Billy Dee Williams had some doubts before he decided to sign on for The Rise of Skywalker. The Lando Calrissian actor is now 82-years old and feels he has a reputation to uphold when hopping back on with the Star Wars franchise. Ultimately, Williams decided to do it and started training sessions to get back into Lando shape, which is the same thing that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher did for The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. Williams was last seen on the big screen as the character in 1983’s Return of the Jedi.
Billy Dee Williams wasn’t sure if he was in the right time in his life to bring back the smooth-talking Lando Calrissian. Williams is still the charming man he has been throughout his life, he’s just a bit older, which had him thinking about life. In the end, he stepped up and brought Lando to life once more. He had this to say about his reservations.
“Do I have that same hunger, excitement, that I had years earlier? This is a very difficult time for me, as far as age is concerned. When you get to be a certain age, whether you want to think about mortality or not, you think about it… When I have to go to work, my ego tells me I want to look pretty good. I don’t want to look bad. I don’t want to look like a slob.”
When thinking about where Lando Calrissian would be between Return of the Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, Billy Dee Williams had a different vision for the iconic character than how he ended up in The Rise of Skywalker. And who would know Lando better than the man who made the character who he is. Williams may not have written the dialogue, but he brought the attitude and swagger, which is very much what Lando is known for today. Williams explains.
“I always imagined Lando being like Steve Wynn, running Las Vegas. Because he’s a gambler. But he was a bit of a showman, a bit of an entrepreneur. That’s how I see Lando. I never necessarily saw him as a general running around shooting things.”
As for whether or not we’ll see Lando Calrissian in a future Star Wars project, that remains to be a mystery. Billy Dee Williams has his own humorous thoughts on the matter. When asked if it’s the end of the line for Lando, Williams says, “It’s a conclusion-certainly it depends on how much money is generated.” Williams continues, “That’s when they determine where’s the conclusion. The one thing about show business, you can resurrect anything.”
Donald Glover played the young version of Lando Calrissian in Solo and teased a bit of a different side of the character. As it turns out, Glover’s approach to Lando seemed to fit right in with who Billy Dee Williams is as a person. The actor recently revealed that he identifies as both masculine and feminine. “I say ‘himself’ and ‘herself,’ because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine,” Williams says. “I’m a very soft person. I’m not afraid to show that side of myself.” Glover was more in tune with the real Lando than anyone knew at the time. The interview with Billy Dee Williams was originally conducted by Esquire.