[Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) is almost like a Noah's ark of Star Wars iconography. The movie certainly won't be a retcon of any kind (unless you count the extended universe), but there's the impression that what makes it into these new movies is what really mattered all along. Put simply, Han Solo is in Episode 7; Jar Jar is not. John Williams' incredible timeless score will be in Episode 7; the Max Rebo Band won't be.
Some fans were surprised, then, to find out that Lando Calrissian, the one guy in the galaxy who could rock Star Wars cool even better than Han Solo, won't be included in Episode 7. Does this mean Lando isn't as important to Star Wars anymore? Well, that's likely not the case. Stuffing so much classic iconography into a sequel surely won't give the new material space to breathe, and I have sympathy for JJ Abrams trying to reference the older movies fairly. Lando not being in The Force Awakens is not an inditement against the character; there just isn't room.
Billy Dee Williams may still return
Billy Dee Williams has stayed true to the Star Wars brand, reprising his role as Lando Calrissian in the animated Star Wars Rebels. Considering that his career dates back to the 50s, it's kind of incredible that he's still sticking with the role that defined him. That said, Max von Sydnow is also appearing in Star Wars Episode 7, and he starred in the freakin' Seventh Seal!
During an interview with Cinelinx, Billy Dee alluded to a possible appearance in [Star Wars: Episode VIII](tag:711868), pointing out that he didn't initially show up in the original trilogy until the second movie. That's a fair point. Many of us are so blinded by the excitement of Star Wars returning that we fail to notice that these movies will indeed be start to finish stories, introducing their own concepts freely as they go.
Rumors of Lando's Revenge
I'm not going to dive into these rumors with too much gusto, or proclaim them as any kind of scoop. This is primarily because I would rather not contribute to people at Disney losing their jobs, but also because treating pre-production rumors as the text itself can get a little silly. Rumors of big movies that seep through to pining fans are much closer to fan fiction than they are to the finished product. So what are these rumors that are here for us to toy with?
Well, an idea has been doing the rounds, suggesting that Billy Dee Williams will appear in [Star Wars: Episode VIII](tag:711868) to "avenge a friend and lead a fleet". That description sounds so simplistic, it could almost have been made up on the spot. Still, if there is any merit to this rumor, what could it mean for Episode 7?
The death of a main character
Basically every movie ever has taught me to assume this will be the case. I mean what else could Lando be looking for revenge for? A quick bit of story math, and you work out that Lando Calrissian's role in Episode 8 would likely hinge on the potential death of Han Solo in The Force Awakens.
If Han Solo were to bow out in Episode 7, it would be a pretty regressive move to have that spawn a plot involving Lando. You don't rejuvenate your series, casting an old guy from the original movies, only to kill him off and then replace him with an even older guy. Billy Dee is 78, and unless you're Charles Bronson, that age doesn't exactly lend itself to an action revenge role.
Lando's own subplot
This idea I'm a little more favorable towards. Why couldn't Lando show up on some personal vendetta he's been nurturing for the past 20 years? Similarly to how Han Solo has issues with Jaba in the first Star Wars, plot lines and character goals can sometimes simply be dressing for the wider story. Lando could totally be a passing character. In fact, not tying into the broader story might make him even cooler, and a fleeting role would suit him just fine. To paraphrase Shakespeare; "brevity is the essence of when you are being smart and kinda funny in order to impress people" or something like that.
Perhaps I'm simply feeding the monster of rumor based journalism, or perhaps I'm playing into JJ Abrams' plans of intentionally misinforming his fan base in order to eliminate the possibility of actual rumors getting out. Either way, I'm playing into something, so let's just toy with the idea of Lando returning after Star Wars Episode 7. What are your thoughts on it? Write your own post or comment below!