Star Wars Status: Billy Dee Williams Returns and Keri Russell Joins the Fight in Episode IX

Die-hard Star Wars fans have been clamoring for the return of Billy Dee Williams to the role of the smooth-talking gambler and scoundrel Lando Calrissian ever since it was announced that Disney would be continuing the Saga with original cast members, but to no avail. At least, not until now.

Whether because of the character’s recent exposure in Solo: A Star Wars Story, where he was portrayed as a young man by Donald Glover, or because of the untimely death of Carrie Fisher, which necessitated changes to the plot of Episode IX, Lucasfilm has confirmed to THR that Williams will be reprising the role in the last movie in the new trilogy, a role he last played in 1983’s Return of the Jedi.

The as-yet-untitled movie was written by and will be directed by J.J. Abrams, who relaunched the series as the director of The Force Awakens. Abrams may also be bringing his Felicity star into the fray. According to Variety, Keri Russell is at the top of the list of actresses to take on an all-new role requiring “action-heavy fight scenes,” though it is not known if the role will be with the Resistance or the First Order.

Star Wars: Episode IX is slated to open in theaters on December 20, 2019.

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