Billy Dee Williams is nothing short of stoked to be back in the saddle as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The Star Wars legend is getting used to life with the Millenium Falcon again in a new short released ahead of the movie on YouTube. Funko pops stand-in for the actors as Rey enlists Lando's help in getting that bird off the ground, and chaos ensues.
The Falcon has seen a lot of action over the course of its existence and the animators of this short are well aware of that fact. Rey and her friends are scrambling around the ship trying to literally hold it together in an effort to launch. BB-8 and D-0 are frantically rolling around to do their parts as well. Parts of the Falcon are falling down, and the friends finally get the craft in shape to begin their journey before a screen prompts viewers to check out The Rise of Skywalker later this year.
Watching a plastic version of Billy Dee Williams ascend that ramp does feel kind of nice. This trilogy has had doses of nostalgia to spare for longtime fans, and this installment looks like it will lean into those memories again. Williams has intermittently been the cape-wearing scoundrel since 1980's The Empire Strikes Back. He reprised the role for Return of the Jedi three years later and has even lent his voice to animated series and some video game projects.
Lando is reported to have a role similar to Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o) in The Force Awakens. He'll be a sort of guide for the young heroes as Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) look for the magical item they need to lead the Resistance to victory this time. In some footage from the film, Williams looks like he's having the time of his life back in the Star Wars universe.
The Rise of Skywalker presents Lando's debut in the Sequel Trilogy after being a no-show in the first two films. This film is going to be directed and written by J.J. Abrams after the creative team just couldn't figure out how to make room for the series veteran in The Last Jedi. That iteration's director Rian Johnson is quoted as saying that there "just wasn't space" for the smooth-talker.
Johnson actually explained to The Playlist that he “briefly considered” having Lando fill the role eventually played by Benicio del Toro. That shady figure profited from both sides of the conflict between the Resistance and the First Order.0comments
“I don’t think you would ever buy that Lando would just completely betray the characters like that and have that level of moral ambiguity,” Johnson said.
“Because we love Lando and you’d come into it with that [expectation]. And also, DJ, the character that they met, for the purposes of Finn’s character, had to be a morally ambiguous character that you’re not sure about, that you’re guessing about, and we already know that we love the character of Lando so it just wouldn’t have played in that part story-wise.”