If you’re a Star Wars character from the original trilogy, and you’re not making an appearance in The Force Awakens next December, don’t worry, Star Wars Rebels has your back. They’ve already brought in beloved characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Master Yoda, and even Darth Vader, and now they’re bringing back another fan favorite, Lando Calrissian, as voiced Bill Dee Williams himself. This new video hypes up his return, with Williams running lines, bringing his trademark smoothness to the voice role, and the cast and crew talking about how the character fits into the Rebels world.
We heard Lando was coming back, and even saw an image of how his character looks, but here you get actual footage. While I’m still not crazy about the animation style, they certainly capture the essence of the character. Lando has more swagger than anyone in the Star Wars universe, including Han, and that comes across here. And Williams may be 77-years-old, but he’s just as smooth as ever, bringing his charm and flair to the role one more time.
This is going to be extra fun, because Rebels is set before A New Hope and that means we get to see young Lando. This is the carefree up-and-comer that Han knew from his smuggling days, not the respectable Rebel officer he becomes in Return of the Jedi. Hell, this isn’t even Lando from The Empire Strikes Back, when he had an entire city depending on him, this is Lando at his wildest and least responsible.
In this episode, titled “Idiot’s Array,” Zeb, the big, muscle-bound tough guy from the core crew reportedly gets into an ill-advised game of Sabacc with a mysterious gambler (guess who?), and loses their astromech droid Chopper. From there the heroes get in hot water with a group of gangsters and the adventure really kicks into high gear.
A lot of fans have been vocal in their disappointment over Lando not appearing in the movies, and while it’s not quite the same thing, this looks like it’s going to be damn fine time. While it’s nice that Rebels is committed to remaining connected to what already exists in the Star Wars universe by bringing in all these familiar characters, it’s even better that they almost always get the original actor to reprise their roles. As far as I know, the only exception is Obi-Wan, but it was huge for both Darth Vader and Yoda, as their voices are big parts of the characters, and the same can be said about Lando. There is no Lando Calrissian, live action or animated, without Billy Dee Williams.
“Idiot’s Array” airs on Disney XD next Monday, January 19, but is already available to those of you using the XD app.