BySam Cooper, writer at
Spastic writer and a lover of all things with the word "espresso" in the title.
Sam Cooper

Out of all the characters of Star Wars, Han Solo is a sparkling favorite among fans. He’s got the charisma and swagger of a smuggler, the dry humor of a man who’s seen the world, and the heart of an adventurer. But sometimes, we let Han Solo overshadow the best side character in — Lando Calrissian. He isn’t just Han’s old friend, he's the catalyst that gave The Empire Strikes Back its whiplash intensity and flipped the plot upside down. Here's how Lando, side character extraordinaire, changed the Star Wars game.

Lando Shows You The World

Think about all the breathtaking set pieces in the original Star Wars saga. The forest of Endor, the tundra of Hoth, and the massive Death Star. They're all amazing, but Cloud City is the most captivating. Thanks to Lando, is the first Star Wars movie that expands the story and brings those breathtaking visuals into play. As the administrator of Cloud City, Lando draws us deeper into the multifaceted world building. His surroundings play off his own personality, and even though the sinister aspect of his character arc throws a dark blanket over The Empire Strikes Back, Lando and his Cloud City reinvented the visuals of Star Wars.

'Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back' [Credit: Lucasfilm]
'Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back' [Credit: Lucasfilm]

He Ups The Ante

Lando Calrissian takes the plot of The Empire Strikes Back and lights it on fire. When he betrays Han, Luke, and Leia, he changes the movie in two important ways. First, the intensity of the story spikes. The unthinkable happens to the characters we all love — and by the hand of none other than Han’s old friend. However, the sellout brings an element of moral gray to the table. Previously, Star Wars had shaped its conflict with two distinct sides — The Empire and the Rebels. Lando adds a new side. He paints a different color on the war, and it changes the way the plot of Star Wars moves and breathes.

Lando Is A Force Of His Own

Side characters don’t often get much story space to work with, and while the same goes for Lando, he makes the most of his time on the screen. Right from the start, his electric personality draws you into Cloud City and builds Han’s mysterious backstory. He brings out the worst in Luke and Leia. The betrayal even draws involvement from Chewbacca. As a character, Lando stands on his own. He adds color and texture to the emotional landscape of the movies, and he establishes himself as a force to be reckoned with, especially in The Return of the Jedi. Star Wars wouldn’t be nearly as vibrant without Lando Calrissian.

'Star Wars: Return of the Jedi' [Credit: Lucasfilm]
'Star Wars: Return of the Jedi' [Credit: Lucasfilm]

might be one of the most captivating characters, but Lando Calrissian takes the Star Wars movies by storm. He helps expand the universe and bring take the plot to a new level of intensity. The shape of the conflict changes at his hand, and the color scheme of the movies grows deeper. Lando might not be first person that comes to mind when you think about the most powerful characters in Star Wars, but he’s the man that played the game, won the game, and changed the game.

Check out how the young Lando stacks up against the original Lando below:

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Who's your favorite Star Wars side character?


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