lando in star wars episode 9

All bets are off: Billy Dee Williams is returning to Star Wars. The actor will reprise his role as the intergalactic gambler and former smuggler Lando in Star Wars Episode 9, marking his first big screen return to the role since 1983’s Return of the Jedi.

We’re floating on a cloud (city) right now. Billy Dee Williams has been confirmed to reprise his role as Lando Calrissian in J.J. Abrams‘ Star Wars: Episode 9, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Rumors have been flying of Williams’ return to the role since last month, when a Star Wars fan site reported that Williams was set to return. Those rumors only gained speed when Williams bowed out of an upcoming sci-fi and pop culture convention later this summer, citing a “conflict with a movie schedule.” Star Wars: Episode 9 is set to begin production this summer.

Williams first made his debut as the suave galactic gambler who went on to become an administrator of Cloud City in 1980’s Empire Strikes Back. His last feature film appearance as Lando was three years later in Return of the Jedi, but Williams has maintained a close connection with the character, voicing Lando in various Star Wars video games and parody shorts as well as in the animated Star Wars Rebels series.

But on the big screen it seemed like Williams would pass the mantle onto Donald Glover, who played the young version of the dashing gambler in this year’s Han Solo-centric prequel, Solo: A Star Wars Story. But now Williams will don Lando’s fabulous cape again to reprise the role in Episode 9.

Hopefully the final movie in the Skywalker Saga will answer the burning questions of where Lando has been and why we haven’t we seen him following Han’s death in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But most importantly: will he finally be reunited with his beloved L3-37, who presumably (and horrifically) still remains hidden in the Millennium Falcon’s navigation system? We’ll have to wait until the release of the still-untitled Star Wars: Episode 9, which is set to fly into theaters on December 20, 2019.

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