Billy Dee Williams, 81, to Reprise Role as Lando Calrissian in Next 'Star Wars' Movie

Billy Dee Williams joined the franchise for its second installment, 1980's The Empire Strikes Back

Billy Dee Williams is set to once again don Lando Calrissian’s cape.

The 81-year-old actor will reprise his iconic role in Star Wars: Episode IX, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The next installment in the movie series, directed by J.J. Abrams, is set for release Dec. 20, 2019, with filming expected to start this summer.

Williams joined the franchise for its second installment, 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back. His character, a buddy of Han Solo’s, last appeared in Return of the Jedi in 1983 before Donald Glover played a younger version of the galaxy’s slickest smuggler in the spin-off Solo: A Star Wars Story, released earlier this year.

'Solo: A Star Wars Story' film premiere, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 10 May 2018
John Milne/Silverhub/REX/Shutterstock

As revealed in PEOPLE’s special issue Star Wars: The Secrets of Solo, Glover met with the actor who originated the role shortly after signing onto the film.

“He’s like, ‘Just be charming,'” recalled Glover. “I took what he said… and amped it up.”

The Atlanta show-runner is a big fan of the franchise dating back to the first film, A New Hope. “My dad took me out of school for Episode 1,” he said. “We all watched it as a family — that was a big deal.”

Jonathan Olley / Lucasfilm/ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection

The latest reboot of the Star Wars series has reunited some of the original flicks’ biggest stars, including Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and the late Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia).

But there will likely be some new faces joining the universe for Episode IX — Variety reports Keri Russell is in talks to appear in the upcoming film.

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