Billy Dee Williams Had One Reservation About Playing Lando In Star Wars

In an interview for John Phillip Peecher’s 1983 tome “Star Wars: The Making of ‘Return of the Jedi,'” Williams revealed that he initially balked when offered the part of Lando. As he told Peecher:

“I had some reservations about doing ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ I thought that perhaps Lando was just another romantic character. But [director] Irvin Kershner came over to my house, and we sat and talked. Ultimately, I made the movie for a lot of reasons: Kershner, and the opportunity to work with George Lucas. He is part of the new breed of filmmaker, and I wanted to be part of that.”

But once he understood the sheer commercial and cinematic scale of what he was getting into, he was an eager participant. Per Williams:

“I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity of playing Lando Calrissian. I fell in love with the name. If you’re an actor — the kind of actor I am — I like to have fun. I want to do everything I can conceivably do before I’m dead. I’m in these films, the comic books, and now the radio serial. It’s Toy City!!! I’m living out all my fantasies. How do you not do a ‘Star Wars?'”

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