Billy Dee Williams is returning for the upcoming Star Wars Episode IX. Personally, as a fan of the character that Williams originated in the original trilogy and Donald Glover’s portrayal of Lando Calrissian in this year’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, I find myself interested in how Lando will return and what his role will be in Episode IX.
Lando Calrissian has always been an interesting character. He has been portrayed as a rogue and scoundrel, but also as a business man and a community leader. His administration over the mining colony on Bespin spoke to his ability to manage an entire colony under the radar of the Empire. It’s that aspect that makes me think there is a way for him to appear in Episode IX that makes sense.
Lando first appeared on screen in The Empire Strikes Back and his presence was in response to Han Solo, Leia and Chewbacca having to flee from their base on Hoth and more specifically, the Millennium Falcon’s busted hyperdrive. Lando was the closest option, not the first. Had the hyperdrive been working, the Falcon would have jumped into light speed with the rest of the fleet and been on their way. Lando was convenient, but not a priority. A sentiment that was shared by both the rebellion and the empire for the most part. In fact, it took Boba Fett tracking the Falcon itself to even put Lando and Bespin on the Empire’s radar.
Narratively this might be difficult, but I think the best thing that Lando could do in Episode IX is essentially what he was supposed to be in Empire Strikes Back before the Empire got to him first, a safe haven. With the rebel fleet destroyed and the remaining Resistance fighters on the run from the First Order, Lando Calrissian could be the scoundrel they need. He should essentially be doing what he was on Bespin but on a smaller scale and in a more remote and secretive location. Have him be the administrator of a mining colony or something equally necessary but mundane. A position that keeps him off everyone’s radar and allows him to thrive.
When the Resistance needs somewhere to hide, Lando could provide it. Have him learn from his mistakes on Bespin and even grow more powerful as an underground leader providing ships and arms to the Resistance in his role. The central conflict to his character could be that he’s doing the right thing under the radar, but being asked to take a more active role in the Resistance could put the people he protects at risk. This conflict could play a pivotal role in the overall plot.
The worst thing that Abrams and company could do would be to keep Lando the same. At this point, he should have matured and changed with the universe around him. Lando was also smart enough to know how to play all the angles and his skills should have matured as well. Use his charm and intelligence as an asset in the film and it could solidify the character’s place as an essential part of the Star Wars universe and cement his legacy. Something a character like Lando would absolutely love. That being said, I can’t wait to see Billy Dee Williams return as Lando.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.