Whether you agree with the casting of his character Lando Calrissian in the new Han Solo movie, it's no doubt that Billy Dee Williams is a Star Wars legend and staple of '80s pop culture. When he debuted as the classic character in 1980, Williams was immediately embraced by the fandom. His suave charisma instantly charmed the audience , even faster than Han Solo did. He made such a good impression, it was difficult to believe that the character betrayed Han as the events unfolded in #Bespin.
- The Original Lando On How He Really Feels About Donald Glover's Casting In The New 'Star Wars' Han Solo Film
I was fortunate to spend a few minutes chatting with Williams about what he's been up to recently, his thoughts on #TheForceAwakens, and whether we'll get to see him in the saga's next installment. Special thanks to Altered Reality Entertainment and Rhode Island Comic Con for the fantastic opportunity.
Movie Pilot: Good afternoon, Mr. Billy Dee Williams. It’s an honor to be interviewing a legendary icon like yourself. How are you doing today?
Bill Dee Williams: I'm good. How are you?
MP: I'm fantastic. Anytime I get to interview someone like you is a great experience.
BDW: Well thank you, I appreciate that.
MP: Let me kick this off by asking your thoughts on The Force Awakens.
BDW: It was a good movie.
MP: Fans like myself went crazy for it.
BDW: I thought it was very good.
Did you think anything in the film could have been done better?
BDW: No, no, no. I thought it was very well done. It was very entertaining. Those actors and characters were very good.
MP: Who was your favorite new character?
BDW: No, I did not have a favorite character. They were all very good. [Daisy Ridley] was very wonderful.
MP: What did you think when you found out that Han Solo died at the hands of his son Kylo Ren?
BDW: I was surprised. It was both a very interesting surprise [and was] very dramatic.
MP: What do you think Lando was up to as the events in the last movie unfolded?
BDW: Probably running #CloudCity or something like it.
MP: It was kind of weird how Nien Nunb, your co-pilot in Return of the Jedi, appeared in the film, but Lando didn't.
BDW: Yeah, it's very interesting. Well, that's the way things go, I guess.
MP: It would have been really great to see you back on the big screen. Were you ever in talks to appear in the sequel trilogy?
MP: That's very unfortunate. Did you hear about the casting of the new, younger Lando?
BDW: Yes, I've been hearing about it. Yes. You know what? That's going to be a tough one.
MP: Have you been approached to consult for the new Han Solo prequel?
MP: What do you think about Donald Glover stepping into your shoes?
BDW: I don't really know him, or who he is. I've only been hearing about him. But ... I mean, that character, I created that character, so I don't know how ... what they're going to bring to it.
MP: What do you think the studio should do with that character in the film?
BDW: I have no idea.
MP: Since you have such a connection to Lando, how does it feel, knowing that another actor is portraying what was originally your role?
BDW: It's a really strange feeling.
MP: Do you have any advice for Glover as he enters the Star Wars universe for the first time?
BDW: No. I mean ... Listen. I brought so much to that character. And I don't know. I can't even ... It's very hard for me to even think of anybody else being Lando except me. But anyway, life goes on.
MP: Well, no one can ever replace what you brought to the whole Lando persona.
MP: Do you see yourself in the future films of the franchise?
MP: How about in Star Wars Rebels? I really loved how they smoothly wove your character into Ezra's story. It was awesome to hear and see Lando in canon material again.
BDW: Oh yeah, I really enjoyed doing that stuff. It was a lot of fun. When they ask me to do it, I'll always be happy to.
MP: I always had this curious question in the back of my head. Why was Lando wearing Han's clothes at the end of Empire?
BDW: Well that's the way they wrote it, so I don't really know.
MP: If you could change anything about your performance in the original trilogy, what would it be?
BDW: I think I was very successful in making that character, so I don't think anything should be changed ... More adventures for Lando, I guess.
MP: Did you read the new comics?
BDW: Yeah, I've seen them.
MP: It's good that you're caught up with your character.
BDW: Well the character is pretty much me.
MP: Are you working on anything right now that you'd care to tell me about?
BDW: Well, the only thing that I got going on right now is with Pabst Blue Ribbon. You know, I used to be the spokesperson for Colt 45 for about 10 years, so they asked me to do it again.
MP: How was it, returning to another iconic role?
BDW: Well most of the roles I have been in are iconic. It's fun. I really enjoy myself with it.
MP: Like Harvey Dent in Batman.
BDW: Yeah, right.
MP: Last question. Do you hope to ever appear in future Star Wars films?
BDW: Well, if they ask me to do it I wouldn't mind doing it. They are good.
MP: I'm sure everyone would love to see your Lando again.
BDW: Well I know an awful lot of people who were unhappy about me not being in any of the new stuff.
MP: Yeah, myself included.
BDW: Well I appreciate that. Thank you.
Are you hoping to see Billy Dee Williams pop up once again in the Star Wars universe? Answer in the comments below.
[Special thanks to Susan Soares, Ethan Rossier, Matthew Gatchalian and James Light]