There won’t be a new episode of Star Wars Rebels airing on Disney XD tonight, but next week’s adventure will bring with it a fan-favorite: the smoothest talker in the Star Wars universe, Lando Calrissian. Billy Dee Williams is lending his voice to the character in animated form, much as Frank Oz did for Yoda on last week’s episode, ‘Path of the Jedi‘; above, we have the younger Lando on Rebels, opposite the Ghost’s grumpy astromech droid, Chopper.
‘Idiot’s Array’, as penned by Kevin Hopps (who also wrote ‘Out of Darkness’ and ‘Fighter Flight’), sees Zeb lose Chopper to Lando during a card game, after which the rest of the Ghost’s crew set out to get their beloved droid back. However, that proves to be easier said than done, especially once the Rebels crew gets caught up in one of Lando’s more elaborate schemes.
Rebels will feature a somewhat younger Lando than the one Williams played in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, as the character has not yet become the Baron Administrator of Cloud City in ‘Idiot’s Array’; and thus, “He’s still working on all of his moves, all of his strategies,” as Rebels co-creator and supervising director Dave Filoni told EW. You can watch a behind the scenes featurette for the episode (which includes interview snippets with Williams and the Rebels production team), at the link below.
Truth be told, Williams’ Lando vocal mannerisms seem to come more naturally to him now (after his years of “experience”) than they did, back when he was appeared in the original live-action Star Wars movie trilogy. Both Twitter user “Blue Leader” and Tim Veekhoven (a contributor to Star Wars Insider Magazine) have posted additional screenshots of Lando from his Star Wars Rebels appearance (which is already available for viewing on the Disney XD app).
It’s generally believed that Williams’ real-life health problems are part of the reason why he isn’t reprising Lando in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens later this year, but at least we’ll get to see him back in his famous Star Wars role again (in some form) thanks to Rebels. So far, the animated TV show has been pretty good about incorporating familiar citizens of a galaxy far, far away into the over-arching Rebels storyline in a (mostly) organic fashion, so hopefully trend will continue with the Ghost crew and Lando’s adventure together.
And who knows; with the rumored story for the first Star Wars movie spinoff taking place around the same time as Rebels, maybe this upcoming episode will plant the seeds for another appearance by the young Lando (not played by Williams, that is) in the future. No harming in guessing, right?
Star Wars Rebels returns next week on January 19th with ‘Idiot’s Array’ at 9/8c on Disney XD.