Mark Hamill Welcomes Billy Dee Williams Back To The Star Wars Franchise

Lando and Luke in return of the jedi

As far as major film franchises go, there is none quite as popular and beloved as Star Wars. George Lucas' colorful world has been passed down from generation to generation, resulting in a mass of loyal fans. The current trilogy of blockbusters will soon come to an end with Episode IX, completing the Skywalker Saga forever, and making way for new and exciting stories. The pressure is on for J.J. Abrams to deliver a satisfying conclusion, and the most recent casting announcement has certainly got the fans excited. In addition to the return of Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke and Leia, Billy Dee Williams is finally returning as Lando Calrissian, for the first time since Return of the Jedi. Mark Hamill recently reacted to the news, and sent his co-star a sweet welcome home message.

Doesn't this just make your midichlorians light up? Luke, Lando, and Leia will all be back to finish up the main Star Wars franchise in Episode IX, and the cat is finally out of the bag. Now we'll just have to see how J.J. Abrams managed to bring the epic space opera's story to a close.

Mark Hamill's recent Tweet shows how psyched Mark Hamill is about the mysterious events of Episode IX, and finally having the big casting secret out of the bag. The Star Wars franchise is one that relies on secrecy, as it has had some of the biggest plot twists in film history. Hamill has made his career keeping the galaxy's secrets, and is going to have to continue for the foreseeable future, especially now that he's been confirmed to return for Episode IX. How both Luke and Lando function within the story will likely remain a mystery until the blockbuster arrives in theaters, so we've got quite some time to wait.

Which of the remaining heroes could return for Episode IX became a major conversation after The Last Jedi aired. The film saw Luke seemingly die after his Force Projection confrontation with Kylo Ren on Crait. And with actress Carrie Fisher passing away in real life, Episode IX had the potential to be the first movie without any of the OG trio of heroes. Luckily Leia will be in the film through unused Last Jedi footage, while Luke will likely pop back up as a Force Ghost.

Billy Dee Williams' long awaited return to Lando in Episode IX is a major selling point for the OG fans. Lando hadn't been mentioned or seen during the first two films in the current franchise, despite Rian Johnson's original intention to bring him into the Canto Bight sequence in Return of the Jedi. But with Donald Glover's young Lando stealing scenes in Solo: A Star Wars Story, it's the perfect timing to bring back Billy Dee Williams' signature swagger and voice to the big screen.

All will be revealed when Episode IX arrives in theaters on December 20th, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.