Lando Calrissian[a] is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. In The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lando is introduced as an old friend of Han Solo. Prior to the events of the film, Lando made a professional career as a gambler, con artist, playboy, mining engineer, businessman, and was the original owner of the Millennium Falcon, until losing the ship to Han in a bet. He has become the Baron Administrator of Cloud City on the gas planet Bespin, and in the film, betrays Han to Darth Vader. In Return of the Jedi (1983), he becomes a general in the Rebel Alliance and leads the attack on the second Death Star. He is portrayed by Billy Dee Williams in the original trilogy and the forthcoming The Rise of Skywalker (2019), marking one of the longest intervals between portrayals of a character by the same actor in American film history.
Donald Glover portrayed a younger Lando in the standalone Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). Lando also appears frequently in the Star Wars expanded universe of novels, comic books and video games, including a series of Legends novels in which he is the protagonist.
Concept and creationEdit
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In writing The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas initially considered that Lando Calrissian was a clone from a planet of clones which caused the Clone Wars mentioned in A New Hope. An early trailer for the film introduced him as Landau Calrissian.
The Verge noted that despite Han Solo's first name being written as "Han" and franchise creator George Lucas also pronouncing the name as "Han" (hæn) off-screen, within the films most characters, including Luke Skywalker, pronounce it as "Hahn" (hɑn). The Verge also noted how Billy Dee Williams' Lando seems to be the only character to pronounce it as "Han" like Lucas, and that when, in The Empire Strikes Back, Lando is choked by Chewbacca for betraying Han, Lando causes most other characters to shift to "Han". In Solo: A Star Wars Story, Glover decided to deliberately use "Han" instead of the other characters "Hahn" in order to honor the character's trait.
Lando Calrissian first appears in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) as the administrator of Cloud City. The rebels arrive in Lando's old ship, the Millennium Falcon. Shortly before Han Solo and crew make it to Bespin, Darth Vader and a contingent of Imperial forces arrive and force Lando to betray his old friend in a plot meant to ensnare Luke Skywalker. Lando reluctantly leaves the city in the hands of the Empire, but his conscience gets the better of him when Vader takes Leia and Chewbacca prisoner. When Lando sets them free, Chewbacca tries to strangle Lando for giving Han to bounty hunter Boba Fett. In the ensuing evacuation of Cloud City, he helps Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 escape in the Falcon. He later assists in rescuing a disarmed Luke from the underside of Cloud City. Afterwards, he promises to help find Han.
In Return of the Jedi (1983), Lando goes undercover to help Luke rescue Han from crime lord Jabba the Hutt. During a battle with Jabba's henchmen, Han saves Lando from being devoured by the Sarlacc; Lando then helps Han and the others destroy Jabba's barge. For his heroics, he is made a general in the Rebel Alliance. Lando then takes the pilot chair in his old ship, the Millennium Falcon, and leads the attack on the second Death Star. He helps the rebels to victory by destroying the gigantic Imperial battle station.
Lando did not appear in the first film of the sequel trilogy, The Force Awakens (2015). According to Williams, the reason Lando did not return may have been that he did not fit into the storyline. His absence from the casting announcement caused the displeasure of some fans.
Lando was also absent from The Last Jedi (2017). During the early development of the film, director Rian Johnson briefly considered bringing back Lando as the codebreaker that Finn and Rose Tico seek in the coastal city of Canto Bight, but Lando was finally written out of the film's script, with the codebreaker role ultimately going to Benicio del Toro's character DJ.
In July 2018, it was confirmed that Lando will appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which will mark one of the longest intervals between portrayals of a character by the same actor in American film history.
Donald Glover portrays a young Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which takes place before the original trilogy. Glover had the opportunity to speak with Billy Dee Williams and seek his input. "He said, 'Just be charming'. Which is the best advice." Williams had expressed interest in making a cameo appearance (though likely as another character) in the film, but he did not ultimately appear.
Lando is introduced as a gambler and "retired" smuggler who owns a ship fast enough for Han and his associates to use in stealing a load of raw starship fuel. Han tries to win the ship (the Millennium Falcon) from him in a game of sabacc, but Lando cheats and cleans Han out. However, Lando agrees to join the team in exchange for a percentage of the profits from the mission. During the heist and subsequent escape, Lando is injured and his droid co-pilot L3-37 is irreparably damaged, but Han brings the Falcon to safety with help from L3's navigational database after he hotwires it into the ship's computer. Lando later takes the Falcon and abandons the team, but Han tracks him down and wins it from him in another game of sabacc, having stolen the card Lando had up his sleeve to let him cheat.
