Billy Dee Williams Will Return As Lando Calrissian in 'Star Wars: Episode IX,' Will He Fare Better Than Han Solo?

Billy Dee Williams will return as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: Episode IX. While the character has long been expected to return to the new Star Wars trilogy, it wasn't until the 81-year-old actor started gym training and canceled an appearance at the Saskatchewan Entertainment Expo that the rumors went into hyperdrive. Now, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed the casting.

Calrissian was introduced in The Empire Strikes Back as a rogue who found himself rich and powerful after winning Cloud City, a Tibanna gas mining colony, in a bet with its former administrator. Once a friend to the smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Calrissian betrays Solo and his friends to the Galactic Empire, until a crisis of conscience moves him to double-cross the Sith Lord Darth Vader, abandon Cloud City and join the Rebellion. He was instrumental in destroying the second Death Star and bringing an end to the Imperial Era.

Since appearing in two of the Star Wars Original Trilogy movies, Williams has returned to voice Calrissian in video games and cartoons, including The Lego Movie, Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: Battlefront.

Donald Glover recently played a younger version of the character in Solo: A Star Wars Story, portraying the adventures of the gambler and smuggler up to the loss of his ship, the Millennium Falcon, in a game of sabacc. Rebels and Star Wars comics have filled in other areas of Calrissian's background, including his attempts at mineral mining, arms dealing and spaceship theft, including a heist that captured Emperor Palpatine's luxury yacht.

Little is yet known about Calrissian's life after the events of Return of the Jedi, though he's seen in Star Wars: Battlefront II, set in the aftermath of the Battle of Endor, fighting remnants of the Imperial army and working to thwart Emperor Palpatine's posthumous plan to tear the Empire down around him, known as Operation: Cinder. What Calrissian has been up to in the 30 years since is unknown.

Will Lando be better off than the rest of the Star Wars Original Trilogy characters? So far, in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the fates of the Star Wars heroes haven't been very heartening. Luke Skywalker lives in self-imposed exile on a remote island after the destruction of his new Jedi Order. Chewbacca and Solo are still in debt to gangsters, at least until Solo is murdered by his own son, Kylo Ren. General Leia leads a dwindling Resistance against her estranged boy, now leader of the evil First Order. Perhaps there were some salad days in there, but for the most part the heroes who tore apart the Empire in the first three Star Wars movies have scraped by and suffered. But if anyone can thrive in the chaotic aftermath of the destruction of the New Republic's Galactic Senate by the First Order, it's Lando.