Star Wars Character Review: Lando Calrissian

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the original Stars Wars trilogy. Read at your own risk if you are just now discovering the original trilogy.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from the original Star Wars trilogy to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In previous posts, I have examined Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan (the late Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford),  Obi-Wan Kenobi (the late Alec Guinness) and  Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones and acted by David Prowse). In this post, I will be writing about Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams).

Every adventure story has at least one shady character. While this character is there to help the hero on their journey, both the hero and the audience are unsure if this character is trustworthy or if the smooth promises they are making are actually going to come to fruition.

In The Empire Strikes Back, fans were introduced to a new character: Lando Calrissian. Lando is Han’s best friend and former compatriot. He is also the former owner of the Millennium Falcon.  Now the leader of Cloud City that hovers over the planet Bespin, Lando gives sanctuary to Leia, Han, Chewbacca and C3P0  as they try to hide from Vader and the Empire.

Our heroes believe they have found a temporary safe haven, but they have walked into a trap. Lando makes a deal with Vader, he will turn over the rebels to the Empire if his people are unharmed. But like any evil empire and any evil overlord, Vader is not to be trusted. When Lando realizes that Vader is not going through on his end of the bargain. In the end, Lando joins the rebellion and helps to defeat the empire.

Like Han, Lando appears to be only out for himself and his needs. He may do something to add to his wallet,but  it is for his needs alone that he acts. As The Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi continue on, Lando proves himself to be a true hero of the rebellion and a fighter for a greater cause than himself.

To sum it up: When a character changes from fighting for their needs alone to fighting for a cause greater than themselves is  a character arc that has been done time and again. The question is, is the arc predictable or is the a plot twist that adds a new layer to this done to death character arc? In creating Lando’s character, George added to the traditional character arc and allowed the audience to not see Lando as a villain, but as a man who made choices and then, when realizing that he made the wrong choices, righted those wrong choices.





Why I Re-Read Washington Square

There is nothing so defining as a woman’s relationship, or lack thereof, with her father. Regardless of the status of their relationship, a woman’s father will always play a role in her life.

Today I finished re-reading Washington Square, by Henry James. Catherine Sloper is the poor little rich girl. Her father, Dr. Austin Sloper is a successful doctor who lost his wife soon after Catherine’s birth. Still in mourning for his wife decades after her death, Dr. Sloper constantly demeans his daughter and makes impossible comparisons to his late wife. When Catherine meets and falls in love with Morris Townsend, her father suspects that Morris is after his daughter’s fortune more than he is her heart. Catherine must choose between being obedient to her father or marrying Morris and losing her inheritance.

I re-read the book because the movie adaptation of the book, The Heiress (1949) was on TV a few weekends ago. What strikes me about both the book and the movie is three things: the first thing is that a father plays a greater role in a daughter’s life than is something noticed. Growing up with her emotionally abusive father, Catherine’s self-esteem is shot. She has only known appeasement with her father, she has never known true paternal love that fosters a child’s emotional growth and self-respect. It’s no wonder that at the end of the novel, Catherine makes the decision she makes.

The second thing is that while the movie is amazing (I will at some point, feature the film in a Throwback Thursday or Flashback Friday post) it does not allow for the character’s inner dialogue. In the movie, Morris is portrayed as a young man so earnest in his love for Catherine that he is willing to wait for her and put up with the abuse that Dr. Sloper dishes out. In the book, Morris is a little more questionable in his motives.

The third thing is that this book sheds a light on why we need feminism. Granted, this book does take place in the 19th century, but I kept thinking that if Catherine had the opportunities that woman have today, her choices might have been very different. She might have not been jockeyed between her father and her lover and have to choose one or the other.

Today I re-read Washington Square.

Throwback Thursday-The Little Traitor (2007)

Our children are not immune to the world around them. They can be amazingly perceptive and active, despite appearances.

In the 2007 movie, The Little Traitor, based off the Amos Oz book, Panter In The Basement, Proffy (Ido Port) is a young boy living in Israel just a short time before the British secede power to the Israelis. Caught up in the fervor of the potential of independence from Britain, Proffy is caught after curfew making trouble. Instead of arresting the boy, Sergeant Dunlop (Alfred Molina) takes him home. What transpires is an unlikely friendship. But when Proffy is caught by his friends with Sergeant Dunlop, he is put on trial for fraternizing with the enemy.

I found this movie to be very appealing. Not just because of my faith or the history of my people, but because these characters are human. Both Proffy and Sergeant Dunlop find a common ground and are able to maintain a friendship, despite the barriers that keep them apart. It is a reminder that at the end of the day, we are all human and we have much more in common than we think we do.

I recommend it.

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