Hello, what have we here…
Sometimes rumours don’t travel so fast. Two weeks ago, Lando Calrissian actor Billy Dee Williams may have let slip that he will be providing a voice in next year’s Rebels animated TV series. That’s what various attendees at the Rhode Island Comic Con are saying, anyway.
If you really want to crank up the speculation, factor in recent comments by rumoured Episode VII cast member David Oyelowo:
While it’s not clear which role Oyelowo could be on the list for, he did say that Lando Calrissian (played by Billy Dee Williams in the original Star Wars films) is his favorite character. “He was pretty cool,” the actor said.
Oyelowo said with a big smile, “Because he looks like me.”
Given that both Episode VII and Rebels (as well as at least one of the spinoff films, presumably) are in pre-production concurrently, it’s a safe bet to say that there will occasionally be confused reports mixing up the various Star Wars projects.
But if you want to tie all these rumours together, consider a possibility such as the following: Williams cameos in Rebels as Lando, with Oyelowo playing a recurring role as Lando’s brother in Rebels and Lando’s nephew in Episode VII.
To me, that possibility doesn’t sound completely far-fetched. No doubt things will become clearer in the coming months…
UPDATE: You can view the entire Billy Dee Williams panel below:
UPDATE #2: Liightsaber Rattling have posted some great audio from the panel as well as a transcription of the relevant conversation.
Billy Dee Williams: I am about to go off and do something with Netflix.
Manager: Oh right, the pilot.
BDW: Next week on Monday… Tuesday.
M: What is the name of it?
BDW: Uh, Rebels, but I can’t talk about it.
M: You’re not allowed to talk about it.
BDW: I don’t think I’m allowed to talk about it.
Audience member: Is it Star Wars: Rebels?
So, let’s break it down…
Points against this being Star Wars: Rebels:
- Rebels is not produced by Netflix (unless this is somehow tied into the Marvel/Netflix deal, which I seriously doubt)
- There will not be a Rebels “pilot” as such
- It seems unlikely that Billy Dee’s manager would prompt him to break confidentiality
Points for this being Star Wars: Rebels:
- While there won’t be a Rebels pilot, there will be a one-hour premier written by Simon Kinberg which will screen on the Disney Channel before the series proper screens on Disney XD
- It’s quite possible they’re recording early dialogue now, given the premier will screen in less than a year
- Given the audience and venue, the coyness of the exchange suggests they knew exactly what would happen by dropping the name “Rebels” and ended the discussion with a denial and a wink
I think the Netflix point is a red herring. In my opinion, this is indeed Star Wars: Rebels, and the conversation shifted midstream by Billy Dee’s manager who wanted to generate some buzz in the fan community without explicitly using the words “Star Wars”.