A certain scoundrel friend of Han Solo’s won’t be making an appearance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Despite some speculation and a lot of hope on the part of Star Wars fans, director Rian Johnson has confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that Billy Dee Williams will not be reprising his role as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
“No, and I don’t want fans to get their hopes up,” Johnson says. “He’s not in the film and it was never really something that came up. I mean, I loved that character. It would have been fun to see him, but it’s just not something that ever really had a place in the story.”
Lando first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back, when he was in charge of running Cloud City and forced to make a deal with Darth Vader and the Empire. With so many themes and situations from The Empire Strikes Back being revisited or inverted in The Last Jedi, some fans thought it would make sense for Lando to appear in the film as well, perhaps found in the casino city of Canto Blight, which seems like the kind of place that Lando would hang out in his later years.
Williams’ manager, Brad Kramer, made a statement on behalf of the 80-year-old actor.
“Billy respects the studio and all involved in the decision but would be happy to be in any future Star Wars film if asked,” Kramer told EW.
Williams has provided to voice for Lando in the animated series Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD. A younger version of the character will appear in next year’s standalone Han Solo film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, played by Donald Glover.
There’s always the potential that Williams, or even Harrison Ford, could make a small appearance in Solo, perhaps through the use of a framing device. If not, there’s still hope that fan will see Lando in Star Wars: Episode IX.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theaters on December 15, 2017. It will be followed by Star Wars: Episode IX on December 20, 2019. The next standalone film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, will release on May 25, 2018.