I know this is an old subject that has no doubt been discussed ad nauseum by Star Wars fans, but it really only hit home with me recently. Lando Calrissian got a bad rap for no good reason that I could see.
A long time ago…
Actually it wasn’t that long ago…it was just a little while back. I took a weekend and went through all six of the Star Wars movies.
I’m not sure what happened, but man did I see that whole Cloud City scene a lot differently. Maybe it’s just a result of getting older (don’t think I watched this movie since the late 90’s re-release), but I ended up being kind of pissed off at Lando’s treatment.
So let’s break down the case:
The biggest accusation leveled at Lando is that he supposedly betrayed Han Solo, turning him over to the Empire to save Cloud City from occupation by the Empire.
I can remember being a kid and thinking “Damn you, Lando!! WHYYYYY?!? Not Han!!” Then they lowered Han into the carbonite chamber and froze him good.
See, the prevailing sentiment is that Lando should have stood up to the Empire (actually meaning standing up to Darth Vader in person!) in order to help Han and crew.
Instead, Lando turned them over, yet came around on the back end to help them out. Which turns out to be a Hell of a lot more than they deserved.
So let’s just closely examine what really happened.
Han Solo, already on the run from Jabba the Hutt for screwing up an illegal smuggling job, now actually has the Empire on his ass since he became a part of the Rebel Alliance.
They get in a jam and he decided to drop by Cloud City to get help from his old buddy Lando.
Now let’s look at this from Lando’s perspective:
He’s just trying to run his mining operation and mind his own business. Then Han shows up and brings this crap right to his doorstep? Involving him in a galactic struggle that really has F#@!-all to do with him.
So Lando was supposed to just fall on his sword? He’s supposed to stand up to Darth Vader plus a whole gang of Stormtroopers and possibly be Force-choked, imprisoned or even killed?? HELL NAW.
Actually, the Empire got there first. They didn’t even follow Han there. They just looked up His known associates and swarmed on the closest guy. Han might never have showed up at all and Lando would STILL have been screwed.
Thanks, Han. The personal shit you got yourself into has now spilled over into Lando’s life.
Lando and Leia
We all know Lando and Leia never got together, but bottom-line: he coulda got that if he wanted it. He just didn’t really want to, that’s all.
Check out the way she looks at him when they first meet.
As you can tell, she had been looking to have a chocolate fantasy her entire life, but the whole rebellion thing happened and she never got her shot.
Of course, just a little later in the movie she starts acting up, acting all sadity like she didn’t want that Black thug passion in her life. We all know the truth, though.
I guess that doesn’t have anything to do with anything but I thought I would put that out there.
Do you guys remember why Han got put in the carbonite? Of course you do. It was as a test run to see if he could survive it. Darth Vader wanted to freeze Luke to take him to the Emperor, but had to make sure Luke wouldn’t die.
Unfortunately, this happened as a direct result of Lando trying to save Luke from this fate. He told Vader “Hey you can’t do this, it will probably kill him.”
That’s when Vader said “Crap, you’re right. let’s test it on your buddy first.”
So again here’s Lando desperately trying to save the life of someone he doesn’t even know but the position he’s in keeps getting worse. You can see with each step that Lando is pretty messed up about what’s happening, but is he supposed to whip out a lightsaber and duel it out with Vader? Look at what happened to Luke when he did that and he actually had a little Jedi training.
So after Han is put in the carbonite, Vader decides to go ahead and demand that Leia and Chewbacca be given to him. Again, Lando puts up as much fight as he dares to without being Force-choked out, but you can tell that’s the moment he decides enough is enough.
Essentially he saves the day by pulling the old okey-doke on the Empire troops, freeing Leia and Chewbacca from certain torture and possible (probable) death.
Instead of thanking him, these crazy mofos turn around and start choking him out!
DAMN. No good deed goes unpunished. He didn’t even have to do all that. He coulda just washed his hands of it and been done with it.
After she started talking trash and had the Wookie choke me out I sure as hell would have been done then.
Man, I would have said “Take your asses on then! ‘F’ you AND Han! If you don’t need my help then PEACE!!! DUECES!!”. Then the credits would have rolled. THE END.
But no, luckily for them Lando felt badly (even though he logically had no reason to) and still wanted to help.
Is it racist????
I really don’t think George Lucas sat back and thought “let’s find somebody Black to take the heat for all the shit this character does”, but I’m forced to always wonder now why the Black character has to be the polarizing figure of the series?
I wish he could have been an out and out good guy like the rest, but maybe I should be glad there was someone to represent at all. Although even as a kid I never wanted to be Lando. I always wanted to be Luke -either Empire Luke or Return of the Jedi Luke. Star Wars Luke was kind of a punk and we all know it.
This was a real quick one but I actually feel pretty good about it.
Here’s the still from the movie I used for reference:
And here’s the initial rough sketch of Lando (6H pencil).
Now here’s the final drawing (built up with 2B and 6B pencil) I used for coloring in Photoshop.
As you can see, here’s the final Lando art.
Sometimes I have trouble with likenesses, but I think I got pretty close with this Lando piece.
Since I can’t shut up about this one I decided to do a quick video and do some complaining. I sure hope this doesn’t get yanked down.
I think because I’m running my big mouth with commentary over the top of the movie scenes there might be some kind of fair use or something. Here goes everything (minor cursing ahead, too):
UPDATE: One year later the video got yanked. Sorry folks, but that’s the risks on YouTube!
Finally, this is a video that made the rounds on the web last year. I still burst out laughing every time I see it. This is how Lando should have been done from jump street!!
Anyway enjoy, and let me know your thoughts in the comments, y’all. Peace!