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Donald Glover Seems To Be Returning As Lando Calrissian And Will Write The Star Wars Disney+ Series With His Brother

NBC. Getty Images.

[Above The Line]

"After playing Lando Calrissian in Ron Howard‘s 2018 movie Solo: A Star Wars Story, Donald Glover is ready to dust off his purple cloak, as Above the Line has exclusively learned that Donald and his brother Stephen Glover are now writing the Lando series that Lucasfilm has been developing for Disney+.

"The Glover brothers replace Haunted Mansion director Justin Simien on the project, which was first announced by Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy back in December 2020 as part of Disney Investor Day. At the time, there was no word regarding whether Donald Glover or Billy Dee Williams would be returning as Lando, though current plans obviously call for Donald’s return, as it’s unlikely that he’d write the script for another actor to play the smooth-talking smuggler."

There's a little bit of self-preservation in that headline, because it hasn't been fully confirmed that Donald Glover will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian. But like…it'd be weird as hell of Glover and his brother Stephen signed on to write Lando and then he didn't play the central role.

Jeff Sneider broke this news of Glover's official involvement in the project, which was confirmed by Variety. Right on the heels of that, we got a very interesting tweet from OG Lando himself, Billy Dee Williams…

…And then another one last night:

I love how Billy Dee is always down to clown and come back to the iconic characters he's played before in often surprising ways. For instance, he voiced Lando in The Lego Movie and Two-Face/Harvey Dent in The Lego Batman Movie as an homage to his appearance as Gotham's DA in Tim Burton's Batman films.

In the incredible animated series Star Wars Rebels, Williams returned as the smuggling, smooth-talking scoundrel for a couple episodes. He's done a bunch of Lando voice parts for Lego Star Wars, but Rebels is actually part of the official Star Wars canon. The upcoming Ahsoka series is more or less a direct sequel to the Rebels finale. It's cool how Williams doesn't, like, big-time Star Wars or distance himself from the franchise.

What's so interesting about Lando is, by the time it comes out — I'd assume 2025, or early 2026 in the best-case scenario, pending the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes? — Glover is going to be into his early 40s. That's about the age Williams was when he first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back.

To me, the big question from a narrative point of view is, will Glover age down and fill in more of the blanks after the events of Solo? Or will Glover age up a bit, and be roped into the whole Mandalorian universe so that he can be available for Dave Filoni's gigantic crossover movie? I'd say the latter is the more compelling angle to explore.

Glover didn't so much do an impression of Williams' Lando in Solo, yet he did a great job capturing the spirit and essence of the character. A lot of folks thought he stole the show from Alden Ehrenreich's Han.

I'd be down to see a little more of Ehrenreich as Han Solo. He had a pretty much impossible task of carrying that movie and being a believably younger version of Harrison Ford. All things considered, Ehrenreich did really well. Just feels like he takes a little unnecessary criticism for the movie not performing well at the box office.

My hunch is that Ehrenreich will maybe guest star for an episode, but otherwise, we'll be pretty Lando-centric. Glover doesn't strike me as someone who'll want to play things safe. He'll want to have creative control and work toward telling an original story. 

I suspect Williams will appear as he is, maybe have a few things to do in his "current" part of the timeline — presumably post-The Rise of Skywalker — and reminisce about the greatest Lando adventures of his younger years. Then we'll cut away to flashbacks and Glover will be at the center of those stories.

There's an outside chance that the technology Lucasfilm most recently deployed in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny to de-age Harrison Ford could be used in some form or fashion on Williams. It all depends on the scope of the Lando series and how vast of an area they're playing in on the Star Wars timeline. Ford's physical appearance was pretty much flawless in Dial of Destiny, but his voice was way too gravelly to be believable as if he was 40 years in the past. 

At least in Rebels, I was kind of blown away by how Williams managed to modulate his voice to sound more like younger Lando. Maybe there's a way to pull that off in live action for quieter scenes. IDK. Sounds a little convoluted and potentially confusing now that I'm typing it all out loud. Regardless, I'm glad we'll be getting a catalyst like Glover so involved in so many aspects of Lando beyond just acting. He's won multiple Golden Globes and Emmys for Atlanta, so he's proven himself at the highest level on the small screen.

UPDATE on Williams' potential involvement — looks like all that teasing and timing of social media posts wasn't in direct reference to Lando after all!

Doesn't mean Williams won't be in it. But uhh…welp.

Giphy Images.

I know a lot of folks are souring on Disney+ shows in light of The Book of Boba Fett, Mando Season 3 and even the recent perceived decline in quality of Marvel's latest offerings. However, Donald Glover writing the damn thing (and starring in it) simply hits different.

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok