Star Wars fan everywhere are pretty happy with Disney right now. The "Mouse House" is finally giving us what we've always wanted -- more Star Wars. The Force Awakens launched the new era of Star Wars stories, opening the door for a brand new trilogy, as well as a plethora of side stories set in the ever-expanding Star Wars universe. There's no end to the amount of potential Star Wars films we can get. From movies like Rogue One, to future stories focused on iconic characters like Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Boba Fett, the full extent of the Star Wars universe is finally hitting the big screen.
Next year's Star Wars anthology film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, will give us a never-before-seen look at the early escapades of Han Solo himself. If that wasn't enough to build up excitement in every Star Wars fan out there, the film will also include a young Lando Calrissian, portrayed by Donald Glover. While not the main focus of the film, Calrissian is sure to steal some of the spotlight the same way he did when he first appeared in the original trilogy. To get fans prepared to see the cunning space outlaw again, here are 15 facts about Lando Calrissian.
15 HIS BACKSTORY ON THE BIG SCREEN
Solo: A Star Wars Story is, as the title would suggest, about Han Solo. The danger-seeking space bandit is finally going to have his origins put on the big screen for everyone to see, but this doesn't mean he's the only one to get this treatment. Sure, Solo will focus mainly on its namesake, but we can't get the origin story of Han Solo without getting into the origins of his friend/rival, Lando Calrissian.
Lando will be featured in Solo: A Star Wars Story, portrayed by Donald Glover, and we'll get a close look at what the space smuggler was up to during his own early days. We'll also potentially get to see Solo and Calrissian's first encounter, so that should be a pleasant scene.
14 HE HAS HIS OWN COMIC SERIES
For us impatient Star Wars fans who want to know more about Lando's history sooner rather than later, there's no need to fret. While we'll have to wait until Solo is out to see Lando's backstory on the big screen, there's a plethora of stories showcasing Lando's upbringing literally at our fingertips in the form of a comic book series.
Comic-savvy Star Wars fans have known for a while, but it isn't common knowledge that Lando has his own self-titled comic book miniseries. Published in 2015 by Marvel Comics, the Lando comic series follows Calrissian on his early adventures with his crew, including his cyborg assistant Lobot. The comic only lasted five issues, but it's definitely worth a read for anyone looking to expand their Lando knowledge.
13 HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A CLONE
Everyone basically knows who Lando Calrissian is, and his role in the Star Wars universe. He's a suave space smuggler, and an old friend of Han Solo who betrays Han and the gang to Darth Vader, before listening to his conscious and assisting in rescuing them. However, Lando's story wasn't always this simple.
Early drafts of the Empire Strikes Back script reveal that Lando was originally supposed to be Lando Kandar, a clone. And not just any clone, a clone of one of the major clone families from a planet of different clone clans. This was before George Lucas had fully established what the Clone Wars were, and Lando was supposed to be a leader of a band of clone refugees affected by the war. Needless to say this backstory didn't make the final cut, but it's definitely an interesting alternate take on Lando's story.
12 HE'S GOT A WIFE AND SON
Lando may be a ruggish, law-breaking scoundrel, but at some point during his career, even the galaxy's most eligible bachelor has to know when it's time to settle down. That's exactly what Lando did when he decided started his own family. Searching for a wealthy wife to share her riches with him, Lando eventually found and married Tendra Risant from the planet Sacorria.
Calrissian and Risant created two legacies; one was their successful corporation Tendrando Arms. The second was their son, Lando "Chance" Calrissian Jr,. Here's hoping that Donald Glover's casting in Solo: A Star Wars Story opens the door for fellow rapper Chance the Rapper to make an appearance as Lando's son in a future Star Wars film. We would hate to see Disney miss out on such a great pun.
11 HE LOST THE MILLENNIUM FALCON IN A CARD GAME
The Millennium Falcon is a famous ship in the Star Wars lore, usually associated with Han Solo. Solo and his trusty partner Chewbacca used the Falcon to get themselves and their friends out of some seriously harrowing situations throughout the Star Wars saga. However, Han Solo wasn't the original owner of the iconic spaceship.
