While discussing the shake-up on the set of the untitled Han Solo movie — the fact they haven’t just called it “Kessel Run: A Star Wars Story” is still surprising — actor Donald Glover told The Hollywood Reporter about his meeting with Billy Dee Williams. The latter actor originated the role of Lando Calrissian in the second and third Star Wars films and Glover, taking over the role for the new film, wanted to pick his brain.
“I was like, ‘I’ve always felt like this character could do this, and he represents this, and I kind of feel like he comes from here, and it’s very obvious he has a lot of taste, so maybe he grew up seeing that from afar? Because I’m like that,” Glover recalled. “Maybe he saw it from other planets and was like, ‘I want to be that.’ ” Which, in and of itself is an interesting take on the character. In The Empire Strikes Back, he is presented as a sophisticated city administrator, but the few references to his past with Han, including his prior ownership of the Millennium Falcon, suggests he flew an interesting course to Cloud City.
After presenting his ideas to Williams, Glover said the older actor’s reply was simple: “Yeah, I don’t know about all that. Just be charming.”
Charm is the very heart of the character, but you have to wonder how Lando will be featured in the film. Will the movie include the card game in which he lost the Falcon to Han? That seems likely. But it might be interesting to see all three working as the ship’s crew. Of course, my own fannish ideas for this film are much more of a standalone James Bond style adventure than what will no doubt be a film full of references to the main saga.
But for all the presumed faults and production woes — original directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord were replaced by Ron Howard following months of deep creative conflicts with Lucasfilm — the Han Solo movie at least has the right people in the key parts. Glover and Alden Ehrenriech are the right people to play younger versions of Lando and Han; even if Glover suspects he would not have been Howard’s first choice. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the final film, which opens on May 25th, 2018.