calrissian in various Star Wars video games, TV shows, and movies – but almost always as a voice actor. He also voiced Two-Face in The LEGO Batman Movie, as we played Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman adaptation. Besides voice work, Williams has also appeared on several TV shows, like Arrested Development, Scrubs, and Modern Family, as a self-referential, exaggerated version of himself.
Williams will join Star Wars: Episode IX‘s returning cast, including Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Lupita Nyong’o, and Adam Driver. He is not the only new casting addition to the film: we also reported last week that Felicity‘s Keri Russell is joining the cast in an “action-heavy” role.
The still-untitled Star Wars: Episode IX is directed by J.J. Abrams and is set to release December 20, 2019. Stay tuned for more details on casting and the production.