Lando Calrissian reportedly has just a small role to play in Star Wars: Episode IX. After the fan-favorite scoundrel wasn't even mentioned by name in either The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi, Billy Dee Williams is finally reprising his iconic character for the sequel trilogy finale. Episode IX will mark Lando's second overall cinematic appearance in the franchise's Disney era, after Donald Glover portrayed a young Calrissian in last summer's Solo: A Star Wars Story. As enjoyable Glover's performance in the spinoff was, audiences can't wait to see Williams return to the big screen.
Both Force Awakens and Last Jedi made a series veteran (Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, respectively) a key supporting player in the film to bridge the young and old generations. Originally, General Leia Organa was to fill that role in Episode IX, but Carrie Fisher's passing forced Lucasfilm to start over. With Williams coming back, it'd be easy for fans to think Lando is going to be the one getting swept up on an adventure, but that apparently is not in the cards.
According to Making Star Wars, Lando "doesn't have a really large role in the story." From the sound of things, his part in Episode IX is similar to that of Maz Kanata in the previous two films in the sense that he provides the main characters with some help during a quest for a mysterious MacGuffin. If this information holds true, it's entirely possible Lando will only be in a single scene or brief sequence.
That revelation may be disappointing for some, but it makes a good deal of sense. For starters, Williams is now 81 years old, and while he's still in great physical shape, there's obviously only so much he can realistically do at that age. This was most likely something J.J. Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio took into consideration when penning the script, so they crafted a role that would not require Williams to perform much (if any) action. Additionally, Lando has always been a supporting character in the movies, so it isn't surprising that'll hold true for Episode IX. By now, the focus of the trilogy is squarely on the likes of Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, and Poe Dameron. Their resolving arcs deserve a lion's share of the screen time. It's great that Lando will factor into the Episode IX story somehow, but he shouldn't overshadow the leads for the sake of nostalgia.
It's somewhat amusing that Lando will seemingly be the Maz Kanata of Episode IX, since that raises questions about how Maz herself fits into the movie. Lupita Nyong'o was one of the confirmed returning cast members when production began back in August 2018, so it'll be interesting to see what becomes of that. Maybe Maz and Lando will show up together. Since Kanata was friends with Han, it stands reason to believe she crossed paths with Lando at some point.
Source: Making Star Wars
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019