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Billy Dee Williams Had Charming Lando Advice For Donald Glover

Next year, Donald Glover will enter the Star Wars universe as a younger Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo stand-alone film. As originally portrayed by Billy Dee Williams, Lando was one of the biggest scoundrels to appear in the original trilogy, even more so than Han himself. And yet Lando is also one of the most beloved heroes in the franchise. Naturally, Glover wanted to hear Williams’ thoughts on his iconic character when they met last January. Williams’ advice was more direct than Glover expected.

While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Glover recalled his encounter with Williams. According to Glover, Lucasfilm set up the meeting, and he was extremely nervous as he shared his take on Lando with his predecessor. “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. Maybe he saw it from other planets and was like, ‘I want to be that.’ He just let me ramble on and on, and then finally I was like, ‘So, what do you think?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, I don’t know about all that. Just be charming.’ ”

It’s a great story, but there was far more to Williams’ Lando than just charm. In The Empire Strikes Back, the audience had good reasons to hate Lando after he betrayed Han, Leia, and Chewie to the Empire. Even with the well-written turn that came later in the movie, fans could have easily hated Lando regardless of his attempts to redeem himself. But Williams captured Lando’s conflicted thoughts about his deal with the Empire and even his guilt. That went a long way towards getting the audience back on his side.

Lando completed his transformation by the time Return of the Jedi came around. At that point, Lando was firmly entrenched in the Rebel alliance and key to Han’s rescue. Lando also had one of the biggest roles in the movie, as the leader of the attack on the second Death Star. Charm alone couldn’t have pulled that off, although Williams has always had that in abundance. Lando could be both selfish and selfless, and he was far from perfect. But those imperfections made him into one of the saga’s most compelling characters.

The Han Solo film will be released on May 25, 2018.

What do you think about Williams’ Lando advice for Glover? Roll the dice in the comment section below!

Images: Lucasfilm

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