With Lando Calrissian returning to screens next month in Solo: A Star Wars Story, we thought it would be a good time to look back at one of the most popular characters in the franchise. And detail his relationship with best frenemy Han Solo.
Though be warned, while Lando has appeared in novels, comics, video games, and animated shows, this feature will simply be dealing with his exploits in the movies.
Losing the Millennium Falcon
Lando Calrissian became a smuggler and a gambler early in life, and made money playing a card game called sabacc. He wore a pretty badass cape, fired a badass X-8 Night Sniper blaster, and cruised the galaxy on a badass ship called the Millenium Falcon, which could make “the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.”
But Lando was to lose his beloved ship in a game of sabacc with old sparring partner Han Solo, an equally disreputable smuggler and gambler. Who may or may not have cheated to win the booty. We’d bet smart money on that game playing out in the new movie.
Following the loss of his precious ship, Lando went straight. Kind of. He gave up a life of crime to become the administrator of Cloud City, a gas installation near Bespin, where he endeavoured to avoid the attentions of the Empire. But it was easier said than done…
Lando Betrays Han
During The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader and Boba Fett journey to Cloud City to make Lando an offer he can’t refuse; set a trap for his old friend Han or risk the wrath of the Empire. With little choice, Lando agrees to do the former.
The betrayal is soon revealed in one of the saddest scenes in the series however, with Vader taking the Rebels prisoner, while Lando looks on, ashamed.
Calrissian quickly sees the error of his ways, with Vader changing the terms of the deal, refusing to let Leia and Chewie leave Cloud City, and torturing Han before freezing him in carbonite. All of which lights a fire inside Calrissian, who at the end of the film vows to save his old friend.
Lando Rescues Han
At the start of Return of the Jedi, Lando has infiltrated Jabba the Hutt‘s palace, where the frozen Han hangs as barbaric decoration. Calrissian is working undercover as a palace guard, and wearing a mask to protect his identity.
He stays in disguise throughout the opening sequence, only revealing himself when Luke Skywalker’s plan is in full swing, and the palace party has moved to the Great Pit of Carkoon.
Unfortunately, while freeing prisoners and fighting fellow guards, Lando ends up on the edge of the deadly pit himself, with his own life in danger. So while he pretty much saves Han at the start of the movie, almost immediately Solo is rescuing him, blasting a sarlaac tentacle so Lando can escape its clutches.
Lando and Han Save the Galaxy
Later in the movie, Lando offers to lead the attack on the second Death Star, and is made General of the Rebel Alliance. Because, as he puts it, “Somone must have told them about my little manoeuvre at the Battle of Taanab.”
Together he and Han mount a two-pronged attack on Darth Vader’s weapon of mass destruction. So while Solo is busy disabling the Death Star’s protective shield in the Battle of Endor, Calrissian is in space, back behind the controls of the Millennium Falcon. Which he promises to return to Han without a scratch.
Lando co-pilots the craft alongside adorable Sullustan Nien Numb, and together they take out scores of TIE Fighters while waiting for Solo to complete his mission. Han duly takes out the shield, and Lando fires a shot into the super-weapon’s reactor core. Starting a chain reaction that ultimately destroys the Death Star.
Calrissian speeds away from the explosion, though in the process his craft takes a knock and loses its sensor dish. Meaning that Lando and Han save the galaxy together, but the Falcon returns with a very definite scratch.
Solo: A Star Wars Story — which stars Donald Glover as the young Lando Calrissian — hits screens on May 24, when we’ll find out how the two scoundrels first became friends.