The Hollywood Reporter confirmed this week that actor Billy Dee Williams will return to the Star Wars universe to play the fan favourite role of Lando Calrissian.
(WARNING: Spoilers ahead for anyone who isn’t up to date with the Star Wars franchise.)
Williams has lent his voice to various Star Wars-themed video games and cartoons – including Star Wars Battlefront II from last year – since playing the iconic character in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
But the intergalactic smuggler hasn’t featured in any of the Star Wars films since Return of the Jedi, which was released in 1983.
Almost a month ago, William’s announced he was cancelling his participation in the upcoming Saskatchewan Entertainment Expo – which takes place between September 15 and 16 – alluding to film scheduling conflicts.
The move sparked huge speculation among fans about his return to the franchise, rumours that were subsequently confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter.
Rian Johnson originally considered Lando to be the codebreaker who Finn and Rose are looking for in The Last Jedi, but the part was ultimately written for a brand-new character called DJ, played in the film by Benicio Del Toro.
With Vader, Palpatine, Luke and Han out of the picture for different reasons, Lando Calrissian and Leia Organa end up being the only human-like characters left from the original trilogy. With the terribly sad passing away of Carrie Fisher in 2016, it remains to be seen if producers will opt to give her a role to be pulled off with special effects, or if they’ll opt to write her out of the movie.
Production on Episode IX starts in the late Summer, helmed once more by J.J. Abrams. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver, return to the galaxy far, far away, with the addition of new cast member Keri Russell.
The film is set to open in December 2019.