Who Is: Lando Calrissian

Written by Fabian Wood

May 10, 2022

Rogue, entrepreneur, gambler, grifter, and playboy, are all apt descriptions of one Landonis Balthazar Calrissian III, or just “Lando.” Lando is an old friend of the maverick pilot Han Solo and was even the previous owner of the iconic starship the Millennium Falcon until he lost it in a bet to Solo.

Billy Dee Willians as Lando Calrissian III

We were introduced to the suave Lando in Episode V – “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980), as the floating Cloud City baron administrator on the gas planet Bespin. Under threat by the Galactic Empire, Lando reluctantly deceives his friend and companions in a bid to capture the last Jedi and Skywalker, Luke. Lando, however, redeems himself by betraying Darth Vader and helping Han and his rebel compatriots escape. In the following film, Lando returns as a general in the Rebel Alliance, solidifying himself as an invaluable and trusted ally against the insidious Empire. He was even instrumental in the final assault on the second Death Star climax of the original trilogy.

Billy Dee Williams portrayed Lando in the original trilogy and 2019’s “The Rise of Skywalker.” Donald Glover would play a much younger Calrissian in the standalone prequel film “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (2018). 

He would be the first prominent Black character in the Star Wars universe and the sci-fi genre. Because of this, this sci-fi swashbuckler with dark skin needed to be depicted in a positive light. The character would appear in several novels, comics, and video games, and it would be another two decades before another African-American actor appeared in a prominent role within this expansive franchise set in a galaxy far, far away.

Hailing from the eastern-most Caribbean island of Barbados, Fabian Wood has long since been fascinated by the power of storytelling to inspire and invoke emotions – whether in film, comics, or videogames. No longer content to be just an avid comic book reader and videogamer, he’s eager to exercise his literary acumen as an aspiring writer and reviewer.

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