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Lando Calrissian has been a fan favorite character ever since he was first introduced in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and that legacy has continued through the character's many appearances over the years. Most recently we saw him portrayed by Donald Glover in Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story, but now new reports say that Billy Dee Williams will be back to reprise the role in the untitled Star Wars: Episode IX.
Rumors of Billy Dee Williams' potential return have been floating around for months now, but sources are now telling The Hollywood Reporter that Lando Calrissian will indeed be back in action for J.J. Abrams' next Star Wars movie. The blockbuster is going to be going into production later this summer, and it seems that its getting its pieces in order. It was recently reported that Keri Russell has signed on to the film in a mysterious role (creating a Felicity/Mission: Impossible III reunion with Abrams), and now Williams appears to be the second big new addition.
When you consider how the most recently trilogy of Star Wars movies has operated to this point, the inclusion of Lando Calrissian in the third chapter is an interesting move. When you look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi side-by-side, you start to see what the filmmakers had in mind for the structure: have each movie shine a spotlight on a protagonist from the original movies and conclude their story in a meaningful way. The Force Awakens is a goodbye to Han Solo, The Last Jedi is a goodbye to Luke Skywalker... and Episode IX presumably would have been a goodbye to General nee Princess Leia. Sadly all those plans had to change with the untimely passing of Carrie Fisher, so this situation makes one wonder if Lando might be getting the same kind of legacy treatment in her place (while presumably honoring Leia in a different way).
While there are many Lando Calrissian stories that are now non-canon (a.k.a. have the designation "Star Wars Legends"), the character has been a key part of the universe for years. In addition to being an important character in both The Empire Strikes Back and The Return Of The Jedi, he has also had his own Marvel Comics miniseries, appeared on the beloved animated series Star Wars Rebels, and is considered to be the best part of the aforementioned Solo: A Star Wars Story (with plenty of due credit going to Donald Glover). Thanks to the secrecy surrounding the Star Wars franchise we have no idea what Lando will be up to when we catch up with him in Episode IX, but at the very, very least we expect a lot more space capes.
As mentioned, Star Wars: Episode IX will be going into production in a few weeks time, which means that we should be hearing more reports about the pre-production process very soon. Stay tuned for more updates, and take all the time you can to prepare for the blockbuster's December 20, 2019 launch.