One of the biggest questions many Star Wars fans have had with the first two movies in the sequel trilogy has been the whereabouts of Lando Calrissian. As far as we know, he’s still alive and out there somewhere. So what gives? Why wouldn’t he be fighting right alongside Leia and the Resistance? It seems as though we may get our answer in Episode IX.
According to the credible Star Wars rumor site Fantha Tracks, Billy Dee Williams is set to make his grand return to the franchise as Lando. This comes on the heels or a recent revelation that the 81-year-old Williams has been working out three times a week and on a new, stricter diet. That’s similar to what actress Carrie Fisher did ahead of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Just knowing that Williams had taken a sudden interest in his physical conditioning was enough to stoke the rumor fire, and apparently, J.J. Abrams has written the fan-favorite back into the saga. But if this rumor ends up being true, is it a good thing? They might be better off simply leaving Lando out of the story, at this point.
It’s hard to ignore that putting Lando back into the spotlight without Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, or Leia Organa is somewhat hollow. What relevance could Calrissian possibly have to the new cast, minus his ties to Chewbacca and the Millennium Falcon? If he now suddenly pops up in the story, where was he during the first two installments?
And with so many fans already upset that the first two movies have killed off Han and Luke (while Fisher tragically died before the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi), you can understand why some may actually be hesitant to get excited about Lando returning. Essentially, if you’re going to bring him back just to kill him off, please just don’t do it at all.
Solo: A Star Wars Story recently brought the character back into the spotlight, thanks to Donald Glover’s outstanding portrayal of a young Lando. Glover’s tone and mannerisms were spot on, giving us a fun look at what the character was like when he and Han first crossed paths. So much is unknown about Lando’s early years, in addition to what he did after the fall of the Empire. There is plenty of room for further exploration.
We may someday get that deeper dive in the form of a future movie. Think, Lando: A Star Wars Story. Or it could come as a part in a sequel to Solo. A lot of movies are currently on Lucasfilm’s docket, but they haven’t announced anything beyond Episode IX. Anything is possible.
To that end, Lucasfilm executive Kathleen Kennedy recently talked about the possibility of a Lando movie, and initially it even sounded like it was a sure bet. However, later clarifications of her comments made it clear that no such film is currently in the works.
But getting back to Williams and Episode IX, the idea feels like shoehorning him into the plot to fill the major hole left by the absence of Han, Luke, and Leia. If Lando were still alive at the time of the sequel trilogy, involving him in The Last Jedi would’ve made more sense. Toward the end of the movie, Leia sends out her own personal code in a call to the galaxy for help from any allies remaining. Are we to believe that Calrissian wouldn’t come running to her aid?
It feels like Lucasfilm’s goal from the beginning with the sequel trilogy has been to move the original cast to the side and make way for the new characters. How that has been handled is up for debate, with some maintaining that Luke’s death was completely avoidable. If they’ve been trying to set up an Episode IX that features Rey, Kylo Ren, Poe Dameron, Finn, Rose, and the rest of the new cast, why stop to bring in Lando now?
As cool as it would be to have the original owner of the Millennium Falcon back on screen, Lando’s return has a really high bust-potential. At this point, they’d probably be better off spending as much screen time as possible developing these new characters. One of the biggest criticisms of the new Star Wars movies are that they’ve been starved for character development. Focus on these characters bringing us an excellent resolution to the new trilogy, and just leave it there.
But if you must bring Lando back, just don’t kill him off. Nobody benefits from that.
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