Report: Billy Dee Williams returning for IX

Lando Calrissian is coming back – again. The Hollywood Reporter, backing up a Fantha Tracks report from last month, is now saying that Billy Dee Williams will reprise the role in Episode IX.

A younger version of Lando, played by Donald Glover, appeared in May’s Solo, but Billy Dee hasn’t been on screen since Return of the Jedi, though he did do some voice work as the character on Rebels.

IX is due to begin filming at the end of the month, so if this rumor does pan out, we’ll likely hear soon.

Report: Keri Russell in talks for Episode IX

J.J. Abrams may be bringing a familiar face with him to Episode IX. Keri Russell is in talks for a role, Variety reports today. The role reportedly calls for “action-heavy fight scenes”, something she has experience with in her recent roles on FX’s The Americans, Mission: Impossible and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Variety also says that Abrams is looking to cast two more roles before the end of the month, when filming is due to begin.

Russell starred in Abram’s first TV show, Felicity.

Colin Trevorrow doesn’t say much about Episode IX

Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, who was the original pick for Episode IX, isn’t going to give any details about his scuttled plans. (J.J. Abrams took over and wrote his own script with Chris Terrio.) But Trevorrow does tell Empire that he got to talk to both George Lucas and Mark Hamill about it.

“I don’t want to talk too much about it because I don’t want to affect the way that fans get to see these films,” he said. “When we were kids, these movies came to us from far away. They were a gift. And the more we talk about how they’re made, the more it reveals that they’re just movies. But they’re not just movies, they’re more than that. Beyond that, I got the opportunity to tell a story that is a celebration of everything I believe in, I got to tell it to George Lucas and I got to tell it to Luke Skywalker, and those are experiences I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

Trevorrow will next direct Jurassic World 3.

No, Tim Zahn is not under contract for two more Thrawn books

There was a bit of misinterpretation going on regarding something Timothy Zahn said at a con recently. Zahn himself sets the record straight: He has proposals, but not contracts, for two more Thrawn books… And he doesn’t know anything about Episode IX. It’s simply the nature of the franchise that movies will dictate the rest of the content. (And given that Thrawn went MIA in the Rebels finale, and there’s a brand new cartoon coming up… There are a lot of balls in the air even outside of the films that could have an impact on anything else regarding Thrawn.)

Zahn’s next Star Wars book, Thrawn: Alliances, will be out in July.

Celebration zigs when we expected it to zag, heads to Chicago

The Midwest is getting a Celebration again and I could not be more surprised. The Star Wars Show today announced that 2019’s Celebration is not going back to Anaheim, as many of us expected, but instead to Chicago. McCormick Place, home of ReedPOP’s C2E2, will host the show on April 11-15, 2019.

Tickets will go on sale on June 5 at starwarscelebration.com.

This will be the 20th Anniversary of the con, and the 9th to be held domestically. The first Celebration was hosted in Denver ahead of The Phantom Menace in 1999, and from there the show headed to Indianapolis (twice), L.A., Orlando (thrice!) and Anaheim.

Pack your coats!