Star Wars: What We’d Like to See in a Lando TV series

Rumors of a new Star Wars TV series on Disney+ focusing on Donald Glover's Lando Calrissian have us wondering what elements of the gambler's backstory could be explored.

Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story
Photo: Disney

Solo: A Star Wars story brought Lando Calrissian into the new canon in a big way. Donald Glover wore the cape for the prequel, and was lauded as one of the highlights of the film. However, Solo didn’t perform well enough at the box office to warrant any big screen sequels or additional spinoffs.

But with The Mandalorian a major success on Disney+, rumors about upcoming Star Wars live-action shows are booming. Lando is no exception. Glover is rumored to be returning to the role of for his own Disney+ series. Officially, nothing has been said about the possibility (and representatives for Mr. Glover have not responded to inquiries from Den of Geek as of this writing). As of July 14, Solo star Alden Ehrenreich said he had only heard rumors of upcoming Solo-related spinoffs.

Either way, Lando clearly has staying power. His return in The Rise of Skywalker was original actor Billy Dee Williams’ first reprisal of the character since Return of the Jedi. While Lando is alive and well (and maybe helping ex-stormtroopers) in the current sequel era of the Star Wars franchise, his future is unknown. Meanwhile, the franchise is all-in on exploring the Original Trilogy and the Dark Times after the Republic fell. If Donald Glover does return, that’s the era he would best suit.

If Lando headlined his own TV series, what should it include?

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Characterization Closer to the Original Trilogy

Lando’s The Rise of Skywalker appearance wasn’t particularly deep, but Glover’s performance in Solo returned to the two major aspects of the character: an out-for-himself scoundrel ethos that hides a moral center. In The Empire Strikes Back, Lando reluctantly helps his friends even with Darth Vader threatening him directly.

Lando fulfills the Star Wars fantasy of being a witty, happy-go-lucky smuggler with an extensive wardrobe and the ability to escape any dead-end situation, and he’s also a good guy at heart.

Acknowledge L3’s Role in Lando’s Piloting Career

Lando owned the Millennium Falcon before Han Solo, but had very different attitude toward the ship. Much of that was because of L3, a droid whose brain was later uploaded into the Falcon‘s computers. She did most of the hard work of piloting.

L3’s death explains why the Millennium Falcon has multiple droid brains and perhaps some of its other quirks in the Original Trilogy. Maybe a new show could explore Lando’s grief, or how L3 is settling into the ship (although since it’s in Han’s possession now, that might be less likely).

Lando’s bond with the Falcon eventually comes back into play when he helps destroy the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi, so the show has some room to show Lando becoming a better pilot and reuniting with his former partner. Lando also had a droid friend in the Expanded Universe, a five-armed wanderer named Vuffi Raa, and maybe they could show up here.

A Return to the Expanded Universe with Treasure Hunts

In the early ’80s, Lando starred in a series of adventure novels that established previously unknown elements of his history. These books cast him as a con artist turned treasure hunter that ends up accidentally helping alien civilizations recover lost artifacts. The first book, Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu, was referenced as happening in canon in one capacity or another, according to  Solo: A Star Wars Story The Official Guide.

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Either way, ancient ruins and alien treasure could be a fun topic for a television show that would lend itself to an episodic format.

Give Solo Side Characters a Change to Shine

Like any Star Wars movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story proved that some of the most memorable characters appeared on the sidelines. Rebel leader Enfys Nest and Qi’Ra, once Han Solo’s fellow orphan and now the boss of the Crimson Dawn gang, could both kick off exiting stories if they cross paths with Lando again.

Enfys could ask Lando to help out the Rebellion, which is still a fledgling effort at the time of Solo. After all, we know he later helps Leia often.

Qi’Ra is the opposite of a scoundrel with a heart of gold: she grabbed power in an effort to protect herself, and a television show could develop her further as an antagonist for Lando who already knows some of the most critical parts of his history.

Don’t Forget Star Wars Rebels

Speaking of Rebels, a Lando show set during the dark times has some crossover potential with the animated series Star Wars Rebels since Lando will later work with the crew of the Ghost. Hera Syndulla was operating as a Rebel in the early days, and although based on their meeting in Rebels it doesn’t seem likely they knew each other before, they could wind up involved in the same missions if Lando gets into trouble with the Empire. Another Rebels connection could be found if Lando ever has dealings with Jedi like Kanan Jarrus on the run from the Empire.

Make Star Wars Money Entertaining

As Lando is quick to remind people, he is sometimes a legitimate businessman, and knows his way around running Cloud City as well as he knows how to play cards. The Empire Strikes Back shows him as a competent leader motivated to protect his people from the Empire, and not just because he needs them to make a profit.

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Admittedly, it’s hard to make the details of finance and numbers interesting enough visually to carry a whole episode, let alone an entire series, especially with science fiction currency that needs to mean something to the casual viewer. But if anyone can figure out how to make viewers invested in the Coruscant stock market or something along those lines, Lando would be a good character for it.

Or maybe the show should stick to Sabacc.

Explore Lando’s Family, Without Making The Universe Smaller

The Rise of Skywalker implied that ex-stormtrooper Jannah may or may not have been Lando’s kidnapped daughter. It was an odd conversation, presenting with a wink and a nudge something important and emotional that may or may not have happened.

However, the subject of Lando’s family is still interesting as long as Star Wars avoids a big pitfall. It’s not a good look to imply that most of the Black characters in the series are related, even if Finn, Jannah, and background characters have improved the franchise’s often wildly skewed racial demographics. The Dark Times would be too early to show any connection to Jannah anyway, and Lando isn’t one to settle down.

Some clarification on the family he came from would also be interesting – who are the Calrissians? How did they fare during the fall of the Republic?