Billy Dee Williams

Star Wars – The End of an Era

With the release of the Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker this month, we talk all things about that “galaxy far, far away” to four of the actors helping the Resistance take on The First Order in the third chapter of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and the final episode of the nine-part Skywalker saga. May The Force be with you…

Ever since The Force Awakens was announced, everyone wondered if your character would return. Did you have any reservations about coming back?
I had no reservations – none whatsoever. I often wondered if I would return as Lando, and I was beginning to feel like sort of an abandoned child for a moment there. So I was very happy about being asked. It’s been great. We had a very nice time working together. It was like a family reunion, so to speak. It’s always been a really wonderful experience working with all of those people.

Was something like Star Wars on your radar in the 1970s at all?
No, I was surprised but I was looking forward to working with George Lucas. At that time there were all of these new, young, extraordinary filmmakers, and the cinema was taking a kind of turn at that point. You had Spielberg, you had Coppola, you had George, you had Scorsese. So I was looking forward to working with one of those guys, and I got really lucky and had the opportunity to work with George. He’s one of the great innovators. A lot of the technology that we have today in film was due to George and his ideas.

Lando is widely regarded as the best dressed character in the Star Wars galaxy, probably beyond. Do you agree with this statement?
Lando’s got style. There’s no question about it. The cape is very much a part of the whole Lando persona. The first time I wore it, I made it very clear that the cape was very much a part of who Lando is.

Did you have any time for nostalgia when you were in the Millennium Falcon cockpit again?
I was just in the moment. And it’s a heroic moment, which I was very happy about. I think it’s going to be pretty exciting when you see it. I just really enjoyed myself. It was one of the best experiences in the 60 years that I’ve had in this industry.

Do you think including Carrie Fisher’s real performance in this movie is significant?
I think it’s a great idea. So many people love those particular characters, me included. So I think having Carrie in it is going to be very big for a lot of the fans. I think they’re looking forward to it.

What was it like to work with her back in the day?
We were pretty good buddies. She was an extraordinarily bright individual. I always liked Carrie. We always laughed, and I had fun with her. Lovely person. Brilliant person.

Why do you think Star Wars appeals to the younger generation?
In Star Wars we’re talking about the dark side and the light side. We’re talking about good and evil, which is what most of us are concerned with in our lives. I think that’s the basis of the interest but the characters represent something about each one of us. The heroics, the dilemmas, trying to fight for something, touch on issues and concerns or events that many of us find ourselves in. There’s a lot of fantasy about it, but there’s a lot of reality to it. Star Wars is forever.

ALL IMAGES (c) 2019 and TM Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved

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