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Comic Book Men – Q&A With Billy Dee Williams

Comic Book Men guest star Billy Dee Williams talks about playing Star Wars‘s Lando Calrissian, some behind-the-scenes memories and more.

Q: What did you think of the Stash when you came into the store?

A: I thought that huge Millennium Falcon was interesting. I’d never seen anything like it.

Q: Are you a fan of comic books?

A: Not anymore. It’s not that I’m not a fan, I just don’t sit around reading comic books now. I watch cartoons. There’s spectacular stuff out there. When I was younger, I read Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel and things like that, and a lot of newspaper comics like Dick Tracy.

Q: In the episode, Kevin Smith says he thinks there are two Lando’s — treacherous Empire Strikes Back Lando and good Return of the Jedi Lando. Do you agree?

A: Well the character isn’t a good character or bad character. He evolves in those two stories. He’s just a very interesting and dubious guy, who evolves. In Empire Strikes Back, he loses everything. He was a proprietor in Cloud City and he lost that and then he had to move on. He had to figure out how to prevent the complete demise of his friends and his friends’ friends. As I have always said, “Nobody died,” so he’s not such a bad fellow.

Q: Do you have any favorite memories from the set of Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi?

A: It was a very interesting experience since there was no real CGI at the time. So to actually perform and shoot the movie on real sets was pretty incredible. I used to spend a lot of time with a lot of the technicians behind the scenes — the people working on computers and implementing ideas. It was a whole brand new approach to filmmaking. They pioneered a lot of new stuff.

Q: Did you expect Star Wars to become so deeply ingrained in pop culture?

A: You never really know to what degree something is going to become an icon. But certainly this is a phenomenon beyond most anything that’s been done in movies.

Q: What’s it like living that phenomenon?

A: I’ve had a fair amount of success in other situations, so I’m quite used to it.

Q: Are you looking forward to the new Star Wars?

A: I just want to see what J.J. Abrams has done with it. I guess everybody’s curious.

Q: With the new movie coming out, it seems like there’s a new resurgence in Star Wars love. Have you felt that at all?

A: To me, it’s ongoing. There’s never been a lull.

The Comic Book Men season finale airs Sunday at Midnight/11c.

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