There has been much talk of a return to the “Star Wars” universe of fan favorite, Lando Calrissian (played by Billy Dee Williams), since it was announced (in 2012) that a new trilogy of “Star Wars” films (episodes 7, 8, and 9) were in the works.
Some hoped that the character would appear in the next film in the series, Episode 7, alongside old favorites like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia, but that was all before we had any idea of what the first film in the new trilogy would be about (Calrissian will not be appearing in episode 7 – “The Force Awakens” – which will be out this Christmas).
But he just might show up in one of the next 2 films – episodes 8 and 9 – given what producer Lawrence Kasdan said in a Vanity Fair profile published just yesterday.
“Lando, I don’t think, is finished in any way, shape, or form,” he said, although emphasizing that, whenever he does return, it won’t be with episode 7 (it’s worth noting that Kasdan co-wrote the “Star Wars” film that introduced Billy Dee Williams as Calrissian – 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back”).
And when this return happens, will Billy Dee Williams reprise the role? I suppose it depends on what version of the character is re-introduced – a much older Calrissian, or a younger version? Obviously the story will be of influence. Williams will be 80 by the time the next “Star Wars” film (Episode 8), hits cinemas in 2017.
But he has been involved in “Star Wars” properties, most recently doing voice work for a recent episode of the “Star Wars Rebels” animated series as Calrissian. And in 2013, Williams said he had been approached about returning, adding that he wasn’t certain if he would (he also didn’t say in what capacity he was asked to return).
Also worth noting, Disney CEO Bob Iger did say that, in addition to the 3 upcoming movies, there will be spin-off films centered on other “Star Wars” characters, which will be released between the releases of the already announced 3 new “Stars Wars” movies, and that Larry Kasdan and Simon Kinberg were already developing (this was also reported in 2013). And finally, later that year, ABC television executives (Disney owns ABC) were said to be planning TV shows based on characters from the “Star Wars” universe, but word yet on what characters Disney/ABC might be considering here.
All that to say, a return of Calrissian could take any number of forms – whether appearing in one of the next 2 “Star Wars” movies, or in a spin-off movie of his own, or headlining his own TV series on ABC, very likely played by a younger actor stepping in to portray Calrissian in a project that gives audiences the character’s back story. An announcement of a stand-alone movie or TV series will be perfectly timed with the recent revelation by Marvel and Lucasfilm that Lando Calrissian will star in his own limited graphic novel series. To be titled “Lando #1,” from creators Charles Soule and Alex Maleev, it will hit stores in July, and will find Lando embarking on his “greatest caper ever,” said the press release.
In it, fans will learn about the character in the days before he became a hero, as he looks to steal one of the galaxy’s most valuable ships. But, as usual, he may be in over his head.
“Before Cloud City, before his glorious Death Star run,” added Soule, “Lando Calrissian was just a man trying to make his way through an uncaring universe determined not to recognize that he was undeniably the coolest man in the galaxy. But Lando’s got a plan to change all that… and it starts with the deal of a lifetime.”
An obvious question I had at the time of the new graphic novel announcement was whether this new attention being given to Lando will eventually lead to a big screen adaptation of the character’s story, or even a TV series. And with Kasdan’s comments to Vanity Fair this week, it’s starting to look more and more like one of those is a possibility.
Who would you cast to play a younger Lando if the character does get a spin-off movie, or a TV series?