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The Last Jedi Director Considered Bringing Back Lando Calrissian

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Anyone who was longing to see Billy Dee Williams' Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, writer-director Rian Johnson understands your wants–and almost had a solution to satisfy them. 

Johnson revealed to The Playlist that he considered including the smooth-talking smuggler in the eighth Skywalker saga installment, and then explained why Lando's return ultimately didn't happen. 

"In terms of Lando, I briefly considered [including him]," Johnson said, stating that he thought the character would "work in the Benicio [del Toro] part." Here, Johnson refers to DJ, the eccentric and unpredictable codebreaker who busts Finn (John Boeyga) and Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) out of prison in Canto Bight and aids them in landing on the First Order's primary ship. 

Johnson then addressed the main issue with bringing Lando back and placing him in the same situation and story arc as del Toro's character: DJ ends up double-crossing Finn and Rose for his own gain, and that's not something Lando would ever do.

"I don't think you would ever buy that Lando would just completely betray the characters like that and have that level of moral ambiguity. 'Cause we love Lando and you'd come into it with that [expectation]," he explained. "And also, DJ, the character that they met, for the purposes of Finn's character, had to be a morally ambiguous character that you're not sure about, that you're guessing about, and we already know that we love the character of Lando, so it just wouldn't have played in that part story-wise. You have to write organically, otherwise it leads to contrived places... It's all about the needs of the story and there's only so much room on the table for... favorite characters to be in the movie."

Johnson reiterated his stance on the Lando situation to Yahoo! Movies, saying, "Believe me, I thought about [bringing Lando back]. Believe me, I did. And it just wouldn't work... in the capacity of the DJ part, Benicio's part, there's a reason that had to be a new character and couldn't just be Lando."

Though Johnson firmly believes that Lando would have no business being in Canto Bight, Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill thinks otherwise. He told Yahoo! Movies that the bustling casino city would be the perfect setting for the character. "Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon in a game of chance [with Lando]. You'd think he'd be the casino boss," Hamill said, adding, "I love Billy Dee Williams, and... I think anyone who's still around that had anything to do with the original trilogy deserves to come back in some way."

With any luck (and maybe a few petitions, since those are quite popular amongst Star Wars fans lately), Lando Calrissian will have an epic comeback in J.J. Abrams' Episode IX, due out in theaters on December 20, 2019.