For generations of "Star Wars" fans, Billy Dee Williams will always be Lando Calrissian, in film, on animated television or in video games. That leaves big shoes for Donald Glover to fill as he prepares to play the scoundrel in the Han Solo anthology film. But while Williams describes the young actor as "delightful," also acknowledges that Glover may never be as cool as he is.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, the 79-year-old Williams discussed his recent meeting with Glover, who wanted to discuss the beloved character.
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"He’s a very delightful young man, I must say," Williams said. "We had a very nice lunch and we talked for a very long time and it was very easy. He had questions about [Lando]. I guess he was doing what normal actors do, they just want to find out what direction they want to take so they gather their information. So, we just sat and talked, and I didn’t want to impose on anything he wanted to do — he’s got his own ideas, I would imagine. I know he has his own ideas. He’s a very talented young man. In fact, I was listening to some of his music [Childish Gambino, Glover’s musical alter-ego] and it’s pretty good stuff."
When the interviewer noted that Glover recently conceded he isn't as cool as Williams, the actor couldn't help but agree.
"Well, nobody’s as cool as me," he said with a laugh. "That’s a tough way to go. No, I’m only joking. Donald is eclectic, I think that’s really important particularly for the character of Lando. He is particularly eclectic in the way he approaches his art. When I talked to him I really got the sense of him being a worldly person."
Williams, who appeared as Lando in 1980's "The Empire Strikes Back" and 1983's "Return of the Jedi," and then reprised the role, in voice form, for "Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III," "LEGO Star Wars," "Star Wars Rebels" and a handful of video games, acknowledged he had never thought of anyone else playing the character.
" I just never thought of anybody else being Lando," he said. "I just see myself as Lando."
Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the untitled Han Solo “Star Wars” anthology film also stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Woody Harrelson as Han's mentor and Emilia Clarke in an undisclosed role. Chewbacca is of course expected to play a part in the film, which is set prior to the events of 1977’s “Star Wars.”
The Han Solo movie is targeted for release in 2018.