By Zach Johnson
Everything you’ve heard about Lando Calrissian is true—just ask Billy Dee Williams, who reprises his role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The final episode of the seminal Skywalker Saga marks his first onscreen appearance as the character since 1983’s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. According to Williams, it was “a lot of fun” to pilot the Millennium Falcon once again. “I was really looking forward to it. I had a good time.”
Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, released in 2015, saw the return of fan-favorite characters like Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Leia Organa (Disney Legend Carrie Fisher), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew and Joonas Suotamo) and—eventually—Luke Skywalker (Disney Legend Mark Hamill). For The Rise of Skywalker, Abrams couldn’t resist the charm of another charismatic character: Lando. “Working with JJ was really an extraordinary experience,” Williams says. “He’s a lot of fun, and he makes everything really very interesting. I had a lot of fun doing this movie.”
In the highly anticipated film, Lando shares scenes with newer characters, including Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). “They were great,” Williams says. “They’re great people and great actors.” To preserve the mystery surrounding the film, Williams is keeping things close to the vest. “I’m going to surprise the fans,” he says. “I’m not going to divulge anything—and if I do, I’ll get hit by lightning!”
Suotamo, who inherited his role from the late Mayhew, was slightly more forthcoming. Still, the actor was careful not to share any spoilers. “The only definitive thing I can say is fans will be excited, because it’s such a multifaceted story. Everything is coming together,” he teases. “The most important thing is that the gang is back together now; Chewie is there and everyone else is there, too. We’re going on a new adventure. We don’t know how this is going to turn out, but it’s going to be exciting for the whole ride.”
Being part of the Star Wars universe is a proof that “dreams can come true,” Suotamo adds. “You never know what life is going to offer to you. The Star Wars family is the best family in the world. We’re grateful to tell these stories and to have genius minds coming up with great turns of events for our characters. It’s exciting to be a part of that.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in U.S. theaters today.