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Both J. J. Abrams and Billy Dee Williams have spoken Esquire magazine as the countdown to Lando Calrissian’s return in The Rise Of Skywalker continues.

 

J.J. On The Impact Of Billy Dee

J. J. Abrams, who is directing the conclusion to the Skywalker saga, told me via email that Williams’s charisma and charm are unmatched. While Abrams says he can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for people of color to see a character like Lando onscreen in 1980, he recognizes Williams’s place in film history. “Lando was always written as a complex, contradictory, nuanced character. And Billy Dee played him to suave perfection,” Abrams says. “It wasn’t just that people of color were seeing themselves represented; they were seeing themselves represented in a rich, wonderful, intriguing way. Also, he has the best smile in Hollywood.”

Billy Dee On J.J.’s Set And His Hunger To Return

He admired the atmosphere Abrams (or the young mogul, as Williams calls him) created on set. “At the end of the day, there’s music that’s turned on. Everybody’s dancing and singing,” Williams says, reminding me that he once played himself in an episode of Lost. His only worry in returning to the iconic character was that he still had the fire to bring a powerful performance to the conclusion of the saga, “Do I have that same hunger, excitement, that I had years earlier?,” Williams asked himself. “This is a very difficult time for me, as far as age is concerned. When you get to be a certain age, whether you want to think about mortality or not, you think about it.”