Last week, Lucasfilm officially announced that actor, Donald Glover will play Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Han Solo movie. No surprise seeing as rumors about Glover playing Lando were circulating back in August. It also shouldn’t be any surprise that Lando Calrissian will be part of the story as he and Han Solo go way back.
If you have read any of my previous blogs, then you know that Han Solo is my favorite character from the Star Wars universe, and 2018 can’t come soon enough. When it comes to Han Solo, there are a lot of events to work with. The Kessel Run, meeting Chewbacca, dumping Jabba’s spice, winning the Millennium Falcon from Lando, and even Lando’s maneuver at The Battle of Taanab. I’m concerned that the writers will attempt to fit all of it in a single film. The most interesting events of Han’s life, will all come down to this and be crammed into this one crazy, but brief, week.
I would love to see each and every one of those events happen, but I think the story will suffer as a result. If this is an origin story then at a minimum, Han’s first meeting with Chewbacca and his acquiring the Millennium Falcon are must haves. Let’s face it, with Lando as part of this story, the story mandates that we see Han win his famed ship. In fact, I’m hoping Han’s introduction to his future obsession is a scene like this.
Lando: “C’mon we take my ship.”
Chewie lays eyes on the decrepit ship and roars in disgust.
Han: “Boy you said it Chewie. What a piece of junk!”
Lando: “She’ll do .5 five past lightspeed.”
Han and Chewie have to hate the ship at first glance, right? Everybody does, so why should they be different. I’m sure Han quickly changes tune when he gets behind the controls and sees what the ship can do, and as far as winning the ship, that probably happens right at the end. A light-hearted, but tense moment where the holy trinity of Han, Chewie, and the Millennium Falcon are officially ordained.
Another mysterious moment I’d like to see explored stems from this quote from the Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. As our heroes enter Cloud City they are met by a less than friendly welcome. Chewbacca barks something at Han, to which he replies, “Well, that was a long time ago, I’m sure he’s forgotten about that.” What that is, I don’t know, but it certainly sets up Han and Lando’s past relationship as friendly rivals. Perhaps Han and Lando were on competing smuggling jobs and Han got the better of Lando. Whatever the case, Lando in the story is sure to make things interesting. Although not everyone out there is interested in seeing a young Lando on the big screen.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Billy Dee Williams, who originally portrayed Lando Calrissian was not too happy at the prospect of someone else playing his character. When asked about the possibility of Donald Glover playing Lando, he said this.
“I don’t know who Donald Glover is. But as far as I’m concerned, I would say they [”Star Wars” producers] should leave that character alone. I don’t think you can do any more than what I did with that character. I think I made that character into something very special, and I can’t imagine anybody else doing it, to be very frank with you.”
This isn’t the first time Billy Dee Williams has laid claim to Lando. During his panel at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, he was asked about the voice over work he’s done. He said that he loved it and that he “won’t let anybody else do Lando.” Honestly, I don’t quite get it. The idea that nobody else is could play that part, and do it well is absurd. If the original cast of Star Trek can be replaced, then nothing is sacred, least of all Lando Calrissian. That said, I am a bit surprised that “old” Lando is not yet part of the new trilogy. There’s nothing to indicate that he’s coming back for Episode VIII, and it’s not because Billy Dee Williams has turned down an invitation. When asked if he’d be willing to reprise his role in the new films, Williams replied, “Yeah, if that’s what they want me to do I would be very happy to do it – as an old man [laughs]. But I don’t know if anybody could bring the kind of quality that I brought to any of those characters I’ve played.”
Maybe Lando will return for Episode IX, but for now, we can look forward to seeing him, Han and Chewie in their younger days. The Han Solo film is scheduled for release in 2018.
The Cantina Cast
The wretched hive your Jedi Master warned you about!