When the Solo: A Star Wars Story trailer dropped recently, everyone had one name on their lips.
It’s not that people weren’t excited about seeing a young Han, or finding out how he met Chewie, or seeing the maiden flight of a surprisingly clean Millennium Falcon. It’s that there he was. Lando frigging Calrissian. In a fur coat.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been obsessed with Lando. The reason I loved Han was his clear affection for the Rebels and his sudden change of heart at the 11th hour, swooping in to give Luke an assist as he delivered the fatal blow to the Death Star. It was the first time I saw, in fiction, a bad(ish) guy turn good. It’s one thing to be died-in-the-wool pure as driven snow, it’s another to wrench yourself out of the mud and show a little love to someone else. Plus, that whoop. What a whoop.
But then, there was Lando. Was he a friend of Han’s? Did Han even trust him? They had no choice. And then, wham. Betrayal. Lando had agreed to hand over his old buddy and the rebels to Vader, on the proviso they wouldn’t be hurt. In return, his kingdom would be untouched.
At this point, I expected Lando to buckle and meekly accept Vader’s edict. Instead, he activated his freaky android friend, Lobot, and embarked on a rescue mission. The thing that struck me about this whole situation, even as a kid, was that Lando’s decision was a shitty one, but it was reasonable. it was deeply distasteful, but hey. It was politics. He was looking out for his own people. A handful of lives for an entire city. Not a bad exchange.
So what does he do when it becomes clear the deal has gone south? He grabs a blaster, rouses a resistance against the occupation and gets his friends out. He then goes deep-cover in Jabba’s palace to bust out Han, and flies the Falcon into the jaws of almost certain death. Effectively, he does what Han did, only moreso. And he wears a cape whilst doing it.
It’s not that I don’t think Solo: A Star Wars Story will be good. I’m sure it’ll be good! But here’s what I’d like to see next:
LANDO: A STAR WARS STORY
Picture this: Ocean’s Eleven in space. A dense, interlocking heist film with Lando as the Clooney figure, the head of the crew. A ragtag bunch of misfits, Rogue One style, only this time they’re knocking off a space casino. Hell, make it Canto Bight, give that weird, patchy, flimsy portion of The Last Jedi some meaning, some backstory.
We know that Lando ends up with custody of The Falcon at some point – set it during that period. Hell, make a TV show. And for the love of god, make Donald Glover do the soundtrack. If you’ve not yet heard the excellent Childish Gambino album Awaken, My Love! you haven’t lived. It’s the kind of crunchy, swarming, goofy funk record that Lando would absolutely blast through the Falcon’s speakers whilst dodging blockades.
Long story short… Dear Taika Waititi, please make a synth-soaked Lando Space-casino heist movie with Donald Glover’s latest album as the soundtrack. It would be very, extremely good.
There are, of course, other great ideas for spinoff films, but there’s something special about Lando.
Especially in the wake of Black Panther, it’s a perfect time to create a more diverse, more ballsy entry into the pantheon – giving a trilogy to Rian Johnson is fine, I guess, but giving one to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the creators of Game of Thrones is a little less okay. Given that these two have a show in the works called Confederate, set in a present day parallel universe America where slavery is legal, I’m far less interested in what they have to say about Star Wars than someone like Ryan Coogler… who now that I think about it, would make some very tasty Star Wars.
So why not use Solo as a launchpad? As an entryway into the adventures of a young Lando? Why not give the reins of this idea to someone like Coogler? Hell, Black Panther has the most pre-sales of any superhero film, so you know he can ship units.
Go on, Disney. Take a gamble.
It’s what Lando would do.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is released in Australia on May 24th.