He actually acquired the Falcon from his good friend/rival, Lando Calrissian. Well, "acquired" isn't exactly the word Lando would use to describe how he lost his beloved ship. It's no secret that Lando is quite the gambler, particularly fancying an intergalactic card game called Sabbacc. After running out of credits during a game with Solo, Lando offered his pal any ship if he kept playing and won. Much to his dismay, Solo beat Lando and took off with the Millennium Falcon.
10 HE STOLE A SHIP FROM EMPEROR PALPATINE
Han Solo isn't the only one with a knack for taking other people's ships. In the pages of Lando #1, the titular hero decides to take up one last job in order to settle a score with an old crime boss. The job is simple, steal a luxury space yacht (yes, that's a thing in Star Wars apparently) and keep the spoils inside.
What Lando didn't realize is that the ship isn't owned by "some rich Imperial scum" as he assumed, but is in fact owned by Emperor Palpatine himself. After dodging the Emperor's soldiers and bounty hunters, Lando learns why the ship is valuable to Palpatine. Hidden amidst the treasures and artwork is powerful ancient Sith artifacts. Why Palpatine would choose to keep such important artifacts on a space yacht is anyone's guess.
9 HE'S FROM THE OUTER RIM
We're first introduced to Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back, when Han Solo and company fly to the luxurious floating Cloud City above the planet Bespin. Lando greets his old friend and welcomes him and his group to his fancy home. But while Lando may have been living large when we saw him on-screen for the first time, he's actually originally from the Outer Rim, specifically from the planet Socorro.
Lando had a pretty comfortable life on Socorro with his father Lindo (one would be forgiven for assuming his grandfather's name is Lendo), but eventually left his home planet to travel the galaxy. A couple of wrong turns and bad deals later, and Lando became the space-traveling smuggler and gambler we know him to be today.
8 HE BECAME THE BARON ADMINISTRATOR OF CLOUD CITY
In The Empire Strikes Back, we meet Lando during his comfortable role as Baron Administrator of Cloud City. Han Solo is surprised to see his old friend in possession of such an honorable responsibility. How he earned this title is quite the story -- it has to do with gambling. After losing the Millennium Falcon to Han Solo, you would think that Lando would be done with Sabbacc, but this apparently wasn't the case.
Calrissian entered another card game tournament, this time facing off against the current Cloud City Baron Administrator, Dominic Raynor. Luck was one Lando's side this time around, and the outlaw won the game, as well as the title and responsibilities of Baron Administrator. Surprisingly enough, Lando didn't take his new role for granted. He graciously accepted the role, and went forward with the task of turning Cloud City into the best place in the galaxy.
7 HIS STRONG BOND WITH LOBOT
Lobot, Lando's personal cyborg assistant, isn't a huge part of the films. His only role in the movies is that of Lando's faithful robotic companion, following him on adventures and letting him know the odds of a successful outcome. But the two have a much larger bond than that of just co-workers. Luckily, the comics go into further detail about Lobot and Lando's previous adventures and relationship.
Marvel's Lando series explains that Lobot and Lando were good friends, with the former being the latter's voice of reason. Lobot eventually sacrificed his mind and human characteristics to save Lando's life, resulting in him becoming a complete robot in nature. Lobot leaves Lando a pre-recorded message, urging him to use his skills for good. In turn, Lando has vowed to cure his friend no matter what the cost.
6 HE WAS ALMOST KILLED OFF
Lando has become an iconic staple in pop culture, arguably becoming one of the most recognizable faces in the Star Wars universe, alongside Han, Luke, and Leia. He's so popular that fans have been petitioning for Billy Dee Williams to return to the role ever since the new trilogy was announced. But there might have been a time where any chance of Lando making a future appearance wouldn't exist.
Back when the Star Wars: Legends line of literature was being published, Lando became the subject of a number of novels and stories set in the Star Wars "Expanded Universe". Kevin J. Anderson, one of the authors who worked on several Lando stories, mentioned that the space smuggler was nearly killed off in the '90s, with Lucasfilm believing that the character had "run his course". Luckily, they decided against it, and Lando is presumably still alive to this day.
