Billy Dee Williams wants big bucks for ‘Star Wars’ return as Lando; talks Donald Glover

Billy Dee Williams, the iconic actor who brought the suave and charismatic Lando Calrissian to life in the Star Wars universe, has expressed his willingness to revisit the role if the offer is financially enticing. In a recent interview with Radio Times magazine, Williams humorously quipped, “Pay me a lot of money, and I’ll sell my soul,” highlighting the significant importance of compensation in his decision to reprise the character.

Having first portrayed Lando in the 1980 classic “The Empire Strikes Back” and subsequently in “Return of the Jedi” (1983) and “The Rise of Skywalker” (2019), Williams holds a special bond with the character that has resonated with fans for decades. Reflecting on his tenure as Lando, Williams acknowledges the passing of the torch to a new generation, particularly with Donald Glover stepping into the role in the prequel “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

Speaking highly of Glover’s portrayal, Williams commends the young actor’s talent and creativity, recognizing the need for fresh perspectives in evolving such an iconic character. He states, “He’s part of a whole new generation. He’ll create whatever he needs to create, to bring appeal to the character. He’s a very talented young lad and very imaginative.” Williams gracefully acknowledges that Glover now carries the responsibility of defining Lando’s journey for the 21st century, contrasting it with his own contributions in the 20th century.

While Glover and Lucasfilm had initially explored the possibility of a Disney+ series centered around Lando, recent developments have seen a shift towards a feature film format. Williams reveals that he had the pleasure of meeting Glover and imparting some wisdom about embodying the essence of Lando. Recalling their encounter, he fondly recounts, “I had a nice little lunch with him. He’s a delightful young man. Extremely talented. But I don’t see him… I mean, when it comes to Lando Calrissian there’s only one Lando Calrissian. I created that character.”

Williams’s advice to Glover is succinct yet profound: “I told him to be charming – two words! That’s all I needed to tell him. That’s all I could think of.” Glover himself has shared insights into their interaction, acknowledging Williams’s guidance on capturing Lando’s intrinsic charm. In an interview with GQ, Glover reminisced about Williams imparting the “secret” of playing Lando, emphasizing the character’s charm as a defining trait.

Reflecting on Lando’s allure, Glover muses, “He’s kind of a maverick, which I don’t think there’s a lot of anymore. It’s hard to be a smooth talker nowadays ’cause, where’s the line? But I think that’s also where the danger is. It’s like, how close can you get without tripping over it?” Glover’s contemplation highlights the delicate balance required to portray Lando’s magnetic personality while navigating contemporary sensibilities.

In essence, Williams and Glover’s exchange underscores the timeless appeal of Lando Calrissian and the collaborative effort to ensure his legacy endures across generations, with each actor bringing their unique interpretation to the beloved character.

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