Recently, I posted a great video from Tha Gospel According to Mark with a Cee, entitled Solo: A Star Wars story actress “breaks the glass ceiling”? He comments on an article about Thandie Newton being cast in Solo. Thandie Newton makes the following comment:
To which Mark responds in his video:
“This is the part where we’re going to act like Billy Dee Williams didn’t exist. Right? Billy Dee Williams. This is unprecedented. It’s never happened before, that black people have been cast in Star Wars. There was no Billy Dee Williams. There was no Samuel L. Jackson. James Earl Jones didn’t voice Darth Vader. Right? That’s what you’re telling me?”
That really struck a chord with me, because one of the primary things I find so offensive about this whole affair with the current state of Lucasfilm, is their complete and total dismissal of Lando Clarissian. The ridiculous performances that Lucasfilm reps put on as though they’re making great civil rights strides which were actually made 40 years ago are repulsive. It disrespects not just the Lando Calrissian the character, but Billy Dee Williams the actor also. Both the man and the character deserve their respect and recognition in Star Wars history and lore.
Lando Calrissian is probably the most complex character in all of the films. Certainly he’s far more compelling than any character in the Sequel Trilogy, including the white ones.
Many just see Lando as the man who betrayed Han. But he’s far more complex than that.
Lando was a man who was caught between a rock and a hard place. He didn’t have much of a choice, under the oppression of Darth Vader and the Empire. He had few difficult choices to make, and none of the choices were good. He hadn’t seen Han in probably years, so his primary concern at the time was the safety and security of the citizens in his Cloud City.
It’s likely that Lando may have discouraged Han from coming to Cloud City to begin with. He had his Cloud Cars fire on the Falcon during their approach. When Han landed and came out of the Falcon, Lando said, “You got a lot of nerve coming here. After what you pulled.” And then he waited. Lando was probably hoping that the bad reception might make Han turn around and go somewhere else. But Lando couldn’t keep up the charade for very long, without Vader and his troops becoming suspicious of Lando’s motivations.
It’s also worth noting, that the deal that Lando made with the Empire under duress, was not how the deal ended up turning out. “I am altering the deal, pray I don’t alter it any further.” Lando tried to save his friends and offer some push back, “that was never a part of this deal, nor was giving Han to this bounty hunter!” But Lando could only do so much before the Sith Lord might start Force choking him. Lando did the very best he could under difficult circumstances.
Ultimately Lando redeemed himself from an impossible scenario, and became a General in the Rebellion. The rag tag Rebellion didn’t operate like a normal military force like the Empire. They had to get recurits and leaders from wherever they could. So Lando’s executive experience at Cloud City would have made him a natural choice as a general.
Thank goodness Billy Dee Williams hasn’t showed up in this Sequel Trilogy. Who knows how they would humiliate him.