Who Is Lando Calrissian?

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Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian

Credit: Star Wars

Lando Calrissian is one of the most interesting characters in the Star Wars franchise. Made famous by actor Billy Dee Williams in the original trilogy and taken on by Donald Glover in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), Calrissian is a complex man. Neither completely altruistic nor entirely selfish, Lando has done questionable things and he’s done many, many good things.

With character appearances happening across the Skywalker Saga timeline, as well as in standalone features and animated television shows, it’s easy to get confused with Lando Calrissian’s complicated history within the Star Wars universe.

Smuggler to gambler, Cloud City Administrator to General, here, we give you the ultimate guide to Lando Calrissian.

billy dee williams as lando calrissian
Credit: Lucasfilm

The Complete Legend of Lando Calrissian

Where was Lando Calrissian Born?

Lando Calrissian was born Landonis Balthazar Calrissian on the Outer Rim planet of Socorro around the time of 43 BBY. The planet is home to asteroid belts which contain large quantities of doonium ore — a heavy metal used in starship construction, with the material having been used to construct the Death Star super weapon. The Outer Rim is a thinly populated part of the Star Wars galaxy which is home to a variety of planets, like Sorocco, Batuu, Lando’s future home Bespin, and Tatooine and is located before the Wild Space regions.

What Does Lando Calrissian Do?

Lando Calrissian has had a varied career and a robust life across the whole of the Star Wars franchise. From smuggling weapons to Petrusia to later being arrested and sent to the planet Hyntestia, young Lando quickly found his way in life by becoming a smuggler and a gambler — and an excellent pilot, too. He did own the Millennium Falcon before Han Solo, remember?

He was renowned for his smooth-talking ways which made him a legend in gambling circles, namely Sabaac — a high stakes card game that relied on chance just as much as the skill of the players.

Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

What is Lando Calrissian’s Role in the Star Wars universe?

As noted, in Solo, Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) was the original owner of the Millennium Falcon and would eventually come across Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) on the planet Vandor. As the Calrissian vs. Solo Sabaac game commenced it escalated into Lando betting his Millennium Falcon for Han Solo’s freighter. After Solo lost the bet, Lando decided to join him and Chewbacca in the Falcon on their potentially lucrative mission to steal Coaxium from Kessel. This famous first meeting of old friends was a key turning point in the Disney and Lucasfilm feature film Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). He later lost the iconic ship to Solo in a Sabaac rematch on Numidian Prime.

Lucasfilm Lando Calrissian Disney+ Series
Credit: Lucasfilm

Much later, Lando would shed his gambling ways and set up a mining operation on the desolate planet, Lothal, referring to himself as a “galactic entrepreneur”. After working with the crime lord, Cikatro Vizago, Lando eventually went on to become the administrator of Cloud City — the city in the skies of the planet, Bespin. During the Galactic Civil War in the original trilogy, Lando (Billy Dee Williams) crossed paths with Darth Vader and the Empire’s stormtroopers in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), as they hunted for the crew of the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). The events on Cloud City became a turning point for Lando Calrissian as he aided in the escape of most of the crew.

Credit: Lucasfilm

Lando ultimately redeemed himself by becoming a General in the Rebel Alliance, leading a rescue mission to free Han Solo from Jabba’s Palace and helping to destroy the second Death Star in Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983). After fathering a daughter, who was kidnapped by the First Order, Lando joined the Resistance to fight against the resurrected Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) on the Sith hideaway Exegol, in Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019).

It is even possible that sequel trilogy character, Jannah (Naomi Ackie), is Lando’s long-lost daughter. This was intimated, but not confirmed, in Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skwyalker (2019) and Ackie has indicated she would be open to reprising the role.

lando jannah
Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

Lando Calrissian’s role is soon to be explored in the upcoming Disney+ series, Lando, which should reveal more of the character’s past and present in a whole new string of Lando Calrissian adventures.

News About the Upcoming Lando Series

Who will play Lando Calrissian in the upcoming series?

The new Star Wars series from Disney and Lucasfilm has kept its details under wraps. Nothing has yet emerged regarding whether we will see Donald Glover or Billy Dee Williams — or even both actors — reprise as Lando Calrissian, but it is highly likely that at least one of them will return. Speculation emerged almost instantly over Glover’s potential reprisal of young Lando and if he would come back to play the galaxy’s favorite scoundrel (don’t tell Han Solo).

han and lando
Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

What is the premise of the upcoming Lando Calrissian series?

