Star Wars’ upcoming Lando Calrissian series has many compelling villains to choose from, but the best option for Disney+ isn’t the Empire.
The Disney+ series Andor received much acclaim from fans and critics for its more realistic depiction of the Empire as a competent antagonist. This rehabilitation of its image may make it all the more tempting for those working on Donald Glover’s long-awaited Lando series to make a character like Dedra Meero its main antagonist. However, that would be a mistake.
The Star Wars galaxy is absolutely massive, and despite the Empire’s dominance during the time period Lando is likely to take place, there are many more threats to choose from. The criminal elements of the galaxy far, far away have not been explored as thoroughly as they can be — and the upcoming series is a perfect opportunity to do so. There are several organizations that would fit right into Lando‘s plans.
Lando Could Bring Black Sun Back to Star Wars
Essentially the mafia of Star Wars, Black Sun were a long-standing criminal organization who accrued vast wealth and power. In Star Wars Legends, they functioned as something of a shadow empire. Black Sun’s leader, the enigmatic Prince Xizor, was able to compete with Darth Vader for Emperor Palpatine’s attention. The Sun were semi-frequent antagonists throughout different Star Wars media, most notably with elements of their operations being folded into Darth Maul’s Shadow Collective around the time of the Clone Wars. Their involvement in the Lando series would allow for more intrigue in the galactic underbelly and the appearance of locations like Jabba the Hutt’s world of Nar Shadda, Ord Mantell or Mustafar, where Black Sun had operations.
Lando would also serve as the perfect venue for the reintroduction of Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra. The character has had a brilliant run in the Star Wars comics, and although it might be a difficult sell considering Solo’s middling critical and commercial response, Qi’ra has the potential to be a brilliant antagonist for Lando and a menace to the galaxy at large. Her Crimson Dawn has great influence as well, though it might be difficult for the Lando showrunners to properly integrate the organization.
The Lando Series Could Also Spend Time With the Rebellion
If not wanting to use Black Sun or Crimson Dawn, Lando could introduce a new threat in the underworld. It might be a Nightwing-type vigilante figure who fancies themselves a hunter of smugglers like Lando, or a competitor with a grudge akin to Jango Fett and Montross in the Star Wars: Bounty Hunter game. Lando’s appearance in J.J. Abrams’ Rise of Skywalker did not do him justice, but the lore of that hotly-contested entry into the Skywalker Saga does open up one more potential avenue.
Adam Christopher’s novel Shadow of the Sith saw Lando team up with Luke Skywalker to track down Ochi of Bestoon, the character behind the murder of Rey’s parents. This was another part of Lando’s long journey with the Rebellion — a journey that began during the adventures of Solo when he was part of the crew that delivered coaxium to some of its founders. It’s not difficult to envision the new series including Lando take the first steps toward his eventual role as a general and hero, perhaps assisting against some criminal element that sees the Rebels as a threat to the status quo.
Lando holds the most opportunities for old elements of Star Wars Legends and underappreciated elements of canon to return to a wider audience. There are lessons to be learned from the success of Andor — namely that Disney+ can explore more grounded elements of the Star Wars galaxy. Having Lando Calrissian face off against the criminal underworld would be far more rewarding than another story about the Empire.