Several actors have returned to the Star Wars universe after assuming their time in the franchise was over. The Force Awakens saw the return of Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. In the last installment of the nine-movie saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will bring back Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, something the actor says he never saw coming. The character of Lando debuted in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and returned in Episode VI – Return of the Jedi in 1983. That puts 36 years in between Star Wars appearances for Williams, which may be why he thought he’d never come back.
The 82-year-old recently caught up with Variety to discuss his part in the upcoming film and what it was like to put on that blue and yellow outfit one more time.
“I’m older now, so for me, it’s more a source of amusement than anything else. I never expected to really be back in that costume or in the movie, so I still kind of chuckle about the whole thing. I knew people were clamoring for Lando to come back, but I didn’t feel like that would happen. It’s a nice feeling to be welcomed back.”
After Ford, Fisher, and Hamill all returned in Disney‘s The Force Awakens, the campaign to bring back Williams gained a lot of steam and fans began to push for a Lando return. The character did make a comeback in Solo: A Star Wars Movie in 2018, but Lando was a much younger man and was portrayed by Donald Glover. For now, the capacity in which Lando will return in The Rise of Skywalker remains to be seen.
He may not have appeared on screen in Star Wars flick in the last three decades, but Williams has been doing plenty of work in the movie’s universe in the meantime. Williams has done tons of voiceover work for Star Wars video games and voiced Lando for shows like The Cleveland Show and Lego Star Wars productions.
Williams was also in the news recently when he shared that he uses both gender pronouns to describe himself.
“And you see I say ‘himself’ and ‘herself,’ because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine. I’m a very soft person. I’m not afraid to show that side of myself,” the actor admitted when speaking with Esquire.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20.