Between his Colt 45 advertisements and roles in Mahogany, Dynasty, Batman and General Hospital, one could reasonably assume Billy Dee Williams has an untouchable pop culture legacy. However, the actor says one role of his reigns supreme.
“When I go out and do conventions and stuff like that, even though people know me from all the other things that I’ve done, certainly [Lando] takes precedence,” Williams told Patrick Shanley in a recent interview for The Hollywood Reporter.
Williams played Lando Calrissian for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. Donald Glover will take over the role of Calrissian in an upcoming Star Wars-universe film based on the life of a younger Han Solo. While Williams talked glowingly of Glover, the elder actor expressed some apprehension about letting go of what may be his signature acting role.
“Lando has been very much a part of my life for over 30 years,” Williams said. “I just never thought of anybody else being Lando. I just see myself as Lando. But I’m not saying goodbye to that character… It’s still very much a part of my life. I created that character.”
Williams made it clear that he’s a fan of Glover, calling him “delightful” and referring to his music as “pretty good stuff.” Glover was recently spotted having lunch with Williams near Los Angeles, and Williams confirmed the two talked about how to approach the role of Lando Calrissian.
The currently-untitled Star Wars spinoff featuring Glover as Lando Calrissian is scheduled for a release in 2018. Representatives from Lucasfilm have said the film will showcase Calrissian’s “formative years as a scoundrel.”