Lando Calrissian Actor Billy Dee Williams Says J.J. Abrams Has This In Common with ‘Star Wars’ Creator George Lucas

Star Wars fans are excited to see Billy Dee Williams back as Lando Calrissian. The Empire Strikes Back introduced Lando as Han Solo (Harrison Ford)‘s old buddy in Cloud City. He sold them out to Darth Vader but ultimately joined them in the Rebellion. Fans got to see Donald Glover as a young Lando in the prequel Solo: A Star Wars Story. J.J. Abrams assembled the original trio for The Force Awakens, but not Lando Calrissian. He wasn’t in The Last Jedi either.

Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian
Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) | Disney/Lucasfilm

Finally, Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) visit Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Williams was at the press conference for the film on December 4. Having worked with George Lucas as the producer of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Williams noticed something familiar about Abrams. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.

Billy Dee Williams first met J.J. Abrams on television

Billy Dee Williams first met J.J. Abrams when he appeared on the Lost season 3 episode “Expose.” You might not remember it. That was a Nikki and Paolo one.

“Actually we worked together,” Williams said. “He was doing Lost. I played myself playing a killer which I thought was a very interesting idea. I thought this guy is really crazy. Fabulously crazy.”

Billy Dee Williams never expected to play Lando Calrissian again but he was glad to

After Return of the Jedi, Billy Dee Williams thought that could be it for Lando Calrissian. He’d helped Luke (Mark Hamill), Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo defeat the Empire. They were already making new movies with the new cast, so Williams was at peace.

“Anyway, this has been a great pleasure for me coming back and do Lando,” Williams said. “I didn’t think that it would happen. I just wrote it off and I said, ‘Well, I did what I had to do and that was it.’”

Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca
Joonas Suotamo is Chewbacca and Billy Dee Williams is Lando Calrissian | Disney/Lucasfilm

The trailers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker already show Lando Calrissian flying the Millennium Falcon again. Williams was just as excited to suit up again.

“When I got the call from J.J. I just say there and I just chuckled because I thought it was just a wonderful gift,” Williams continued. “So I’m a very, very happy human being right now. Thank you very much.”

This reminded him of George Lucas

When Billy Dee Williams was in The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas was the young maverick who’d just created a new blockbuster franchise a few years before. J.J. Abrams has been building his empire for quite a bit longer by this point, but Williams recognized that George Lucas spark in him.

Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian
Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker | Disney/Lucasfilm

“The whole idea for me was I have a lot of admiration for this young man called J.J. Abrams,” Williams said. “It was very much like when I worked with George. That was an opportunity to learn from somebody who’s really extraordinary and here again I had an opportunity to work with somebody who’s really extraordinary.”