Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released just two months ago, which already feels like a lifetime. I mean, we’ve already kind of moved on to Episode VIII – there’s a teaser and everything! (Not to even mention Rogue One comes out in 10 months. Again, we will never know how Star Wars ends.) But, over the last two months, there’s one thing about The Force Awakens that’s kind of bothered me.
And this isn’t from a filmmaking perspective, or even really a plot complaint: It’s more of a, “if the Star Wars galaxy were real, this for sure would have happened,” observation. There’s no way that Lando Calrissian didn’t eventually become Chancellor of the New Republic. There’s no way the Star Wars galaxy isn’t run by Chancellor Calrissian.
Was there a cooler, more conniving, and more politically savvy character in all of Star Wars than Lando? When we first meet him in The Empire Strikes Back, he’d already transformed himself from a smuggler into the Baron Administrator of Cloud City. He’s basically a powerful mayor, running his city under the radar of the Galactic Empire. This is a very difficult thing to do! And everything was going well for Lando until his criminal fugitive “friend,” Han Solo, decides to show up with no notice demanding Lando fix the Millennium Falcon. Not to mention this is a ship that Lando used to own and still loves, and here’s Solo showing up, basically saying, “Hey, this ship you love is broken, I hope you don’t mind fixing it for us so that we can continue to run from law enforcement. Oops, I hope they didn’t follow us here and ruin your life.”
You know, Lando got a lot of heat for “betraying” Han, but the reality is Han Solo is an a**hole. How would you like it if a friend you had 10 years ago all of a sudden showed up at your home, asking you to fix his car and help him hide from the local sheriff’s department? Yeah, I bet you wouldn’t like it very much. And besides, Darth Vader assured Lando that Han wasn’t even Vader’s interest. Again, Lando betrayed Han? Well, how about all of those Cloud City residents he took an oath to serve? They come first. Lando really wasn’t left with much of a choice, but he made the right one at the time. He only had his constituents’ best interests in mind … and, again, Han’s an a**hole for bringing a civil war to Lando’s front doorstep. Some “friend.”
Do you know what sounds really good when running for Chancellor? “War hero.” After running a major city and heroically trying to protect its citizens from the Empire, Lando then became a war hero and blew up the second Death Star. It’s impossible to make the argument that Lando didn’t have political aspirations because we’ve already seen his career trajectory before Han showed up, so it only makes sense that Lando would parlay his political experience and his status as a war hero into the highest office in the galaxy.
Not to mention, Lando risked his life to infiltrate Jabba the Hutt’s lair in an effort to save Han Solo, the man who screwed everything up for Lando in the first place. This is often interpreted as Lando’s retribution, but that is false. This is Lando going above and beyond to save the life of the person who ruined Lando’s life. Lando Calrissian shouldn’t just be Chancellor, he should be given sainthood. I mean, look at these two:
In The Force Awakens, a creature named Laneever Villecham is the Chancellor. He looks like this. Apparently he was supposed to have a couple of scenes with Leia that identified him as the Chancellor, but these scenes were cut. The only real glimpse we got of Mr. Villecham is the look on his face right before he blew up along with the rest of Hosnian Prime after being hit by a laser beam fired from the First Order’s Starkiller Base.
Which means … we need a new Chancellor for Episode VIII. I’m pretty sure I can think of a character who would be just perfect for the job. (And from a logistical standpoint, the now almost 79-year-old Billy Dee Williams could have a role that requires a lot of sitting behind a desk.) And we can only hope that Chancellor Calrissian keeps his, “You’ve got a lot of guts coming here, after what you pulled,” jokes coming. Plus, Lando already knows how to sport a good-looking cape. A person doesn’t wear that many capes and not have political aspirations. And Lando is definitely a cape-wearer.
Mike Ryan lives in New York City and has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.