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.

Report: Indiana Jones 5 delayed

The fifth Indiana Jones movie won’t be coming in July 2020, Variety says today. (It was moved to 2020 way back in 2017, back when they first scheduled IX.) They’re following an earlier report from Collider, which says that the film has a new writer, Solo’s Jonathan Kasdan, replacing David Koepp (Jurassic Park).

Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford “remain committed”. The previous film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, came out in May 2008.

Rumor: Multiple films still in development, Lucasfilm “licking their wounds”

And in day 3 of the ongoing rumor rounds regarding Lucasfilm’s plans for the unannouced Star Wars spinoff films, we finally have a trade weighing in. The Hollywood Reporter’s source says that development hasn’t slowed down, but the company is “licking their wounds”.

They say the Boba Fett project is “still being developed” with Simon Kinberg and James Mangold, though it may be “reconfigured” and “scaled down” – smaller budget, less risk. The Obi-wan situation (which reportedly involves director Stephen Daldry, plus a returning Ewan MacGregor) is less clear.

So basically: Lucasfilm is reevaluating, things are fluid, and they’re being generally more cautious. Or: Don’t expect any announcements to be forthcoming.

Rumor: A Star Wars spinoff has been shelved, but it’s not one we’d heard of

In another wrinkle to yesterday’s big report that standalone films are being put on hold, Jason over at Making Star Wars says it was only one film – and it wasn’t something fans have heard about yet.

The genesis of the earlier report was prompted by studio space being canceled for a film based around the denizens of Mos Eisley, Jason says. I could also note that a Mos Eisley story could involve Boba Fett, but that’s probably my bias speaking, as Jason says both the Obi-wan and Fett films are likely safe.

Meanwhile, Lucasfilm sources tell ABC that “multiple” films are still in development and that yesterday’s report is “inaccurate”, though they naturally decline to share any details about the (unannounced) projects in question.

A more interesting nugget is that up sometime after Episode IX will be a film from David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, which “be a little more grown up”, while Rian Johnson’s trilogy will be later, and more “all ages”. The timing is certainly something I find far more interesting here, but the tone concepts are more than we had before.

My own thoughts on this is that I wouldn’t expect a hard-R Star Wars film (though who can say), but perhaps PG-13 more along the lines of Revenge of the Sith, with Rian Johnson aiming for a more traditional PG or a softer PG-13 along the lines of what we’ve seen in the new trilogy so far.

Rumor: Star Wars spinoffs “on hold”?

Collider reports today that future “A Star Wars Story” spinoff films that were in the works at Lucasfilm have been put “on hold.” Films focusing on Obi-Wan and Boba Fett have been rumored, but not yet officially annouced or confirmed in any way by Lucasfilm. (Meaning that, short of actually announcing one of the films, we’re unlikely to get any confirmation or denial of this report any time soon.)

This seems a rather dramatic move after Solo’s underperformance at the box office, but none of the former “Anthology” films have gone smoothly behind the scenes – Rogue One’s production issues, Josh Trank’s departure from what was reportedly the first version of a Fett film, and Solo‘s surprising director swap.

Lucasfilm is instead choosing to focus on Episode IX and other projects, like the trilogy from The Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson and a “series” from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, which are unaffected by this decision. No timeline has been given for either set of films.