Billy Dee Williams Says He’s The Only Lando Calrissian, Donald Glover Disney Star Wars Version Looking Second-Rate After That Shade

By Britta DeVore | Published

lando calrissian

In an industry overrun by remakes, reimaginings, reboots, sequels, and prequels, there are plenty of instances in which one or more different faces have played the same character. While technology has allowed the Star Wars franchise to essentially time travel their most notable actors, this wasn’t the case for the 2018 Han Solo origin film, Solo: A Star Wars Story. Along with Harrison Ford’s titular space cowboy being portrayed by Alden Ehrenreich, beloved character Lando Calrissian also saw Billy Dee Williams replaced by Donald Glover – a decision that Williams respects but ultimately rejects.

Williams Says He’s The Only Lando

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Though Billy Dee Williams already had a solid career before appearing as the suave Lando Calrissian in 1980’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, it was his role as Han Solo’s pal-turned-betrayer that would cement him as a favorite with the fandom. Nearly three decades later, when Community star Donald Glover bellied up to the role, Williams said that while Glover was “extremely talented,” he’ll never be the proper replacement for the original actor. “When it comes to Lando Calrissian there’s only one Lando Calrissian. I created that character,” Williams said in a delivery truly fit for the space smuggling aficionado. 

Williams Is The Perfect Lando Calrissian

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And, although his sentiments might sound a bit cocky, we can’t help but agree with Billy Lee Williams that when it comes to Lando Calrissian, there’s only one man for the job. From the moment Lando walked through the doors, with both his cape and hair blowing in the breeze, rife with insults for Harrison Ford’s Han Solo, he stole the hearts of franchise fans everywhere. The character called for a lot of self-confidence and swag, and that’s precisely what Williams delivered.

There Can Be Only One

Of course, we’re in no way saying that Donald Glover doesn’t have those key factors that made Lando Calrissian such an iconic character. The actor is one of the biggest stars of our generation, not only with an ability to cross genres but also straddle massive success both in film and music. But, at the end of the day, there’s only one Lando Calrissian and those bragging rights easily fall onto Williams.

Williams Sees The Reality Of Things

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While he may be a bit miffed that Lucasfilm and Disney didn’t bother to de-age him as they have for other legacy characters like Mark Hamill, Williams understands that Glover is the next man to carry Lando Calrissian into the future, saying, “I took care of the 20th century, now he’s got to take care of the 21st.” As far as living up to the advice that the Lando who came before him dropped before Glover smoothly talked his way through Solo: A Star Wars Story, we’d say that the younger actor certainly nailed the task at hand when Williams told him to “Be charming.”

Although Williams doesn’t think that there’s another person alive who can play Lando Calrissian the way that he nailed the character, he also recognizes that Glover brings something different to the table and can live with the idea of his portrayal being something completely separate. “He’ll create whatever he needs to create,” Williams said about how Glover will manage to move forward with future appearances, something that’s already in the works.

Lando’s Return

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Billy Dee Williams was given the opportunity to reprise his beloved character in the divisive 2019 sequel trilogy capper, The Rise of Skywalker, but with no projects officially in the works that would call for Williams to toss on Lando Calrissian’s cape, it seems Glover is the studio’s go-to man. The Atlanta alum is currently working alongside his brother, Stephen Glover, on a standalone movie that would tell more of Lando’s story with all the heartache and betrayal that comes along with it. The project was initially a TV series but, after a slowdown due to last year’s writers’ strike, the original idea was scrapped and morphed into a film. 

No More Lando For The Real Lando

As for Billy Dee Williams’ future with Star Wars or otherwise, his reprisal of Lando Calrissian in The Rise of Skywalker was the last time the actor appeared in a feature-length film, having otherwise leaned into documentaries and voice roles in shorter animated projects. Even after all these years, Williams sticks by Lando’s dodgy decision to betray his bestie, Han Solo, a cause he continues to champion whenever brought up by fans – something that sounds like an almost daily occurrence.

As of right now, no further details surrounding the Glover brothers’ Lando Calrissian production have been revealed but stay tuned for more information as it rolls in.

Source: Radio Times

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