Star Wars IX Is Officially Bringing Back Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian
When Donald Glover went to Billy Dee Williams for advice on how to play the iconic Star Wars character Lando Calrissian, the actor had some simple advice for the young star: “I don’t know, just be charming, man." And really, if you get that down, the rest is easy, as both Glover and Williams have proved in their portrayals of the suave smuggler 35 years apart.
Now, Williams will find himself following his own advice once again after he plays the character for the first time since 1983's Return of the Jedi. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Williams will officially reprise his role in Star Wars IX, which is due out on December 20, 2019. The final chapter of the Skywalker saga will also bring in newcomer Keri Russell for a role with "action-heavy fight scenes," which has Star Wars fans going nuts.
Star Wars has been in an awkward place as of late. Despite the box office and critical success of The Last Jedi, fan reception to the film—and the new trilogy as a whole—has been notably divided among the franchise's worst fans. Meanwhile, the latest entry in the Star Wars universe, Solo: A Star Wars Story, marked the first big flub of this rebooted sci-fi franchise. That, combined with the tragic loss of Carrie Fisher (who would have anchored Star Wars IX) puts this series in a tough place going forward.
As Luke Skywalker and Han Solo have both been killed off, there's no original, human characters left to steer the final entry in this saga. Sure, Luke could—and probably will—return in some sort of Force Ghost form. But in terms of living characters, the series is in trouble.
This makes sense considering the new attention on the character, thanks to Glover's excellent portrayal in Solo. His performance was one of the highlights of that film, and Glover has signed on for more films—which would likely mean that Disney and Lucasfilm are preparing to make him a main focus of the franchise going forward. Certainly, this would mean his story requires a fitting ending in whatever Star Wars IX has in store.
What we do know is this final Star Wars movie is going to be cool as hell.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.