Billy Dee Williams 'Never Thought of Anyone Else Being Lando'

Billy D Williams as General Lando Calrissian

Star Wars is a beloved property, but continuing and reinventing a forty-year-old franchise for modern audiences has been a tricky proposition for the new owners of Lucasfilm. Rogue One's use of digital actors to portray Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia stirred up some interesting moral quandaries, but even more difficult to swallow seems to be the replacement of roles played by beloved actors like Harrison Ford and Billy Dee Williams with fresh new faces.

This is the problem that the yet untitled Han Solo movie is facing as it introduces Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) and Donald Glover (Atlanta) as a young Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, respectively. Fortunately, both new actors seem to be taking their responsibilities seriously and have been glimpsed meeting with their forebearers, presumably to study the men whose footsteps they will follow in.

Prior to the announcement of Lando's return in the Han Solo project, Billy Dee Williams said that he felt the character of Lando should be left alone in any future installments of Star Wars. In a recent interview, THR asked him if he had changed his mind after meeting with Donald Glover.

"I don’t know. To me, I guess what it is that I identify so much with Lando. I mean, Lando has been very much a part of my life for over 30 years. When I go out and do conventions and stuff like that, even though people know me from all the other things that I’ve done, certainly [Lando] takes precedence. I just never thought of anybody else being Lando, I just see myself as Lando."

Billy Dee Williams and Harrison Ford in Star Wars

Despite his difficulty in seeing anyone else in the role, Williams had nothing but positive things to say about Glover.

"He’s a very delightful young man, I must say. We had a very nice lunch and we talked for a very long time and it was very easy. He had questions about [Lando]. I guess he was doing what normal actors do, they just want to find out what direction they want to take so they gather their information. So, we just sat and talked and I didn’t want to impose on anything he wanted to do, he’s got his own ideas, I would imagine. I know he has his own ideas. He’s a very talented young man. In fact, I was listening to some of his music [Childish Gambino, Glover’s musical alter-ego] and it’s pretty good stuff."

Glover had recently stated that he wasn't "as cool" as Billy Dee Williams. Williams jokingly agreed, "Well, nobody’s as cool as me. [Laughs] That’s a tough way to go."

Perhaps it will make sense in context that it took Lando time to develop his smooth moves. If Glover plays Lando as a slowly maturing, but still unpolished version of the character, it may go a long way towards broadening the character and playing to his specific strengths as a comedic actor.

Are you excited to see Star Wars characters depicted by an all new generation of actors? Let us know in the comments section, and stay tuned to Screen Rant for more updates on the Han Solo film as they hit.

Source: THR

Key Release Dates
  • Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
  • Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
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