There has been no official announcement about the premise of the new Star Wars series from Disney or Lucasfilm, but if Glover is coming back, the Disney+ Lando series could theoretically draw inspiration from The Lando Calrissian Adventures — a series of novels by L. Neil Smith. The adventures focus on the time before Lando lost the Millennium Falcon and the books could provide interesting elements to further Lando Calrissian’s Star Wars story. It should be noted that these stories aren’t in the Star Wars canon, but could be retconned to form the basis of the new television show.

Remember, however, that Lucasfilm hasn’t confirmed the plot of the Lando special event series at this time.

Star Wars book cover
Credit: Star Wars

When will the upcoming Lando Calrissian series be released?

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy announced a slew of new Star Wars projects in December last year. From Lando to Star Wars: Rogue Squadron — the new 2023 movie from Wonder Woman‘s Patty Jenkins — Kennedy caused shockwaves in the Star Wars fandom at The Walt Disney Investor’s Day 2020 event. We don’t know when the Lando TV series will be released but whenever it does it will surely be a valuable asset to Star Wars‘ growing television empire, joining The Mandalorian, upcoming Star Wars: The Bad Batch and the recently cast, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

rogue squadron patty jenkins
Credit: Disney Investors Day Livestream

Star Wars films with Lando Calrissian.

Which Star Wars movies does Lando Calrissian appear in?

Lando Calrissian has appeared in four Star Wars movies. Billy Dee Williams made his first appearance as Lando in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back as the administrator of Cloud City. After walking the Star Wars heroes into a trap laid out by Darth Vader and the bounty hunter, Boba Fett, Lando eventually redeemed himself.

Han Solo and Lando Calrissian
Credit: Lucasfilm

The film marked a major turning point for the Star Wars series with the infamous “No, I am your Father” line, which changed the galaxy forever, confirming that Darth Vader was Luke and Leia’s father.

The next time Star Wars fans saw Lando Calrissian was in the then final installment of the franchise, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, joining Princess Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker as they attempted a rescue mission on Tatooine to save a carbonite-bound Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt’s palace.

Donald Glover is Lando Calrissian and Phoebe Waller-Bridge is L3-37 in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY.
Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

Although, Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was the first time we met Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars film canon, the first chronological appearance of the character in the Star Wars universe was in the Han Solo origin movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story, which takes place after the Clone Wars. This film marked Donald Glover’s (Atlanta) debut as the smuggler and documented his first encounters with future acquaintance, Han Solo, played, as we previously mentioned, by Alden Ehrenreich.

It was back to Billy Dee Williams playing the heroic role of Lando in the final Skywalker Saga movie, The Rise of Skywalker. The iconic character joins the Resistance in his old ship, the Millennium Falcon, to go to war against Sith Lord Emperor Palpatine and his horde of Imperial Star Destroyers.

battle of exegol
Credit: Lucasfilm

Which upcoming Star Wars projects is Lando Calrissian expected to appear in?

There have been no official announcements from Disney or Lucasfilm around any upcoming Lando Calrissian’s appearances, except, of course, for Lando. However, with the staggering number of new projects in the pipeline, both intended for the big and the small screen, there are many opportunities for the smuggling gambler to show up.

Lando Calrissian could make an appearance in the Boba Fett spinoff, The Book of Boba Fett, as the bounty hunter potentially searches for those who wronged him. Or, he could theoretically, turn up in the Obi-Wan Kenobi original series, which is set about 10 years after Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), so this would be a much younger version of Lando Calrissian than we’ve seen before.

the book of boba fett
Credit: Disney+

It is important to note that this is all speculation at this point.

Which actors have played Lando Calrissian?

The role of Lando Calrissian has been played by Billy Dee Williams in the original trilogy and the sequel trilogy within the Skywalker Saga. Donald Glover played the character in the standalone movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Williams made his film debut in The Last Angry Men (1959) before going on to star in the very first Star Wars sequel, making him the first African American with a leading role in the franchise. Lando Calrissian is the role Williams is most well-known for and will forever cement him as a pop culture icon.

billy dee williams, george lucas, harrison ford, and mark hamill with millennium falcon at disneyland
Credit: Disney

Donald Glover was announced to play young Lando in October 2016. Glover, who is perhaps best known for his roles in The Martian (2015) and Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), as well as by his stage name, Childish Gambino, brought the smooth-talking smuggler back to the big screen in 2018.

With no casting announcement from Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy or The Walt Disney Company, we can only hope that these actors will make an appearance in the upcoming Lando Disney+ original series.

