Lando Calrissian was great in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But, he would have been better suited for a smaller role in The Force Awakens.
Although Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has its issues, Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian was not one of them. However, Lando could’ve been used better — but in a different movie.
Thirty-six years after the release of Return of the Jedi, Lando’s suave and colorful wardrobe returned to the fight against tyranny in the galaxy far, far away. He was instrumental in two critical parts of the film: the search for the Sith Wayfinder, and the final battle between the Resistance and the Final Order. It was a joy to see Lando back on the big screen, and Williams’ excellent portrayal was one of The Rise of Skywalker’s best features.
Although Lando’s return was great, there was a better time to use him, and it was in the very beginning to The Force Awakens.
The final line of Episode VII’s opening crawl reads, “Leia has sent her most daring pilot on a secret mission to Jakku, where an old ally has discovered a clue to Luke’s whereabouts…” This ally is Lor San Tekka, a member of the Church of Force who had not appeared in a previous Star Wars film.
This scene, which includes the first hints of Kylo Ren’s family (as alluded to by Tekka), is emotional. It is acted beautifully, and the juxtaposition between Kylo Ren’s ruthlessness and Finn’s humanity is striking. The scene ends with Tekka’s death at the hands of Ren, one of the most emotionless deaths in all of Star Wars.
If Lando replaced Tekka, it would have heightened the scene’s intensity and would have revealed Kylo Ren’s apathy and strong alignment with the Dark Side. Specifically, the following line of dialogue would have been emotionally poignant, especially when Ren strikes down (who should have been) Lando.
“The First Order rose from the dark side… you did not.”
“I’ll show you the dark side.”
“You may try, but you cannot deny the truth that is your family.”
This interaction would have established an emotional connection between the two characters and captivated the audience much more than the original scene did — although it was still an exceptional opening to the film.
Replacing Tekka with Lando in the opening scene would have made the interaction with and Kylo Ren powerful and would have started the sequel trilogy off with a bang. Further, with no Lando in Episode IX, his role could have been occupied by Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico, whose screentime in the final movie amounts to a cameo.
If Rose were the one tasked with gathering support for the Resistance in their final battle, it would have continued her arc from The Last Jedi and finished her role in Star Wars in a significant way.
Lando was one of the best parts of The Rise of Skywalker, but he would have been better suited for Lor San Tekka’s role in The Force Awakens.
What do you think with how Lando Calrissian was used?