In "Idiot's Array", Lando wins Chopper, the repair droid of the crew of the Ghost, in a game of sabacc, forcing the crew to assist him with a dangerous smuggling run to get their droid back. The crew become reluctant business partners to Lando following the ordeal, leading to their first encounter with the crime boss Azmorigan. In "The Siege of Lothal", the crew of the Ghost reluctantly approach Lando for help in getting off of Lothal, which is under Imperial occupation. He is also mentioned on occasion in various other episodes, becoming one of a couple of aliases employed by series protagonist Ezra Bridger.
Billy Dee Williams reprises his role as Lando Calrissian in various games, including as a playable character in Star Wars Battlefront and Star Wars Battlefront II. However only the second is canonical to the storyline of the films, due to the first game not containing any kind of narrative.
Lando Calrissian is the lead character in Lando, a five-issue miniseries published in 2015. Lando has a brief appearance in the comic miniseries Shattered Empire published by Marvel Comics in 2015. Lando will be the lead character in the upcoming comic Lando: Double or Nothing, a five-issue miniseries released in 2018.
The novel Star Wars: Last Shot reveals that between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, Lando is considering settling down with a Twi'lek girlfriend.
Legends novels and comics are not considered canonical to the films.
The Star Wars comic book series released by Marvel Comics featured Lando as a prominent character following The Empire Strikes Back. In the comic series, he has a crime lord nemesis named Drebble, and Lando will frequently make use of his foil's name as a cover identity so that any animosity he generates while using the alias will be brought against the real Drebble, not Lando himself.
Lando is the main protagonist in a series of three novels by L. Neil Smith published in the 1980s and titled The Adventures of Lando Calrissian: Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu, Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon and Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka.
Legends novels that took place after Return of the Jedi commonly depicted Lando as getting involved in a variety of entrepreneurial schemes, including Nomad City in Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy and the Kessel Spice Mines in the works of Kevin J. Anderson. During The Corellian Trilogy, Lando goes on a galaxy-wide hunt for a rich wife, ultimately marrying Tendra Risant. With his in-laws' money and his entrepreneurial abilities, he opens a mining facility on the outer rim planet of Dubrillion. In The New Jedi Order and beyond, Lando continues being a valuable ally and friend to the Skywalker/Solo family. In Fury, the seventh novel of the Legacy of the Force series, Lando announces to Han and Leia that he and Tendra are having a child.
Kevin J. Anderson stated that Lucasfilm toyed with the idea of killing off Lando, noting the character had run his course for Expanded Universe authors in the 1990s.
- Williams reprised his role as Lando in Legends videogame Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.
- In Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga Calrissian is an unlockable playable character, having the characteristic of being able to kiss Leia's hand if she is nearby.
According to Alyssa Rosenberg of The Washington Post, Lando is a "fascinating and fraught part of the 'Star Wars' legacy and the conversation around race in science fiction". She added that "Lando's the only character in 'Star Wars' with a truly comfortable sense of style." On his portrayal, she wrote, "One of Williams's accomplishments in 'Empire' and 'Return of the Jedi' is how much he [feels] like an old-fashioned movie star in a futuristic setting without making the performance seem incongruous."
Lando Calrissian was chosen as the 11th best Star Wars character by IGN and the 12th best Star Wars hero by IGN's Jesse Schedeen, who also said that he was one of the characters he'd most like to see in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
Billy Dee Williams has publicly admitted that he received backlash from children who were angered by Lando's betrayal of Han Solo in Empire Strikes Back. Williams felt that the situation would have been different if Lando had been played by a white actor.
The Verge criticized writer Jonathan Kasdan's behind-the-scenes retcon of Lando into a pansexual man as "a piss-poor shot attempt at representation", and argued that Kasdan seemed to be confusing the traits of pansexuality for those of promiscuity. The article compared the retroactive change in sexual orientation to J. K. Rowling's rebranding of Albus Dumbledore as gay, despite none of the Harry Potter books mentioning the character's sexual orientation in any way.
- Lando is revealed to be short for "Landonis" in Solo: A Star Wars Story. His full name is "Landonis Balthazar Calrissian III".
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