UPDATE: Rian Johnson has confirmed Lando Calrissian is NOT in The Last Jedi. The original article follows
Those hoping to see Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be disappointed to hear Billy Dee Williams does not have a role in the upcoming film. Though he didn't first appear in the series until the halfway point of The Empire Strikes Back, many fans still view Lando as an integral and valuable part of the original trilogy, with some holding him in the same light as the "big three" of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. Calrissian, after all, helped lead the Rebel fleet's attack on the second Death Star and delivered one of the killing blows to its main reactor. Without his flying skills, the Battle of Endor could have ended differently.
In 2015, The Force Awakens included the emotional nostalgia trip of seeing Luke, Han, and Leia on the big screen once more, but Lando was conspicuously absent from the proceedings. The character isn't even mentioned by name in Episode VII, which was a puzzling development. Though Williams is open to reprising the role if Lucasfilm asks him, he is not going to make his return to the galaxy far, far away this December when Episode VIII premieres.
During his Smooth Talkin' With Billy Dee Williams panel at Star Wars Celebration Orlando, the actor revealed he is not going to appear in The Last Jedi. Fandango's Erik Davis shared the news on his Twitter account:
— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) April 13, 2017
While this will be frustrating for fans of the old smoothie, Williams sitting Episode VIII out makes sense from a certain point of view. Much like The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi has a lot on its plate, including Luke Skywalker training Rey in the ways of the Force and the continuing war between the Resistance and the First Order. Not only is writer/director Rian Johnson introducing a trio of new faces played by Benicio del Toro, Laura Dern, and Kelly Marie Tran, he also has to further the development of all the returning characters, which will obviously take up a bulk of the screen time. As fun as it would be to see Williams play Lando again, his inclusion would have to make logical sense for the story at hand. If the goal is for the Star Wars films to move away from the so-called legacy elements, original trilogy callbacks have to be a natural fit. There simply may not be a spot to make Calrissian's return worthwhile.
Nevertheless, moviegoers will get a chance to see Donald Glover portray a younger Lando in next year's Han Solo spinoff, and the Lucasfilm story group has always found places for the scoundrel in other canon materials like Rebels and the novels. It stands reason to believe that at some point the character will receive the proper sendoff he deserves - whether that happen in a new movie or elsewhere. His ultimate fate is one of the lingering questions in the post-Return of the Jedi era, and it should be answered eventually.
Source: Erik Davis
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