Donald Glover is following the footsteps of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story, but he found a way to make the character his own for the prequel. As Lucasfilm finally kicks off the marketing campaign for the spinoff, the multi-talented Glover has already emerged as a runaway star. All he's had to do is flash a charming smile and strike a pose in a coat to win fans over. People are starting to warm up to Alden Ehrenreich as the new Han, but Lando is poised to steal the show once the film opens in May.
The character's inclusion in Solo is very exciting, seeing that Lando has arguably been underserved in the saga. After a key supporting role in The Empire Strikes Back, Calrissian was relegated mostly to action beats in Return of the Jedi and hasn't even been mentioned in the sequel trilogy. This is an opportunity to flesh Lando out a bit, and Glover's approach to the part should lead to a fascinating portrayal.
In an interview with EW, Glover discussed how he put his own stamp on Lando. He did receive pointers from Williams prior to filming, but since Solo is set before the events of the original trilogy (when Lando is already in charge of an entire city), Glover needed to assume the mentality of a younger Lando out to prove himself:
I always like seeing younger characters when they are in younger times because it tells a lot about how they got to where they are. Like, when I was a teenager I felt like I knew a lot, but I didn’t. By the time we meet him in Empire Strikes Back, he owns the city already. [Laughs] So, I wanted to show the person he was before that was even possible. Like, I don’t even know if he thought that was possible at the time.
I think he’s probably a little more over the top because he’s not old enough to be like, you don’t have to push so hard by the time you own the city. By then he’s like, I don’t need to prove anything to anybody, you know?
Since marketing is (rightfully) focusing primarily on Ehrenreich at this point in time, there have only been brief glimpses of Glover in the footage released to date. Odds are, most of his performance will be saved for the premiere, but this is still interesting insight into Glover's method. The actor also opened up on how Lando and Han differ, saying the former "likes rules" and tries to discover loopholes he can benefit from, while the latter can get away with breaking the rules. It's already been confirmed Han and Lando meet for the first time in Solo, so it should be fun to see how they hit it off. If Empire is anything to go by, their dynamic is a complicated one as they go back and forth between being rivals and friends.
By shedding light on the pasts of multiple original trilogy characters (Chewie is here too), Solo should be similar to Rogue One in the sense that it enhances elements of those classic films upon rewatch. That's the benefit of doing these anthology movies that are so intricately tied to the main saga. People still have reservations about a Han Solo prequel, but so far it looks like Solo could be another worthwhile entry in the franchise by giving audiences a fun romp through space with plenty of charisma to spare.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019