Billy Dee Williams recently revealed that he never saw his Star Wars character, Lando Calrissian as the Rebel general-type. Williams is reprising his landmark role for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, again joining the ranks of another rebellion to save the galaxy from an oppressive regime.
Lando first appears in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back as the overseer of Cloud City, initially selling out Han and Leia to the Empire before realizing his mistake. In Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi, Lando helps Leia rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt and later takes part in the Rebellion's assault on the second Death Star, piloting the Millenium Falcon - a ship that was originally his until Han won it off him. Since those films, Star Wars media has provided more background on Lando and his friendship with Han, with Donald Glover most recently portraying a young Lando in Solo. These earlier adventures depict a Lando who's a gambler and smuggler, and a far cry from the Rebellion general he later becomes.
In an interview with Esquire, Williams shared that he originally saw a very different future for Lando, too, one more in line with his character's business interests.
"I always imagined Lando being like Steve Wynn, running Las Vegas. Because he’s a gambler. But he was a bit of a showman, a bit of an entrepreneur. That’s how I see Lando. I never necessarily saw him as a general running around shooting things."
When Lando returns in The Rise of Skywalker, it will be as an icon of the galaxy's previous rebellion. From what we've seen of him in the trailers and promotional images, Lando is depicted as holding court among a group of starry-eyed Resistance fighters or again piloting the Falcon. It may not have been the future Williams initially imagined for the scoundrel, but it appears to have worked out well enough. Lando is, after all, still alive while so many of friends are gone. Plus, it should be noted that little has been revealed about what Lando has been up to between Return of the Jedi and Rise of Skywalker, so maybe he was an intergalactic casino owner for a a time?
In addition to Lando being the veteran in The Rise of Skywalker, Williams is returning to the franchise as one of the few remaining veteran stars of the original trilogy. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Peter Mayhew all returned for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Mark Hamill did as well come Star Wars: The Last Jedi. However, only Hamill and Williams, with Fisher appearing through reused footage, will be in the upcoming film. Another and likely final live-action appearance from Williams as Lando is something fans have been clamoring for ever since the sequel trilogy was announced, and it happens in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - just not as Williams thought it would.