So far this week we’ve learned that Star Wars: Episode VII has actually started filming, that the cast is mostly in place, and though we don’t know who a majority of the actors are, we learned that Peter Mayhew, better known as Chewbacca, will be along for the ride. While that’s great, knowing that we’ll get to spend some quality time with one of our old favorites, don’t expect to see everyone we know and love. Reports are circulating that Lando Calrissian, played with an unbelievable amount of space swagger by Billy Dee Williams, will not return to that far away galaxy.
The 77-year-old former spokesman for Colt Malt Liquor has been taking turns around the dance floor on ABC’s hit competition show Dancing With the Stars—he recently pulled out due to a chronic back problem—and when TMZ caught up with him, they naturally broached the subject of Episode VII. Williams’ response to these inquiries was a simple, “I think a lot of people would love to see Lando come back.” We would, Billy Dee, we would. And if you watched him dance, you noticed that, while he may not be as mobile as he once was, he’s still in pretty good shape and still has some moves, and more charm and charisma than you know what to do with.
Elsewhere in this very same interview, however, the leader of Cloud City said that no one from Disney or Lucasfilm has contacted him about reprising his role as the iconic space rogue. Until the cameraman informed him, he didn’t even know that filming was underway, and said, “I have no idea what they’re planning.” He did admit that he would gladly reprise his most famous character if only someone asks—please god, someone ask.
Some people might be pissed off about being left out of such and endeavor, but Williams was pleasant and diplomatic, adding that he has “Nothing to be bitter about.”
Though this makes it sound like there’s little to no chance that we’ll see Lando in Episode VII, I’m still going to hold out hope. First, this guy basically mugged him in a grocery store parking lot, which isn’t a place where you’re likely to get the most accurate Hollywood casting information. And with all of the secrecy surrounding the film, it’s unlikely Williams, or anyone else for that matter, would give such a scoop to some rando cameraman. But the guy does take Williams’ shopping cart for him, which is nice; much better than all the yahoos screaming at Brittney Spears. Also, Disney head Alan Horn did say that the cast is mostly put together, which implies that there are still open slots. Perhaps one of those is Billy Dee Williams-sized.
In reality, this is likely all just wishful thinking on my part. While Lando is a great character, he’s less vital to the overall story than Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo. If he were going to be involved, even for a cameo-I’d be satisfied if he popped in to borrow a cup of sugar from the Skywalkers-he’d probably have heard by now. Odds are that, even after going relatively straight, Lando would find himself in some sticky situations. My bet is that he caught a stray blaster round trying to break up a fight over a game of cards.