Billy Dee Williams has been an accomplished actor for over five decades, but he'll always be best known as Lando Calrissian in the world of Star Wars. Pretty soon, though, another actor is going to leave his own mark on the character. Last October, Atlanta's Donald Glover was brought in to play Lando for the upcoming Han Solo movie. While casting a younger actor was obviously the only way they could approach this, Williams is still getting used to the idea of someone else playing the smooth-talking scoundrel.
In the midst of chatting about his upcoming turn as Two-Face in The LEGO Batman Movie, Billy Dee Williams talked to THR about the lunch he recently had with Donald Glover about Lando Calrissian. The publication then asked Williams if he has since changed his mind about how the Star Wars producers should leave Lando alone. This was his response:
To me, I guess what it is that I identify so much with Lando. I mean, Lando has been very much a part of my life for over 30 years. When I go out and do conventions and stuff like that, even though people know me from all the other things that I've done, certainly [Lando] takes precedence. I just never thought of anybody else being Lando, I just see myself as Lando.
It's certainly understandable that Billy Dee Williams would feel weird about someone else playing a character that's so meaningful to him. That said, the fact of the matter is that if you're making a movie about Han Solo's younger years, passing up on using Lando Calrissian would be a wasted opportunity. Those two had history long before The Empire Strikes Back, and while we don't officially know what Han and Lando will be doing together in the movie, it will be interesting to see what their dynamic was like in those early years. Besides, even if Donald Glover turns in an excellent Lando performance, it's likely most people will still think of Williams first regarding Lando.
While Williams hasn't played Lando in live action since the early 1980s, he has voiced the character on numerous occasions in the years since, including two episodes of Star Wars Rebels, the original Star Wars Battlefront video game and The LEGO Movie. Although Lucasfilm is keeping mum about what to expect from the Han Solo movie, it's been rumored that we will see how Han won the Millennium Falcon from Lando. Besides Donald Glover, the movie's cast includes Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson.
You can see Donald Glover's version of Lando Calrissian when the young Han Solo movie is released on May 25, 2018. As for Billy Dee Williams, there's still no word on if he'll reprise Lando in Star Wars: The Last Jedi or Episode IX, but hopes springs eternal.