‘Star Wars’: Billy Dee Williams at Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian: ‘I created that character’


Talk about your backhanded compliments.

Billy Dee Williams, who famously played Lando Calrissian in the “Star Wars” movie franchise, sort of praised Donald Glover, who inherited the role, in comments he made to the Radio Times in the UK.

“I had a nice little lunch with him. He’s a delightful young man. Extremely talented,” Williams, 86, told the Radio Times.

Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian in “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980). Lucasfilms/courtesy Everett Collection

“But I don’t see him … I mean, when it comes to Lando Calrissian there’s only one Lando Calrissian.

“I created that character.”

Williams played the smuggler/rebel hero in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” and again in the 2019 flick “The Rise of Skywalker.”

Glover (“Atlanta,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”) played a younger version of Calrissian in the 2018 “Star Wars” prequel movie “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

Williams told Radio Times he gave Glover, 40, only one piece of advice about playing the character. “I told him to be charming — two words!” he said. “That’s all I needed to tell him. That’s all I could think of.”

Donald Glover played a younger Calrissian in the 2018 prequel “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” Walt Disney Co./courtesy Everett / Everett Collection
Glover at the Vanity Fair Oscar party on March 10. Getty Images for Vanity Fair

There could be more Calrissian coming down the pike.

A limited Calrissian series for Disney+ was announced in 2020; then, in July 2023, news broke that Glover and his brother, Stephen, would replace the original series writer (Justin Simien) as the writers of the Disney+ series, which is now being developed as a movie, according to Deadline.

“He’s part of a whole new generation,” Williams said of Glover and his Calrissian portrayal. “He’ll create whatever he needs to create, to bring appeal to the character.”

Williams at the “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” premiere in London in 2019. WireImage

“He’s a very talented young lad and very imaginative,” he told Radio Times about Glover. “I mean, it’s not for me to say what he should do with the character at this stage.”

He added: “I took care of the 20th century, now he’s got to take care of the 21st.”

Williams was then asked if he would ever reprise the character — and his answer left nothing to the imagination.

“Pay me a lot of money and I’ll sell my soul,” he said.

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