WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Lando Calrissian #1 by Greg Pak, Matteo Buffagni, Tamra Bonvillain and VC’s Travis Lanham, on sale now.
Lando Calrissian has often cut a divisive figure in the Star Wars mythos. We know him as scoundrel, but despite betraying the rebels in The Empire Strikes Back, Lando proved he was an antihero who wanted to erase oppression in the galaxy, making amends and joining the alliance eventually.
He fought against Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi, helping rescue Han Solo in the process. But in the latest Age of Rebellion one-shot, we discover Lando was running heroic missions years before, and they involved freeing slaves.
This story, "Cloud City Blues," finds Lando, the Baron Administrator in charge of Cloud City in Bespin, deep in debt and paying off workers using his own stash so he can literally keep things afloat. As he gambles to win more funds, banks breathing down his neck, the suave thief finds himself at Burnin Konn, a casino in the Outer Rim. There, a Magnate Imperium named Roz (one of the richest men in the galaxy) hires Lando to extract his unruly nephew as head of the family's mining colony in Fantanine.
In exchange, Lando will receive funds to run Cloud City for the next century, which obviously results in him taking the job. Manning a freighter to their destination, it's a relatively easy task, as he overpowers his target and the accompanying goons without his sidekick robot Lobot even having to lift a hand. However, just as he's about to celebrate the future sustenance of his city, Roz orders a shipment to be taken off the planet, much to Lando's chagrin. It turns out it's hundreds of alien slaves being shipped to another planet to work the mines.
It isn't even a crisis of conscience for Lando as he rebels and breaks the slaves out of their servitude. He and Lobot hijack the ship and deliver them somewhere safe, where they can be free and eke out a new life. As expected, when Lando returns to Cloud City, his funds haven't been transferred, as Roz feels he betrayed him. Nonetheless, Lando still has some credits from his personal collection to temporarily keep the place running, and as he and Lobot discuss past actions, it appears this isn't the first humanitarian venture Lando endured. Also, well, it's another he didn't get paid for, which is why crime appealed to him as he got older.
That said, it seems L3-37 did rub off on him years after Solo: A Star Wars Story concluded. There, she stood up against robot slavery in the mines of Kessel, giving her life in the process. An inspired Lando and Han fought alongside her, finally understanding the importance of liberation from the Empire. It may be that Lando kept such missions hush so that he could maintain his reputation and attract fewer eyes to his escapades. After all, he's a man who really doesn't want people monitoring him much, and such relief efforts would certainly have ticked off Imperial blockades. Not to mention, he'd have annoyed elite members of the galaxy who love exploiting the poor and downtrodden.
It's also worth noting we finally see how broke Cloud City was, and it's probably why Lando betrayed Han and sold him out to Darth Vader. Clearly, he needed money for his people and it's easy enough to see that Lando desperately needed to find some way to make cash apart from gambling. Rescuing slaves wasn't going to pay the bills, and luckily for Vader, he had options for this slick smuggler to keep the lights on in the sky.