5 HIS ICONIC BETRAYAL LEFT WILLIAMS IN THE HOT SEAT
Star Wars fans remember the exact moment that Lando Calrissian cemented his spot in our minds, when he betrayed Han Solo and company to the Empire. Lando's iconic betrayal of his oldest frienemy left everyone who saw it feeling bitter towards the double-crosser. Unfortunately for the man who portrayed him, that anger transcended into reality.
Lando actor Billy Dee Williams revealed that on several occasions after his portrayal in The Empire Strikes Back, angered fans have been letting him have it. From heckling, to angry letters, Williams has felt it all. If anything, it just goes to show how much of a connection Williams made with viewers after his portrayal. Luckily, Lando's reputation has since changed, and he went from "that guy who backstabbed Han" to a beloved Star Wars hero, and Billy Dee Williams has cemented his spot in sci-fi history.
4 HE OPENED THE DOOR FOR MORE DIVERSITY IN SCI-FI
Diversity in sci-fi film and television is seen a lot more today than it used to be. Star Wars, the franchise that helped invigorate the sci-fi genre, is making more of an effort than ever to make sure that there's proper diverse representation out there in a galaxy far, far away.
Lando Calrissian himself is partly responsible for the surge of diversity in sci-fi. The character, and Billy Dee Williams' iconic portrayal, opened the door for more diversity in the sci-fi genre. Before Lando, there weren't a lot of African-American roles in sci-fi, and most that did exist were extras or expendable characters. George Lucas' decision to include Lando in the Star Wars story made it possible for characters like Mace Windu, Finn and more to exist.
3 WILLIAMS WASN'T THE FIRST CHOICE FOR LANDO
Billy Dee Williams IS Lando Calrissian. So much so that we can't see anyone else in the role (a fact that Donald Glover will hopefully be able to overcome). While fans familiarize Billy Dee Williams with Lando Calrissian, this may not have always been the case. Before offering the role to Williams, George Lucas tried to give it to actor Yaphet Kotto.
Kotto is known for his role as Dennis Parker in the 1979 sci-fi/horror film Alien. It was this iconic role that led to his decision to turn down playing Lando. Kotto was worried that Lando would be killed off early, and that he would go on to be typecast in expendable space-related roles. Ironically, Lando would go on to live a long life and become one of the most iconic Star Wars figures in the franchise. Perhaps Kotto should have reconsidered.
2 HE MIGHT APPEAR IN EPISODE IX
Lando hasn't been in a Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi, and while the books, comics, and other forms of media have been keeping us updated with his life beyond the original trilogy, fans still desperately want to see Lando return to the big screen. We were hoping to see Lando make an appearance in The Force Awakens, and while Billy Dee Williams hinted at the possibility, it was eventually revealed that he would not appear in the film.
The same thing happened for The Last Jedi, and though we're excited for the upcoming film, it's a bit disappointing to hear Lando won't show up. However, writer Lawrence Kasdan revealed that Lando "isn't done in any way, shape or form" in an interview with Vanity Fair. With Episode 9 being the last in the new trilogy, it's entirely possible that we'll see Billy Dee return to the role that he made famous.
1 HE APPEARS IN STAR WARS REBELS
Fans who just can't wait to see more Lando on screen don't have to wait until a possible Episode 9 appearance. Lando Calrissian appears in the hit animated series Star Wars Rebels, with Billy Dee Williams returning to voice the character.
Airing on Disney XD, Star Wars Rebels tells the story of Ezra Bridger and his shipmates. The story is set between episodes III and IV, and the episode "Idiots Array" gives us a good look at what Lando was up to in-between those two films. Ezra and his friends run into Lando after the character Zeb plays him in a game of Sabbacc. Lando wins Chopper, Ezra's repair droid, and enlists Ezra and his crew to help him on a dangerous smuggling run in order to get the droid back from him.
Which of these facts shocked you the most? Let us know in the comments!