Hello, what have we here? Thanks to Solo: A Star Wars Story and the pitch-perfect casting of Donald Glover as the coolest con man in the galaxy, not to mention Billy Dee Williams’ return to the character in The Rise of Skywalker, Lando Calrissian is back in a big way! And while the future of Glover’s Lando is still a bit murky after Solo‘s tepid reception, there has been no end to the rumors that the actor might get to reprise his role in a follow-up TV series on Disney+. Unfortunately, nothing about a potential Lando TV series has been confirmed thus far by Disney or Lucasfilm, and inquiries by Den of Geek have gone unanswered.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a Lando void in our lives to fill. With that in mind, we present a short but fun reading list featuring the original owner of the Millennium Falcon, the man who brought back capes as a fashion accessory, and the gambler who took down the second Death Star (with the help of Wedge Antilles and Nien Nunb) – Lando Calrissian!
Let’s take a look…and maybe some of these stories could end up influencing the Lando Disney+ TV series if that ends up actually being a thing that’s happening.
Marvel’s Star Wars #56-57 (1981) – Legends
Released just months after The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars #56-57 was the very first original Lando Calrissian Expanded Universe story. And by the maker’s bristling beard, what a creative team! The great David Michelinie, Louise Jones (before she was Simonson), and the man himself, Walt Simonson, all fleshing out the stories of not only Lando but the residents of Bespin as well.
In this two-part story, Lando and his new Rebel pals go up against the con man’s reprogrammed cyborg pal, Lobot, to stop some Ugnaunt machinations. That’s right, I said Ugnaunt machinations, and I’m not sorry. These issues feature Lando at his scheming best as he must save his bald cyborg buddy and regain control of Bespin from the Empire.
Any deep dive into Lando Calrissian has to begin with these two issues because this was the first non-film take on the scoundrel and they feature some of comics’ best visionaries in a story that really fleshes out Cloud City.
Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu – Legends
Yes, folks, Lando starred in his own trilogy of novels in 1983, which shows just how much of a splash the character had made post-Empire. These novels served to flesh out the character for fans who loved his victory run during the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi just a few months before.
Think about it, Luke didn’t have his own novels but Lando (and Han) did! Perhaps the more literary-minded Star Wars fans favored the scoundrels? Anyway, Lando having his own series was a pretty big deal because in the bygone days of 1983, there weren’t too many prominent sci-fi series featuring a Black hero.
Written by L. Neil Smith, The Lando Calrissian Adventures were filled with fast-paced pulpy goodness. These books were flashbacks to when Lando was captain of the Millennium Falcon and before he became the administrator of Cloud City. Actually, it will be interesting to compare these EU adventures to what we’re going to get in Solo.
In Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu, which might be the pulpiest title ever, Lando tries to con his way into a treasure horde as big as a star system. The plot is a bit sparse to be honest, but Smith nails the Lando character, as the future big man of Cloud City tries to strike it rich.
And sure, this may technically be a Legends story, but Donald Glover’s Lando namedrops it in Solo: A Star Wars Story so…maybe it’s canon after all?
Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon – Legends
Okay, nope: Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon is the pulpiest book title ever. Did I mention that Lando’s companion in these novels is a five-armed droid named Vuffi Raa? Kinda makes you wonder about Lando’s droid companion in Solo, doesn’t it?
Anyway, in Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon, Lando travels to a star system that caters to immoral gamblers and scoundrels. Smith really has Lando’s cadence down in this one. Overall, the novel reads like an early eighties attempt at a sci-fi Rat Pack film.
In fact, just make this season one of the Disney+ show.
Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka – Legends
Oh wow, the title Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka is just transcendent. ThonBoka!
In the final Lando novel, Smith has his titular mustached hero and Vuffi Raa race to save an alien species in danger of extinction. This unusually altruistic act brings the pair into renewed conflict with the baddie from Mindharp of Sharu – Rokur Gepta, the Sorcerer of Tund! That’s right, I said the Sorceror of Tund! Doesn’t really have the same ring as “Dark Lord of the Sith,” but it’s still pretty awesome.
And thus, with Starcave of ThonBoka, Lando’s OG EU adventures came to an end. But what a ride! Mindharps, Flamewinds, Starcaves, capes, and mustaches… What’s not to love? One has to wonder why there was no Lobot love in these books. No disrespect meant to Vuffi Raa.
Lando: Double or Nothing – Canon
A prequel comic that leads into the events of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Lando: Double or Nothing follows the con man on his own adventures before meeting Han Solo. In a sense, the five-part comic series seeks to recreate the feeling of Smith’s Legends Lando Calrissian Adventures, as Lando takes a job that puts him on a high-stakes collision course with the Empire.
When Lando finds himself in major debt, he has no choice but to take on a job from freedom fighter Kristiss, who hires “the greatest smuggler in the galaxy” to transport weapons to people enslaved by the Empire on the planet Kullgroon.
This isn’t the kind of job the self-interested Lando is usually up for and the story does a great job of showing that there is more to the con man than just credits. He secretly has a bit of a heart. By the end of the story, we start to see the beginnings of Lando as a revolutionary ready to take on the Empire.
Lando’s Luck – Canon
While not exactly essential Lando reading, the middle-grade novel Lando’s Luck by Justina Ireland is still a whole lot of fun. Like Lando: Double or Nothing, this novel is another standalone adventure set before the events of Solo.
When Lando is arrested for smuggling on the planet Hynestia, he has no choice but to accept another smuggling mission in exchange for his freedom. The planet’s queen orders him to bring a sacred artifact, the Solstice Globe, to the Empire, but when the truth behind the mysterious orb is revealed, things get a lot more complicated. Were Lando to complete his mission, it could destroy an entire planet!
Big stakes, fun supporting characters, and a whole lot of L3 quips later, Lando’s Luck is one of the best new canon Lando stories to date.
Marvel’s Lando – Canon
But the Lobot love is on display 32 years later in the Disney era! In 2015, Lando Calrissian returned to the pages of Marvel Comics in this awesome miniseries by Charles Soule and Alex Maleev.
Set in the days before Lando became Baron Administrator of Cloud City, Lando and Lobot set out to steal a valuable pleasure cruiser filled with invaluable intel and treasure. Too bad for Lando that the ship belongs to Emperor Palpatine. Ooops.
High adventure follows as Lando must pay a terrible price for his actions. Marvel’s Lando redefines the character for the new Disney canon and serves as a perfect bridge between the character’s appearance in Solo and The Empire Strikes Back.
Last Shot – Canon
If you loved the dynamic between Han and Lando in Solo, there’s plenty more where that came from in the novel Last Shot by Daniel Jose Older. Set both before the Original Trilogy and after Return of the Jedi, the book explores the evolving relationship between the two smugglers and how their friendship is still complicated even after fighting alongside each other against the Empire.
The book is broken up into four different storylines, each exploring a different adventure that ties back to Han and Lando in some way. There’s even an L3 chapter!
Most intriguingly, the book shows Han and Lando’s lives have changed with the rise of the New Republic. No longer part of a ragtag group of freedom fighters, this duo of scoundrels is now spending more of their time in committee meetings than in sketchy cantinas in the Outer Rim. But when the chance for a new adventure comes knocking, Han and Lando answer the call!