Are you disappointed that Lando Calrissian wasn't in The Last Jedi? You're certainly not alone. He's one of the most beloved characters from the original trilogy and Billy Dee Williams is totally game to come back and play him again. However, Rian Johnson just couldn't find a place for him in the movie. However, he very nearly did, as revealed in an interview with the director.
Warning: minor spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It turns out that Rian Johnson had originally considered using Lando as the character who ultimately became Benicio Del Toro's DJ. It makes total sense that Lando could have been a master codebreaker that loves hanging out in casinos, right? However, Johnson ultimately decided that what he needed the character to do didn't align with Lando's sensibilities. Here's what he had to say about it.
"In terms of Lando, I briefly considered, would he work in the Benicio [Del Toro] part. I don't think you would ever buy that Lando would just completely betray the characters like that and have that level of moral ambiguity. 'Cause we love Lando and you'd come into it with that [expectation]. And also, DJ, the character that they met, for the purposes of Finn's character, had to be a morally ambiguous character that you're not sure about, that you're guessing about, and we already know that we love the character of Lando so it just wouldn't have played in that part story wise."
Fans were understandably disappointed that Lando Calrissian didn't appear in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. So to hear that there could have been a place for him is a bit heartbreaking. Then again, Rian Johnson's reasoning is fair. Would Lando really turn his back on the Resistance in such a scummy way like DJ does? It's not likely and fans probably would have been very upset with that character choice. In a separate interview with Yahoo, Mark Hamill weighed in and expressed his desire to have seen Billy Dee Williams back for The Last Jedi.
"Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon in a game of chance [with Lando]. You'd think he'd be the casino boss. I love Billy Dee Williams, and you're right, I think anyone who's still around that had anything to do with the original trilogy deserves to come back in some way."
Even if Lando didn't play DJ, perhaps he could have been the original codebreaker that Finn and Rose were looking for that was ultimately played by Justin Theroux? Then again, that would have been a brief, possibly pointless cameo. Maybe J.J. Abrams has something bigger in store for Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: Episode IX. We can at least hope as much. This interview with The Playlist at least confirms that Rian Johnson considered it and understands how much the character means to fans. Still, it's starting to feel like Lando is getting the shaft in this new Star Wars trilogy.