Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has confirmed that a fan favorite character will be absent yet again in the new Star Wars sequel.
Speaking with EW, Johnson confirmed that Lando Calrissian will not be making an appearance.
“No, and I don’t want fans to get their hopes up,” Johnson said. “He’s not in the film and it was never really something that came up. I mean, I loved that character. It would have been fun to see him, but it’s just not something that ever really had a place in the story.”
Played by Billy Dee Williams in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, many were hoping that the actor would reprise his role in The Last Jedi after being absent from 2015’s The Force Awakens. After all, The Last Jedi will see certain characters visit the casino city of Canto Bight and that’s just the kind of place we’d expect to find an old scoundrel like Lando.
What makes this situation even more disappointing is that it sounds like Williams is still game to return if given the opportunity. The 80-year-old actor is still going strong and according to his manager, Brad Kramer, would still like to reprise his role as Lando at some point. “Billy respects the studio and all involved in the decision but would be happy to be in any future Star Wars film if asked,” Kramer told EW.
Fortunately, Star Wars fans won’t have to wait long to see Lando again, as Donald Glover is set to play a younger version of the character opposite Alden Ehrenreich’s Han Solo in next year’s standalone film Solo: A Star Wars Story. Still, we wouldn’t complain if J.J. Abrams can find a way to bring Williams back to play old Lando in 2019’s Episode IX!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15th.