Like many people, I really enjoyed The Force Awakens when it came out in 2015. While admitting that it was derivative and somewhat repetitive of the original Star Wars, I thought it was an entertaining movie and did a great job of both re-starting the franchise and introducing new, compelling characters. I think I saw it five or six times in the theater and I own it on blu ray.
But even though The Force Awakens brought back original trilogy characters Han Solo, Princess (now General) Leia and Chewbacca, there was apparently no place for Lando Calrissian. And he apparently isn’t going to appear in The Last Jedi either, though I would love to be wrong about that.
I’m disappointed by that for several reasons but mostly because Lando is probably my favorite character from the original trilogy besides Darth Vader. Where Han is a bit brash and rough around the edges, Lando is smooth, suave and seemingly always in control. Even when he’s thrown for a loop when Vader alters the deal in Empire, Lando isn’t down for long. And let’s not forget that he’s the one who blows up the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. He’s part scoundrel, part hero in all the best possible ways.
It’s also disappointing that he wasn’t in Force Awakens because there’s a perfect place for him. Lando could have easily replaced the character of Maz Kanata and owned the bar that Han, Chewie, Rey and Finn visit mid-way through the movie. It would have taken some minor re-writes, if only because you wouldn’t expect Lando to impart the wisdom/guidance to Rey that Maz does, but I think it could have still worked. Plus, it would have made sense for Lando to have Luke’s/Anakin’s lightsaber since Luke loses it in Cloud City in Empire. It’s not a stretch to imagine that someone loyal to Lando finds it in the bowels of Cloud City and gives it to him at some point.
There may be a dozen “good reasons” why Lando wasn’t in Force Awakens or why he won’t be in Last Jedi. But they aren’t obvious reasons. And whatever those reasons are, I hope he shows up in Episode IX.
More Lando is always a good thing.
And one day I’ll write about the time I met Billie Dee Williams in a hotel bar in Memphis.1
1. I did. You can read about it here.