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Lando's Back: Our Biggest Questions About Star Wars 9's Surprise Return

The original Lando Calrissian, Billy Dee Williams, is returning to the Star Wars galaxy for Star Wars: Episode IX, in a story that is expected to wrap up the sequel trilogy, and possibly the entire Skywalker saga.

The Star Wars franchise is thriving under the guiding hand of Disney and Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy. Three years in a row, the franchise pumped out annual billion-dollar hits, though they hit something of a financial snag with Solo: A Star Wars Story's underwhelming box office returns.

Related: Would George Lucas' Star Wars Sequel Trilogy Have Been Better?

As production begins on Episode IX, directed by J.J. Abrams, anticipation for the presumed final chapter in the sequel trilogy is beginning to build. While plot details on Episode IX are being kept tightly under wraps, one huge question on everybody's mind has been this: where's Lando?

Indeed, Lando Calrissian, one of the original trilogy's most universally beloved characters, has been conspicuously absent from the sequel films. Actor Billy Dee Williams first played the iconic rogue smuggler/charming space dandy/legitimate businessman in 1980's The Empire Strikes Back. After the original trilogy wrapped up, he's returned to voice the character in a number of recent projects like the animated Star Wars: Rebels series, the Star Wars: Battlefront II video game, and even made a decidedly non-canon cameo in The LEGO Movie. Still, Williams hasn't appeared in live-action since 1983's Return of the Jedi. It been a long time coming, but his moment has arrived; Billy Dee Williams has been confirmed to appear in Star Wars: Episode IX.

Where is Lando in the Sequel Trilogy?

It's only fair for Lando to play a significant role in Episode IX, since he's pretty much the only member of the original cast who has yet to make an appearance in the new series. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and even Frank Oz have all returned as their classic characters, so Lando deserves his chance to shine, and not just in a glorified cameo.

With that in mind, what exactly has Lando been up to, in-universe? Even with the wealth of new canon in the form of novels, comic books, and animated programs, there's surprisingly little detail about Lando's life after the fall of the Galactic Empire, though he appeared in a wealth of tie-in material. Star Wars: Battlefront II shows that he remained with the Rebel Alliance as they slowly consolidated their victory over the Empire, but after that, his whereabouts are mostly unknown.

Related: Star Wars 9: Everything You Need To Know

Lando's latest mention in the canon timeline came in the novel Bloodline, which is set six years before Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The novel focuses on Senator Leia Organa as she navigates politics during the rise of The First Order. At one point in the novel, she becomes embroiled in a political scandal which arises when the public discovers that her father was none other than Darth Vader. It's said that Lando was among several friends who offered well-wishes and support during this period of great difficulty for the political leader. While he doesn't make an actual, physical appearance in the story, at least the audience knows he's alive and well, if perhaps keeping a low profile. It's almost as if Lucasfilm had mandated that old man Lando be kept off-limits until he made his proper debut in the movies. In the lead-up to Episode IX, it's a safe bet that much of Lando's backstory will be revealed in novels, comics, and – hopefully – in Star Wars: Resistance.

Page 2 of 2: How Will Lando Play Into the Plot of Star Wars 9?

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Key Release Dates
  • Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
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Lando's Back: Our Biggest Questions About Star Wars 9's Surprise Return