Billy Dee Williams to Return as Lando Calrissian in ‘Star Wars Episode IX’

The actor, who is best known for playing the galactic gambler in the ‘Star Wars’ film franchise, will reprise the role for the next installment.

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Billy Dee Williams is back to a galaxy far, far away, more than three decades since he first joined the “Star Wars” film franchise. The actor is set to reprise his role as Lando Calrissian in “Star Wars Episode IX“, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

The news confirms the long-gestating rumors about Williams’ return. The speculation increased in recent days following the actor’s departure from an an upcoming sci-fi and pop culture convention citing a conflict with a movie schedule.

Williams first portrayed Lando Calrissian in 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back”, the second installment in the franchise created by George Lucas. He reprised the role in 1983’s “Return of the Jedi”. While he has not been seen in another “Star Wars” feature film since then, he voiced the character on various cartoon series and video games in recent years.

A young version of Lando recently appeared in a “Star Wars” spin-off, “Solo: A Star Wars Story“, with Donald Glover taking on the role. The movie, which was released in May this year, explores the early adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca, as the pair are involved in a heist within the criminal underworld and meet Lando Calrissian for the first time.

“Star Wars Episode IX” is set to kick off production later this summer. J.J. Abrams is back behind the lens after directing 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens“, but only serving as executive producer for the 2017 sequel, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi“.

Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver will reprise their respective roles, while Keri Russell was recently added to the cast. Details of her role are not revealed yet, but she will reportedly perform “action-heavy fight scenes.”

Abrams is also writing the script with Chris Terrio and Jack Thorne. The movie is scheduled to arrive on December 20, 2019 in the United States.

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