Thursday, August 13, 2009

On Lando Calrissian

Lando Calrissian is quite possibly the baddest dude in the Star Wars universe. He's a smooth-talking hustler, gambling smuggler-entrepaneur. Lando's skill at gambling wins him the Millenium Falcon, which he ultimately loses at the sabacc tables to Han Solo. Soon, Lando and Han part ways. Eventually Solo, along with Chewie, Leia, Threepio, and Artoo, find their way to Bespin, where Lando is the Administrator of Cloud City. The gang seeks refuge from the Empire, and Han appeals to his old friend's morals to help hide them. Calrissian agrees, only to betray them later, delivering Han into the hands of Boba Fett and unknowingly Luke into the hands of Darth Vader.

This is all old news to you, most likely. If somehow you've not seen Empire Strikes Back, then it may be slightly confusing, but I'm hoping that's not the case. However, in the final installment of the movies, Lando redeems himself by helping Leia rescue the carbonite-frozen Solo from Jabba the Hutt. Furthermore, he joins the Rebel Alliance, piloting the Falcon during the war above Endor.

Lando is one of the most misunderstood characters in the Star Wars universe. Sure, he betrayed his friends, but it was acting out of personal safety. While this is viewed as a lapse in moral character and the actions of a scuzz-bucket, it is completely within Lando's character. He is, after all, a survivor, and his personal safety is more important than anyone elses. The only other thing that seems to drive this Lando is the prospect of making money.

If Lando were to stop there, his character would indeed be weak and poor. We American's would react with a "How could he do that?" attitude, wondering where his redemption was hiding. Thankfully, as previously mentioned, Lando does go on to redeem himself, numerous times. His change in character is dramatic. Sure, he's still the same smooth-talking son-of-a-gun he always was, but now he's got a moral compass that is sympathetic to the Alliance (and later the New Republic, etc.) Lando risks his life many times for his friends, and his trust is won very quickly by everyone.

Soon enough the "ladies-man" is settled down and in love with a pregnant wife. He's ready to retire and live out the rest of his years in peace, enjoying his fortune he's managed to amass.

Yes, I like Lando Calrissian. He's not one of the major Star Wars characters (that is he's not a Skywalker or Solo), but he's still very important and crucial. Plus, I like his smooth-talking, suave ways. And, he wore a cape for crying out loud. All of these things make Lando an entertaining, complex/simple character.

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