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Rian Johnson explains why Lando wasn't in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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[The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but come on, you should just go see it.] 

Aside from maybe Wedge Antilles or Max Rebo, the biggest original Star Wars character who has yet to appear in the sequel trilogy is Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian, the eternally smooth smuggler who somehow became the Baron Administrator of Cloud City and a general for the Rebel Alliance. Williams has proven that he has no qualms about returning to the Star Wars universe, since he has reprised his role as Lando on Star Wars Rebels, but we have yet to receive any indication of what Lando is doing in these days.


Apparently, though, Star Was: The Last Jedi almost saved a spot for him until director Rian Johnson decided that it would be a disservice to both Lando’s character and the story arc he was crafting for John Boyega’s Finn. Speaking with The Playlist, Johnson said that there was some discussion of having Lando fill the role that Benicio Del Toro’s DJ did in the movie, replacing him as the shady hacker who helped Finn and newcomer Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) sneak onto Snoke’s ship to disable the hyperspace tracker. The problem was that the plan had to fail, and Johnson wanted it to be because of Finn and Rose’s decision to trust the morally ambiguous hacker. Lando couldn’t have filled that requirement, because everybody loves Lando, and he didn’t want an appearance like that to be “contrived.” (Not to mention the fact that he already betrayed the heroes in one of these movies.)

That still leaves the possibility of Lando appearing in J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX, though considering how efficiently the last two movies have chewed through every other returning character, maybe it’ll be best if he and Wedge just hang out in a low-stakes tie-in comic or whatever. Max Rebo, on the other hand, definitely has to show up at some point. The people want to see what that weird elephant is up to.