The Star Wars saga is, by and large, a tragedy. It chronicles the rise and fall of a man, his quest for identity, and the ceaseless maelstrom of good and evil that tore away at the very core of his being until he was but a shell of what he once was, that innocent boy from a desolate, backwater ball of sand in the Outer Rim. Yes, Lando Calrissian is a textbook example of an Aristotelian tragic hero.
How can Lando Calrissian be a tragic hero? What could his tragic flaw possibly be? He is cool, handsome, has an awesome cape, and has probably slept with a third of the sentient beings in the galaxy. What the hell is tragic about that? He is literally flawless. That’s just it. His flaw is his lack of flaws. He was cursed from birth to live the life of a suave, ladykilling, spacefaring rogue no matter how hard he tried to break free and become a boring white collar worker, drawing striking similarities to Oedipus. Whenever Lando settles into a routine of 9 to 5 bureaucracy, the filthy scourge of spontaneity and adventure bores its way back into his life.
Lando’s life as the Baron Administrator of Cloud City was perfect. No bounty hunters, no Jedi or Sarlacc pits. Just Lando, a stack of reports and files, and two glorious titles to engrave on his nameplate. Stapling two papers together. Highlighting the profits made from each shipment of gas. Stamping and signing and initialing until the dead of night. He even had an overbearing manager to dictate to him what he should and shouldn’t do, adding another glorious layer of red tape. Of course, this idyllic existence was only an illusion. Beneath the surface, the spectre of action, adventure, and coolness was ever lurking, and all it took to free it was a demon from Lando’s past; Han Solo.
Han is the antithesis of Lando. He is the Id to Lando’s Super Ego. The Trump to his Chafee. The Ben Ghazi to his Hillary Clinton except not really because those two are the exact same people. Either way, Solo is a boring dude who has to force himself into a life of adventure and gets women stolen from him by their own brothers… and he is the origin of all Lando’s suffering. When Lando was but a young man, working part time as a cashier at the Space Wendy’s and trying to convince the manager to promote him to a full time fry cook position, when Solo convinced him to play a game of Sabacc, causing him to lose his only reliable source of transportation and forcing him into smuggling in order to make a living. Han stole his normalcy.
Lando had to struggle for decades before he was able to live the life he dreamed of and then, in an instant, Solo swooped in and swept him away into the Rebellion. The Rebellion, who stood against the rules and regulations that Lando cherished so dearly. Still, Lando persevered. He became a general, the position closest to the micromanagement and pencil pushing of his Cloud City job. He wore the garb of Solo, those of the boring white guy with no mustache or cape to speak of. Despite this, Lando fell into the role of the big hero. Instead of making spreadsheets and organizing office potlucks, he blew up the Death Star. From that point on, he was an icon of rebellion. He would never again sit in a comfortable faux leather chair and read Buzzfeed listicles on his lunch break, but forever be condemned to live as Lando the Hero.
Maybe, in the future, Lando will get what he deserves. Billy Dee Williams will return for Episode IX and play Grand Baron of Accounting for the First Order, inputting data into a computer and writing down the outcome, answering to regional manager Kylo Ren, and organizing the office Secret Santa exchange. Until then, Calrissian will fly through the cosmos, going on grand adventures and meeting aliens in exotic locales in a state of constant anguish and suffering.