Thanks to the official casting announcement, we know for sure that Billy Dee Williams will be reprising his role as Lando Calrissian in J.J. Abrams Star Wars: Episode IX. What we don’t know, alongside pretty much everything about the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga, is just how big Lando’s role in the film will be. However, based on a new report, it sounds like Lando’s appearance will be a small one.
Making Star Wars is reporting that Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian does not have a large role in Star Wars: Episode IX, and won’t be a major part of the story. But just because his part is brief, doesn’t mean it won’t be important. Lando Calrissian may fulfill a role in the film similar to that of Maz Kanata, helping the heroes on their quest by pointing them in the direction of the story's MacGuffin.
When we see him again Billy Dee Williams, may also be rocking a fancy blue cape and a cane and wearing a yellow shirt similar to the one that Donald Glover wore as Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story. This is just what Making Star Wars has heard though, so it’s best to take all of this Lando news with a grain of salt for now.
That said, this sounds about right for what we can expect from Lando Calrissian in Episode IX. He’s not Luke or Leia, nor is he part of the new class of Kylo, Rey, Finn or Poe. So it would be surprising if he had a ton of screen time with so many other characters’ stories and the arc of the entire trilogy and Saga to wrap up. As such, we shouldn't expect Lando to return in this third chapter of the sequel trilogy and be a main character.
This is especially true because neither Star Wars: The Force Awakens nor Star Wars: The Last Jedi established Lando’s current place in the galaxy or his role in this story. The last time we saw Billy Dee Williams as Lando was in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi and that film took place decades before the current story.
But if this report is true, while Lando’s appearance will be small, it will still matter. The comparison to Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata character makes sense, and hopefully that means Maz in The Force Awakens and not her cameo in The Last Jedi. While I don’t think people are expecting Lando to be a big part of the movie, the fandom is eager to finally have him pop up.
If Lando comes in to help the new generation of galaxy heroes, it would allow his return to be brief but impactful and more satisfying than just a cameo. This is not his story, but he is still a part of this universe and it makes sense for him to once again find himself in a position to help tilt the balance of the galaxy in one direction or the other.
I also like the idea that he would take some style cues from his younger self in Solo: A Star Wars Story. That would be a nice nod to the spinoff, and provide a tiny bit of cohesion between the two incarnations of Lando and the various films of the Star Wars universe.
It’s a pity we won’t see him with Han again, and based on this report it doesn’t sound like he would cross paths with Carrie Fisher’s Leia. But maybe Lando and Chewie will share a moment together. It's just cool that Lando is back, no matter what role he plays. Who knows, maybe he’ll even get back his beloved Millennium Falcon at the end of the movie when it’s all said and done.
Star Wars: Episode IX blasts into theaters on December 20. Check out our release guide to see all the movies you can look forward to this year on the road to Episode IX and keep an eye on CinemaBlend for the latest Star Wars movie news.