After weeks of rumors — and a next-gen star filling his shoes in Solo: A Star Wars Story — the original Baron Administrator of Cloud City is heading back to the galaxy far, far away. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Billy Dee Williams will appear as Lando Calrissian in the yet-to-be-titled Star Wars: Episode IX.
No, this is not some ploy to get you into our carbon-freezing chamber unit. After appearing as Lando in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and voicing the smuggler in a dozen-plus cartoons and video games, Williams will return to the franchise in an on-screen capacity. Lucasfilm was unable to confirm the casting to Polygon at the time of publication.
Eagle-eyed Star Wars fans caught on to the casting earlier this summer, when Williams canceled an appearance at the Saskatchewan Entertainment Expo due to a “film schedule conflict.” The actor also hasn’t appeared in a feature film since 2015, leading some to assume he was gearing up for the return of Lando, following in the footsteps of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and the late Carrie Fisher.
This summer, Donald Glover revived the Lando character for the prequel film Solo, proclaiming that he was the Star Wars universe’s first pansexual character and fueling rumors that Lucasfilm was interested in a standalone spinoff starring the character.
Episode IX will be directed by The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver are all set to return, while The Americans star Keri Russell is expected to join the cast. The film opens Dec. 20, 2019.