Donald Glover as Lando in a dark room
Credit: Star Wars

Lando Calrissian’s Personality Traits

What are Lando Calrissian’s allegiances?

A smooth-talking negotiator with a sunny outlook on life, Lando Calrissian, as you can imagine, has had many acquaintances throughout his time. Lando has been on the side of good, like when he came to sway the battle on Exegol. He has also been aligned with evil, like when he set the trap on Bespin to capture his former friend, Han Solo with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Chewbacca in the original trilogy.

In the earlier years, sometime prior to the Battle of Yavin, Lando had dealings with the Maul led crime syndicate, Crimson Dawn and its leader Dryden Vos. Later in his life, the smuggler would meet the Twi’lek, Kaasha Bateen in Pasa Novo while she was there to help further the Free Ryloth Movement — a campaign to free the planet Ryloth from Imperial occupation. Lando and Kaasha eventually developed romantic feelings for each other, although whether Lando engaged with Bateen because of her role in a liberation movement is still uncertain.

Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos Standing looking at the camera
Credit: Star Wars

Lando Calrissian had another run in with the rebels after playing a game of his favorite card game sabaac in Jhothal, a settlement on Lothal. He competed against Garazeb Orrelios, a crew member aboard the Ghost, which was a ship run by a group of rebels during the Age of the Empire. The end of this encounter saw Lando pay the Rebels some much needed credits if they helped him in one of his quintessential smuggling operations.

After playing the crew off of one another to seek his best desired outcome, Lando eventually showed his decency when he helped the Rebel crew to make equipment that would trick the Empire into following fake signals, leading them to escape the desolate Outer Rim planet of Lothal.

An animated person posing for the camera
Credit: Star Wars

This story arc was featured on the animated show Star Wars Rebels which takes place about fourteen years after the end of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and just before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) and Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977).

Throughout his life, and across the Star Wars canon, Lando’s motives have always appeared to be self-serving — a negotiation here, a gamble there. It wasn’t until Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi that Lando Calrissian really showed up for his friends. This huge step in his character would cement him as a Rebel hero — a role he reprised in the Skywalker Saga finale, albeit this time for the Resistance.

Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian looking at the camera
Credit: Star Wars

What is the importance of Lando Calrissian’s sexuality?

Lando Calrissian was recently confirmed to be pansexual in the Star Wars canon, with an upcoming cover feature during the Marvel Comics’ Star Wars Pride month June releases. The issues will feature a number of LGBT characters, such as Lando and Doctor Aphra.

The sexuality of this Star Wars character has been a topic of discussion for a while and none more so than Donald Glover’s portrayal of the character in Solo: A Star Wars Story. During an interview, the writer of the film stated how he’d “have loved to have gotten a more explicitly LGBT character into [Solo]”.

Donald glover as Lando Calrissian in a room surrounded by computers
Credit: Star Wars

The importance of all kinds of representation is massive. With a franchise as large and powerful as Star Wars, characters who represent all aspects of the audiences who consume their content should be paramount to these giant movie studios. Especially The Walt Disney Company, which owns a large proportion of the entertainment market with their acquisitions of Marvel and Lucasfilm in 2009 and 2012, respectively.

If the Lando series is to explore Lando’s sexuality, it could be a big step for Disney and Lucasfilm, especially as Justin Simien, who is publicly gay, is attached as creator and head writer.

What type of person is Lando Calrissian?

Although a smuggler and a gambler by trade, Lando Calrissian has always seemed to have a good heart. It may be his jovial, jockey attitude which makes him easy to love but nevertheless, this iconic character has proven he knows right from wrong — even if it takes him a while to get there. He’s upbeat, with a vibrant smile and an excellent wardrobe and it would be hard to say no to this smooth-talking scoundrel. From entrepreneur to starship captain to Rebellion leader, he’s had a varied career but deep down, he’s a survivor, doing whatever he has to do to get by — although, sometimes, at the misfortune of his friends.

Lando and Chewbacca in a Star Wars ship
Credit: Star Wars

As a finally confirmed queer character in the Star Wars canon, as well as his self-titled upcoming event television series, the future looks bright for this fan-favorite character, and the Star Wars galaxy overall. As Lando said: “Yeah, I’m responsible these days. It’s the price you pay for being successful.”

If that self-proclamation isn’t Lando Calrissian all over, then what is?

Look out for the galaxy’s smoothest scoundrel in Lando, a new series coming to Disney+ sometime in the near…or maybe in the far, far away future. Who can tell?

How much do you love Lando Calrissian?

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