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Lando Calrissian is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. He is portrayed by Billy Dee Williams in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and will be played by Donald Glover in the upcoming standalone Han Solo Star Wars movie. He also appears frequently in the Star Wars expanded universe of novels, comic books and video games, including a series of novels in which he is the protagonist.
Concept and creation
The first draft of The Empire Strikes Back featured a character named Lando Kadar, a veteran of the Clone Wars who lived on Hoth. His name and familiar aspects of his backstory materialized in the second draft. Though it is rumored that Calrissian was supposed to have died at the end of Return of the Jedi, this is not true, according to Lucasfilm.
Lando Calrissian first appears in The Empire Strikes Back as the administrator of Cloud City, concerned primarily with keeping the Empire out of his affairs. Bounty hunter Boba Fett, working for Darth Vader, tracks Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO, traveling in the damaged Millennium Falcon, to Bespin. Shortly before Solo and crew make it to Bespin, Darth Vader and a contingent of Imperial forces arrive at Bespin and threaten to take over the city. Lando is strongarmed by Vader into betraying his old friend and turning him over to Boba Fett.
Unwilling to leave the city in the hands of the Empire, Lando reluctantly does so, but his conscience gets the better of him when Vader goes back on his word and takes Leia and Chewbacca as prisoners. When Lando sets Leia, C-3PO and Chewbacca free, Chewbacca chokes him for giving Han to Vader and Fett, and Leia angrily tells Lando that they don't need his help before they chase after Fett, who escapes with Solo. In the ensuing evacuation of Cloud City, he helps Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 escape. He then assists Leia in rescuing the maimed Luke Skywalker, who had fallen into Vader's trap and lost his right hand in a duel, from the underside of Cloud City. Afterwards, he joins the Rebel Alliance and promises Leia that they will find Han.
In Return of the Jedi, 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 didn't appear in The Force Awakens, although Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa and other members of the Rebels made appearances in the film. Without even being mentioned, the fate of Calrissian after the Battle of Endor was left unknown. During the early development of the film, Lando was supposed to make an appearance, with Williams reprising the role, but he was finally cut from the film. This action caused the displeasure of many fans.
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.
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.
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, Calrissian 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, and in the seventh novel of the Legacy of the Force series, , Calrissian announces to Han Solo and Leia Organa Solo that he and Tendra are having a child in Fury.
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 90's.
Lando Calrissian was chosen as the 11th top Star Wars character by IGN and the character was chosen as the 12th top Star Wars hero by Jesse Schedeen. Schedeen also said that Calrissian was one of the characters he would most like seeing in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
Billy Dee Williams has publicly admitted that he personally received backlash from youngsters who were negatively affected by Lando's betrayal of Han Solo. Williams has felt that the situation would've been different if Lando had been played by a Caucasian actor.
Lando appears briefly in the animated film The Lego Movie (2014), voiced again by Billy Dee Williams. Lando is featured in Buck: A Memoir by M. K. Asante Internet personality Link Neal named one of his sons Lando after the character, who sometimes appears on Rhett and Link's morning talk show, Good Mythical Morning. Dustin from the Netflix series Stranger Things states "Lando" several times when he feels he and his friends are about to be betrayed. In How I Met Your Mother, Ted introduces himself as Lando Calrissian in Season 1, Episode 13, as a precursor to his incognito date.
- "Donald Glover". Star Wars.
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