Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker finally hit theaters last night, and featured multiple beloved characters from the franchise's original trilogy. One big name to make his first appearance in the new films is Billy Dee Williams, the actor best known for playing Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. The last time Williams played Lando on the big screen was back in 1983, so his return has been one of the most anticipated things about the new film. Recently, Williams spoke with GQ about his return and shared details of his first meeting with the movie's director, J.J. Abrams.
"J.J. called me and I went down to his office. We were going to meet at my house, but I decided that I wanted to go and meet him at his office. And so we just sat and talked, and he told me that he wanted me to participate in this third trilogy," Williams shared. "And I just chuckled and said, 'Sure. Of course.' Certainly [I wanted] an opportunity to work with J.J. because he is a sensational human being. He’s great to work with when he’s out there. His brain just continues. Never stops. And so you never have an opportunity to really slow down. You just keep building the momentum."
Williams also revealed that he was first approached about the movie two years ago and shared what it was like to step back into the iconic role.
"In the beginning, I had a two-picture deal. That’s all I knew. And then I moved on to something else. But there are things about the character [in Rise of Skywalker] I think that you probably didn’t see in the earlier stuff. I think you’ll see a little bit more depth," he explained.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars a returning Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, and Greg Grunberg. New cast members include Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, and Dominic Monaghan, and the returning veteran actors are Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, and Ian McDiarmid as the Emperor. According to Abrams, Leia is featured in the film using unreleased footage of Carrie Fisher from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now playing in theaters everywhere.