The Lando episode of Star Wars Rebels happened. This is something I’ve wanted since Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Billy Dee Williams was already in his forties when he filmed his role in The Empire Strikes Back and that meant he could have been in his early twenties during The Clone Wars. That never happened, but now it has with Star Wars Rebels. Better late than never and well worth the wait! I literally watched the real Lando last night on my TV and I’m still ecstatic about it.
I’m a little bummed we didn’t get a bigger deal made out of Billy Dee Williams returning as Lando in Star Wars Rebels. For me, that’s huge. He’s one of the original heroes from one of the most revered films in movie history. That said, the ninja approach to just sliding Lando into the series is pretty rad and a nice surprise. I still would have rather had a lot of anticipation about this during the break for us fans to discuss.
On the next episode of MakingStarWars.net’s Now, This is Podcasting! I was pretty sure that was Lando we saw in the preview on Rebels Recon. But from the preview it looked like Lando was wearing his outfit from The Empire Strikes Back. I was critical of that notion had it panned out. Thankfully it didn’t. Lando’s costume in the series is wonderfully late 1970s in appearance. Everything from the low collar to a slick medallion is around his neck.The fact I thought I might be seeing the classic film costume and it wasn’t that costume is a testament to how cool of a costume Lando had in the show.
Lando doesn’t appear to own the Falcon at this time, since he needs The Ghost to evade Imperial blockades on Lothal. We can also garner from Lando’s character here that Han Solo probably owns the Falcon 5 years before A New Hope. We can’t take anything for granted in the new continuity as things can change. But there we have it, no mention of the Falcon or the Lady Luck.
Billy Dee Williams’ performance as Lando was pretty much flawless. He jumped right back into character, head first, and brought Lando back to life for us. It was pretty cool and somewhat strange to sit there watching the episode, remembering that Lando was a relevant and current Star Wars hero when I was about three years old and to sit there with my young son watching it was a trip, as Lando is as relevant as ever. Billy Dee Williams is a powerhouse.
I think they did a smart and calculated move to not have the episode focus on rebellion and resistance. They also did a wise thing to not show that the crew members are Jedi, or trying to be Jedi. That way Lando’s first knowing encounter with these things is still with the gang from The Empire Strikes Back, the character’s true “family.” Another great and smart thing in the episode was that Lando was also scheming. He’s not someone you would trust with knowledge you were part of an outlawed religion with laser swords worth a lot of cash and part of a resistance with bounties on your head that would pay off handsomely. Oh yeah, it gave the creators a great reason to use Ezra’s lightsaber gun which I enjoyed and the sound effect of the blaster was very cool too. There were lots of smart things going on in this episode.
In The Empire Strikes Back Lando seems really dismissive of droids. He seems a little like Han Solo in that doesn’t really see artificial life as life. In our film introduction to Lando he pretty much dismisses Threepio outright without a care for his feelings. So Lando and Chopper being a little chummy was slightly disconcerting (my wife says I’m over-thinking this). Now, don’t get me wrong, you can just decide to read the scene that Lando had bigger things on his mind with a Sith Lord landing in the city and all. That’s how I’m going to have to read the sequence now. But I think the idea was supposed to be that those type of men had no love for droids, deep or shallow. That said, the pay off was pretty good with Chopper being the one that scammed Lando and Lando knowing the droid was going to scam him so he didn’t pay them. It was good, fun, and charming writing.
The ending with Lando waving goodbye to the ship was super corny but kicked so much ass, I loved it.
The animation on Lando himself was a bit weird. It seemed like he was posing too much and it felt very jerky at times. It was something that happens in the show often but since everyone is kind of new to us, its okay. It wasn’t until I saw a new classic character that the the lack of fluid motion on the animation was catching my eye. Its just the medium in which these stories are being told and after I watch Idiots Array another 50 times, which I will, it will seem crazy to think it could be any other way.
Star Wars Rebels keeps giving and keeps delivering with quality guest appearances big and small. See-Threepio voiced by Anthony Daniels, bam! Artoo-Detoo as himself, bam! Darth Vader voiced by James Earl Jones, bam! Yoda voiced by Frank Oz, bam! Lando voiced by Billy Dee Williams, bam!Lets also not forget that Obi-Wan showed up in the opening film too, voiced by James Arnold Taylor, the Obi-Wan from The Clone Wars.
All of these awesome Star Wars characters making their way into the series makes me wonder what they can do for the last episode? Harrison Ford as Han Solo? Carrie Fisher has Princess Leia? Or are the guest appearances for the series over this season? You can take a break, Star Wars Rebels, you’ve given more than you were required. But I hope you don’t. Hell, give us Chewbacca voiced by Peter Mayhew using his Star Wars: The Clone Wars appearance.
Star Wars Rebels’ had a premiere that left me elated and euphoric because a certain type of heartfelt Star Wars storytelling was back. That’s not a knock on the prequel era, its just focusing on the micro instead of the macro ramifications of events in the galaxy, allowing for more personal stories. The opening was strong. An episode here or there didn’t leave me with that same feeling and just felt like filler. But then once we got to the stuff about Ezra’s past the show has been rocking my face off.
Anyways, make sure you watch this episode and keep watching Star Wars Rebels. Its doing a fantastic job of nailing the fun in Star Wars adventure. Idiot’s Array is one of the best episodes yet and I can’t wait to watch it again. And yes, I want my Star Wars Rebels Lando action figure and I want it now.