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Will Billy Dee Williams Be In Star Wars: Episode IX?

A major (cape-swinging, smooth-talking, oh-so-cool) name might be joining Star Wars: Episode IX

According to a report by the generally trustworthy fan site Fantha Tracks, Billy Dee Williams will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian in the final installment in the franchise's current trilogy. 

The outlet's original source is said to have asked Fantha Tracks to verify the information with "another independent source." Fantha Tracks was subsequently able to confirm that the details are "indeed correct," but wouldn't name either of its two sources. 

An official confirmation of Williams' casting is expected "very soon," as Episode IX director J.J. Abrams prepares to get the film behind cameras in July. 

Hearing reports of this nature, of a beloved Star Wars character from the original films making a return in a later entry, would normally give fans pause, but let's consider the reliability of the outlet from which the information has emerged. Fantha Tracks has a great track record of publishing factual news articles, particularly ones that regard the Star Wars universe. The site previously announced working titles for several Star Wars films (including Episode IX), broke news about production on the Obi-Wan Kenobi standalone film, and got The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson to confirm that Carrie Fisher's dog was in the movie. Bearing that in mind, it seems Fantha Tracks' report is legitimate. 

"But wait just a darn minute, how Lando will fit into Episode IX? Does it even make sense for him to be a part of the story? And if Billy Dee Williams really will be in the movie, is he going to go all Leia and use the Force to pull himself out of space or a casino or an intergalactic brothel or some other place Lando likes to hang out?" we can hear you cry. 

Fear not, frantic Star Wars fan — let Looper break it down for you. 

In Episode IX, Lando could be one of those Resistance allies living in the Outer Rim that were mentioned in The Last Jedi, since Lando wouldn't be out of place in that part of the galaxy. (The Outer Rim planet Soccoro was his homeland, and even had a farm on Lothal!) And with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) apparently having perished at the end of The Last Jedi and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) long gone after his death in The Force Awakens, bringing back an old friend like Lando to aid Leia (the late Carrie Fisher) in reigniting the Resistance seems plausible from a storytelling perspective. 

Plus, it would be awesome to see Williams pick the role back up after Donald Glover dazzled fans as young Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story

As far as Lando showing off some sweet Force abilities in Episode IX is concerned, well, that's anyone's guess, really. 

The cherry on top of this info cake is that Williams revealed during an appearance at MegaCon in Orlando back in May that he was "training three times a week with a trainer" and was on a "whole new diet" (via Twitter). Starting a new fitness and diet regimen was something Carrie Fisher reportedly did for The Force Awakens, so that past mention suggests the 81-year-old actor truly was getting back into shape to play Lando in Episode IX

Until director Abrams or the bigwigs at Lucasfilm confirm Williams' casting, we'll simply have to count down the days until Star Wars: Episode IX launches on December 20, 2019.