Williams’s return to the film franchise has been a long time coming, but the 81-year-old actor clearly has reserves of unused star power
Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones, Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly, Dustin Hoffman as Michael Corleone: Hollywood history is littered with could-have-been moments. Billy Dee Williams, who is set to return to the role of Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: Episode IX, has a few of his own, not least his replacement by Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent/Two-Face in Batman Forever.
Williams had played the upstanding Gotham City district attorney in 1989’s Batman, his first real moment in the spotlight since Star Wars, but audiences never got to see his transformation into Dent’s nefarious alter-ego. First, Christopher Walken was hired to play the big bad (Max Shreck) of sequel Batman Returns in 1991. The part, as originally conceived, would reputedly have seen Williams as Two-Face – and then Jones was brought in to play the chance-obsessed villain for 1995’s Batman Forever.