Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker promises to blend the classic and new casts of the Skywalker Saga in one final cinematic adventure. One eagle-eyed fan may have discovered a clue that a previously unannounced fan-favorite character may be making their return in the upcoming sequel.
Vanity Fair released a spotlight piece on Episode IX last month, packed with details about the new film and providing fans with an extensive look about the story and its characters battling for the fate of that galaxy far, far away. Included in the piece were exclusive behind-the-scenes photos and official stills of the cast, with Billy Dee Williams reprising his role as Lando Calrissian, back in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca and Resistance pilot, Poe Dameron. Upon closer inspection, one fan noticed Lando is pictured wearing a familiar device.
On Lando's left wrist is the communications device he used in Empire Strikes Back to activate and command his trusted cyborg assistant, Lobot, in Cloud City. The head of Cloud City's security forces hadn't been seen onscreen since the 1980 film, although the 2017 novel, Star Wars Aftermath: Empire's End, written by Chuck Wendig (set in the new Expanded Universe continuity created by Lucasfilm after its acquisition by Disney), revealed that Lando and Lobot returned to Cloud City after Lobot was freed from Imperial custody, leading a New Republic mission to liberate his home world -- restoring it to its former glory.
Lando and Lobot's friendship would also serve as the centerpiece of a Lando comic book miniseries written by Charles Soule and illustrated by Alex Maleev. Taking place before Lando became the Baron Administrator of Cloud City, Lobot was seen as a more human, emotive character and close companion of Lando as the two made their way across the galaxy. After gaining Imperial attention for stealing a valuable spaceship, Lobot would endure a grievous injury and ultimately become the more mechanical, stoic character seen in Empire Strikes Back as his cybernetic implants begin to consume his personality.
As Lobot actor John Hollis passed away in 2005, a full return of the character in The Rise of Skywalker may not be likely, unless filmmaker J.J. Abrams has secretly recast the role. More probable is that Lando wearing the wristcom is just another subtle nod to the character's classic appearance when he first debuted in Empire Strikes Back than a means to reintroduce his longtime cyborg associate.
As the final film in the Skywalker Saga, Episode IX is sure to be full of references and allusions to the previous eight main installments of the Star Wars franchise. Billy Dee Williams' reprisal as Lando Calrissian is a welcome return for the film, and while that familiar device may tease that he will experience another reunion of sorts, fans probably shouldn't get their hopes up for Lobot to make his big screen return any time soon.
Directed and co-written by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Keri Russell, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher, with Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant. The film arrives Dec. 20.