Fans of the “Star Wars” series of movies lost their cool after the trailer for the upcoming Episode IX was released on Friday. And while stars for the movie — also titled “The Rise Of Skywalker” — had already been confirmed, the images from the new trailer stoked the flames of anticipation for the film franchise’s latest intergalactic installment.
The excitement was already at a fever pitch when the trailer debuted at a special event, also on Friday. But when fans caught a glimpse of Billy Dee Williams reprising his role as Lando Calrissian — shown with his trademark mustached grin while navigating the Millennium Falcon, no less — social media seemed to have a collective conniption fit.
Williams took the stage at the event and told a salivating audience that playing Lando Calrissian after nearly 40 years came naturally to him, thanks in part to the film’s director.
“You know, I’m a very lucky person,” he said Friday. “I didn’t expect to be in this little adventure. I got lucky and I ended up working with somebody that I have a tremendous regard for: J.J. Abrams. I love this man. He’s a beautiful young man. He’s extraordinary. I’ve been doing this for a long time — I think 60 years I’ve been doing this, and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some pretty extraordinary people in my lifetime… I regard this as a real highlight.”
When asked how he was able to get back into character after 1983’s “Return of the Jedi” — the last time Williams played Lando on the big screen — his answer was music to fans’ ears.
“Lando never left me,” Williams said. “He’s still there! He’s still hanging in there.”
As Star Wars purists may remember, audiences met a young Lando in last year’s “Solo,” which starred Donald Glover reimagining the role to rave reviews. The overwhelming response to the character’s re-introduction to the current crop of moviegoers likely helped writers to include Williams’ Lando in Episode IX.
The extent of Williams’ role as Lando in 2019 was unclear from the trailer, which only showed him briefly steering the spacecraft as he was smiling, a familiar sight to fans who should remember him doing the same thing in 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back” before “Return of the Jedi.”
See the scene where viewers first met Lando Calrissian.
But what exactly Lando’s return meant for the movie was almost beside the point to fans across social media, who reacted with gifs and memes in celebration of Williams reprising the role.
Scroll down to see just how folks on Twitter were feeling after they caught wind of the trailer.