Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in UK cinemas now, but it’s no spoiler to say that Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) – Han Solo’s long-time chum, and previous owner of the Millennium Falcon – doesn’t make an appearance.
The Last Jedi’s writer-director Rian Johnson told Entertainment Weekly in November: “[Lando’s] not in the film and it was never really something that came up.”
We grilled Johnson on the absence of Lando, and he seemed genuinely upset that he hadn’t found a space for him in The Last Jedi. He dropped a big hint that he had considered using the old scoundrel in the role fulfilled by Benicio Del Toro’s DJ in the film.
“Believe me I thought about [bringing Lando back], believe me I did, and it just wouldn’t work,” Johnson tells Yahoo Movies.
“For reasons I can’t really talk about without getting into spoilers, Lando even in the position of any… just specific story reasons that he would not have worked, like 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.”
In the story, Finn and Rose team up to track down master codebreaker DJ on the casino planet of Canto Bight. Mark Hamill, who returns as Luke Skywalker, thinks that would have been the perfect setting for the return of Lando.
“Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon in a game of chance [with Lando],” Hamill explains.
“You’d think he’d be the casino boss. I love Billy Dee Williams, and you’re right, I think anyone who’s still around that had anything to do with the original trilogy deserves to come back in some way.”
The fate of Lando now rests in the hand of Star Wars: Episode 9 director JJ Abrams. Oscar Isaac, who plays “trigger happy fly boy” Poe Dameron, is hoping to see the old rogue in the next movie for very selfish reasons.
“I think that he could definitely fit into the story and come back,” Isaac says. “He was my favourite character growing up, so I’m holding out hope for 9!”
“Let’s start a campaign,” finishes the effervescent Hamill, “Bring back Lando Calrissian!”
The 100% Lando-free Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in UK cinemas now.