Billy Dee Williams is officially returning as Lando Calrissian in the upcoming 'Star Wars: Episode IX.' The actor has started preparing the role of a fan favourite gambler and one-time smuggler.

Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Williams would join the production of 'Star Wars: Episode IX.' Lando Calrissian first appeared in the 1980 release The Empire Strikes Back as the administrator of Cloud City.

Lando's primary concern was to keep the Empire out of his affairs. Lando then appeared in 1983 Return of the Jedi, where he goes undercover to help rescue Han Solo from crime lord Jabba the Hutt. During a battle sequence, Han Solo saves Lando from being devoured by the Sarlacc.

Lando Calrissian was absent from the first film of the sequel trilogy, The Force Awakens. He did not even appear in the 2017s The Last Jedi. Director Rian Johnson even considered bringing the fan favourite character back to The Last Jedi as a codebreaker that Finn and Rose Tico finds in the coastal city of Canto Bight. But the character was removed from the script and the role went to 51-year-old Benicio Del Toro. The Academy Award-winning actor played the role of DJ in the film who betrays the story's protagonist for his selfish reasons.

In Solo: A Star Wars Story, the 34-year-old actor Donald Glover portrayed Calrissian.

Donald Glover
Donald Glover attends 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' New York Premiere on May 21, 2018 in New York City.Getty Images

Belly Williams is the second new cast member to join the cast of Star Wars: Episode IX. Keri Russell has also signed on for a mysterious but reportedly high-octane action-oriented role. The 42-year-old actress previously appeared in films like Mission: Impossible III, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and FX's The Americans.

After the news surfaced that Russell has joined the cast, fans of Star Wars started to speculate the character she will be playing. One of the most obvious theories among fans is that she will portray the role of Rey's mother. At the same time, there are many who believes that she will be on the darker side in the film and will reportedly play one of the Knights of Ren.

Keri Russell
Keri Russell at Oscar Awards 2008Reuters

Star Wars: Episode IX will feature Adam Driver as Kylo Red, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, and Russell as an undisclosed character. The film is directed by J. J. Abrams and is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2019.