Lando Calrissian is an arms dealer, a thief, a womanizer and a gambler, but he has a spotless criminal record!
Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) is the titular hero in the latest chapter of the "Star Wars" saga -- "Solo: A Star Wars Story" is in theaters Friday -- but much of the early buzz for the film has been about Donald Glover's portrayal of Lando Calrissian, the most charming scoundrel in the galaxy.
When fans first met Lando he was the ruler of Cloud City and played by Billy Dee Williams. Right away, as he kissed Princess Leia's (Carrie Fisher) hand, we knew this guy was going to be trouble. But then, that disarming smile, that twinkle in his eye. Oh yes, this guy was all about trouble, but the kind you don't mind getting into. Glover brings that same twinkle to his portrayal, as seen in trailers for the hotly-anticipated film.
But how much do people really know about Lando Calrissian? A long-time friend and rival of Han Solo (also Harrison Ford), we know that Han won the Millennium Falcon off of Lando in a card game -- and that Lando thinks he cheated. We know he has a history as checkered as Han does, but that he pulls it off with much more sophistication.
We know he betrayed the Rebels to protect his people on Cloud City, but reconsidered after seeing just how awful Darth Vader and the Empire could be. Ultimately, he became a hero of the Rebellion, and a general to boot. But there is so much more to Lando Calrissian than just his exploits with Han Solo and friends.
And while we await his solo movie, here are 12 facts about Lando Calrissian you should probably know before seeing the next (and chronologically first) chapter in his big-screen adventures.
He Is From Humble Beginnings
Lando is the son of Lindo from the planet Socorro on the Outer Rim. This world was described in greater detail in the non-canonical "Star Wars Legends" books as a near-lawless criminal haven and a mountainous world of volcanic eruptions. An environment like that certainly explains why he's so damned good at being so damned bad.
There Was Almost an Army of Landos
In early drafts of the "Star Wars" saga, George Lucas had not yet refined how his clones worked (as seen in the prequel trilogy). He considered having Lando be a clone, but a member of the ruling class over a whole planet of clones of himself that would have fought in the Clone Wars under his leadership. They'd have probably charmed the resistance into giving up.
He Won the Millennium Falcon in a Card Game First
This comes from the "Star Wars Legends" line of non-canon books, though Lucasfilm has been cherry-picking elements from them, but apparently Lando also won the Millennium Falcon in a game of sabacc. It remains to be seen if this element of the Falcon's story will be retained. Already sabacc has been revealed in "Solo," with particular attention given to a game between Lando and Han.
He Tried to Go Straight
Much as he took his job on Could City seriously, Lando also tried to go straight earlier in his career when he acquired a plot of land on the Outer Rim planet Lothal with the intention of starting a mining operation. Unfortunately, an Imperial blockade of the planet kept him from getting the equipment he needed. Some people just aren't meant to go straight, apparently, no matter how hard they try.
He Was an Arms Dealer During the War
During two appearances in "Star Wars Rebels," Lando agreed to help the show's crew in exchange for three military-grade shield generators. As revealed in the mobile game "Star Wars" Commander," Lando got into the arms dealing business early during the fighting between the Empire and the Rebellion.
He Once Stole Emperor Palpatine's Ship
To clear a debt, Lando agreed to do one last job for a loan shark. All he had to do was steal a pleasure starcraft from a nearby shipyard. Lando bargained that the shark could have the ship if he could have anything of value inside it. It turns out the "anything of value" was Sith artifacts, and the ship belonged to Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).
He Has No Criminal Record
It's remarkable, but true. As proven in an issue of "Star Wars Insider," when confronted by Imperial troopers after a card game gone wrong, Lando gladly gave them his real name. His record had been wiped squeaky clean thanks to a hacker friend once Lando decided to give up smuggling and gambling after losing the Falcon ... not that this conviction lasted long.
He Won His Cloud City Position Over Cards
Lando scored his position as Baron Administrator of Cloud City by beating the previous man to hold that position shortly after he lost the Falcon to Han Solo in the same way. Lando has long claimed that Han cheated in that game, so maybe the film will reveal the truth. Both men are scoundrels, so anything is possible. Lando did take this job seriously, bring in an era of prosperity and even cleaning up the streets of the criminal element.
Lobot Wasn't Always a Cyborg
In fact, Lobot was Lando's long-time friend and one of his most loyal allies. He served as the conscience and voice of reason for Lando before he sacrificed himself by giving his mind over to his cybernetic implants to save his friend, thus becoming the robotic sidekick we see in "The Empire Strikes Back." Lando has vowed to find a way to restore his friend's mind.
He Was Almost Killed Off
In early drafts of "Return of the Jedi," Lando Calrissian was going to completely redeem himself from his "Empire" betrayal by sacrificing himself and the Millennium Falcon in the film's climactic explosion that destroyed the second Death Star. Thankfully, that didn't happen as we would have lost a great character and an iconic ship!
He Has a Wife and Son
This one comes from the non-canonical "Star Wars Legends," so it's possible Lucasfilm may tweak or ignore it altogether. In those stories, though, Lando eventually settled down with Tendra Risant, a wealthy heiress from the Core World Sacorria, and had a son he named after himself, who goes by the nickname "Chance."
Lando Is Still Alive
Fans have been waiting patiently for Lando to make an appearance in the sequel trilogy, and now we know that he's still around, with Lucasfilm confirming he is still alive during the events of "The Last Jedi". We know he was still involved with political affairs as recently as six years prior to "The Force Awakens." In the novel "Bloodline," it was Lando's testimony on Leia's behalf that helped Leia assume the position of First Senator, despite being the daughter of Darth Vader. Here's hoping he shows up for "Episode IX!"