Warning: Article contains minor spoilers for both canon films and novels.
The interwebs are abuzz with the rumor (some say is confirmed) that Billy Dee Williams will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: Episode IX. Part of me thinks J.J. Abrams is again trying to correct mistakes of the film last preceding his involvement in the franchise by playing the nostalgia card, or Disney could be banking on Donald Glover’s popular portrayal of the younger iteration of the character. Whatever the reason, it seems we may be seeing an older Lando once again, reintroducing one more iconic characters from the original trilogy. Thus far we’ve seen the return of the “big three”, Chewbacca, Threepio and Artoo, Admiral Ackbar (RIP Erik Bauersfield), bit character Nien Numb, and now possibly Lando, begging the question: Where in the worlds is Wedge Antilles? Wedge was a veteran of Yavin and Hoth, and later played an instrumental role in destroying the second Death Star. Logic dictates he would lend a significant presence to the fledgling New Republic, and later, the Resistance. But here were are, through Episodes VII and VIII, and there’s been no sign (in film, at least) of the pilot responsible for taking out the power regulator on the north tower. Sadly, actor Denis Lawson, who portrayed Wedge through all three films of the original trilogy, is on record as saying that, while he was offered a part in Episode VII, he turned it down because it would “bore him.” Disappointing, indeed, making one wonder how little his part would have been, especially considering the role Wedge played in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath series. (And yes, the Aftermath series is canon, while the former EU Rogue Squadron series is not. I could write an entire article on that, but I digress….) Aftermath saw Wedge injured and captured during a reconnaissance mission, have a tumultuous relationship with Nora Wexley while taking her son Temmin (“Snap”) on as his protégé, and then lead Phantom Squadron at the Battle of Jakku. Did he ultimately die on Hosnian Prime in The Force Awakens? Perhaps we’ll never know, unless J.J. Abrams has something up his sleeve for Episode IX. Here’s hoping.