As soon as Donald Glover walked in, there was no doubt who would play the young smooth-talking gambler Lando Calrissian in the latest Star Wars Anthology film Solo.
“When he came in to audition, we said, ‘There’s no question the auditions are over,’” recalls Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote Solo with his son Jon, in an exclusive interview with Metro. “If you met him today, you would feel the same thing — he’s an extraordinary character, a major artist, he loves this character among the many things he loves and [as a writer] you say, ‘Oh my god, this is an incredible resource for seeing young Lando.’”
It’s fair to say the Kasdans’ origin story about the life (and love) of Han Solo before a Jedi master, a farmboy and most importantly a princess derail his smuggling career has been somewhat hijacked by Glover’s performance.
His even smoother and sexier take on Lando has claimed much of the internet buzz since the first trailer for the movie premiered. But the performance wasn’t a solo effort: Glover got a very valuable piece of advice from the original Lando, Billy Dee Williams. “One thing that Billy did say was, be charming,” Glover said on Entertainment Weekly’s Sirius XM radio show. “He’s eclectic. He likes different things. He’s somebody who goes around and tries everything.”
LOOK AT THIS GLORIOUS MAN pic.twitter.com/lR9ow0TutL
— Star Wars Stuff (@starwarstuff) May 24, 2018
Then, Jon Kasdan shook a giant leap for sexual freedom in the galaxy when he revealed Lando to be pansexual — as in women, men, droids, aliens, etc. “There’s a fluidity to Donald and Billy Dee’s [portrayal of Lando’s] sexuality,” he told the Huffington Post. “I mean, I would have loved to have gotten a more explicitly LGBT character into this movie. I think it’s time, certainly, for that, and I love the fluidity ― sort of the spectrum of sexuality that Donald appeals to and that droids are a part of.”
Or, as intergalactic pragmatist Glover put it to EW: “How can you not be pansexual in space? Yeah, he’s coming on to everybody. I mean, yeah, whatever. It just didn’t seem that weird to me ’cause I feel like if you’re in space it’s kind of like, the door is open!”
(Lando may be the first to be embraced as openly pansexual, but Vice Admiral Holdo’s dialogue with General Leia Organa in “The Last Jedi” novelization hinted at her own preference for all the goods the galaxy may proferr.)
Out of all the threads in Han’s life the Kasdans could’ve picked up, meeting Lando was the one Jon hoped they could tell even before Glover became involved. “I was particularly personally excited to visit Lando as a younger man. I loved that character as a kid and growing up,” he tells Metro.
“But as excited as I was, I don’t think either of us had the foggiest notion that Donald would come in and make it something beyond our wildest dreams and something that would catch the zeitgeist so perfectly. You just hope that magic happens occasionally, and then it does and you can only just watch it. He was so perfectly suited to it that it was one of those moments that was exciting where the words lined up with the guy and you thought, ‘Well, this is gonna be good, this is gonna be fun.’”
Fellow Lando fans, you’ve been heard — but you might have to wait a while. A solo outing for the galaxy’s sexiest gambler is on Lucasfilm’s radar, according to studio president Kathleen Kennedy, but there are no immediate plans to send him off on his own adventure in the Millennium Falcon.