‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ has been out for an entire week and so, naturally, nearly everyone in the world has seen the film. With that being said, there are still tons of details that are being revealed regarding the film that make us really wonder what could have been. Director/writer Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper, The Last Jedi) recently revealed that he was close to bringing back Lando Calrissian for ‘The Last Jedi’. Billy Dee Williams last portrayed the character in the Original Trilogy and fans have been clamoring for his return ever since. When Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill were brought on board for ‘The Force Awakens’, many thought that Billy Dee Williams would surely be following suit. So why didn’t Johnson include everyone’s second-favorite smuggler in ‘The Last Jedi’?
Lando Calrissian is probably one of the most popular secondary characters in the entire Star Wars saga. As the former owner of the Millennium Falcon and one of the toughest Rebellion Generals in the SWU, he would have fit in amazingly as a grizzled veteran for the darker tone that ‘The Last Jedi’ managed to bring. Add in Fisher’s tragic departure and the loss of Han Solo as a character and there was plenty of room for a veteran actor such as Billy Dee Williams. In ‘The Last Jedi’ the Rebel Alliance is on the brink of destruction and the First Order is quickly taking control of the galaxy. Where would Lando be in all of this?
Rian Johnson spoke in an interview with Yahoo! Movies in regards to his decision to leave Lando out of the film. Johnson readily admits that he thought about it several times and tried to fit in the character but he just couldn’t come to an appropriate solution. Johnson says, “Believe me I thought about it. Believe me, I did and it just wouldn’t work. For reasons I can’t really talk about without getting into spoilers.”
Of course, Johnson may have been incapable of coming up with a way to fit Billy Dee into the series but that wasn’t the case with Luke Skywalker himself. Hamill also spoke to the press about the vanishing of Lando and his possible placement in ‘The Last Jedi’. Hamill said, “I think anyone who’s still around that had anything to do with the Original Trilogy deserves to come back in some way.”