Despite not making an appearance in either Star Wars: The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi, Billie Dee Williams is returning to play Lando in Episode IX. News of his return has fans excited, especially with all three stars of the original trilogy out of the current timeline. Luke (Mark Hamill) has joined the Force with Han Solo (Harrison Ford), and Leia (Carrie Fisher) won’t appear since the actress’ untimely death. Fortunately, Lando (Billie Dee Williams) will provide Episode IX with a link to the past and connect the past timeline with current events.
The major concern with Williams returning to play Lando is that it’s going to be a bit complicated to explain his absence. The First Order’s battle with the Resistance has affected the entire galaxy but Lando has somehow managed to keep himself out of the fight. How he managed to accomplish that feat is up for debate but the most feasible answer is Lando went back to ruling Cloud City. The floating community presumably fell from the Empire’s control once Vader and the Emperor were defeated. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume Lando went back soon after.
Another possible explanation for where Lando’s been is that he’s working as a smuggler for both sides of the battle. Rian Johnson originally wanted Williams to play DJ in The Last Jedi but that part went to Benicio Del Toro in the end.
What that means for Lando is that he would’ve come back as a morally ambiguous character—similar to how he was portrayed in the original Star Wars trilogy. That also means Lando could be playing both in his next appearance. Lando’s resurgence could be somewhat mysterious, though we’ll likely learn of where life took him after Return Of The Jedi and how that led him to where he is today.
Nevertheless, Billie Dee Williams jumping back into the fold is going to drive fans crazy. Lando (Williams) was a fan-favorite character in the original trilogy and has been spoken of fondly ever since. We still don’t know how much of Lando will be in Episode IX, so the only thing we can do is hope J.J. Abrams gives fans what they want. Not every fan will be happy with Abrams does with Episode IX but giving Lando a featured part should mitigate some of the criticisms levied on the final installment of the current trilogy.
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