As the original owner of the Millennium Falcon, leader of Cloud City, and eventual general for the Rebel Alliance, Lando Calrissian is an extremely important character within the Star Wars Universe. In 2015, Disney announced that a Young Han Solo movie was in development — with directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord at the helm — for release in 2018. Now, in 2016, we have our young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), but what about our other characters? Surely a film featuring the adventures of a fresh-faced Han Solo would give some screen time to — fan-favorite — Lando? Rumors have begun to fly that not only will he feature in the film, but will be played by none other than Donald Glover.
The Internet loves Glover, and while he isn’t exactly a household name at this point, he certainly deserves to be. He is still mostly known for his hilarious role as Troy Barnes on the late, great Community, but what else has he done that makes him the perfect choice to play our lovable rogue? Let’s take a look at a few reasons why Donald Glover would be the perfect choice to succeed the wonderful Billy Dee Williams.
- Troy Barnes in Community, “Epidemiology”
I choose the season 2 episode of Community because it thrusts Glover’s character, Troy Barnes, into the role of hero. It’s Halloween night and Greendale Community College is throwing a Halloween party for its students in the library. Troy, donning a costume reminiscent of the Work Loader from Aliens, becomes self-conscious about being viewed as too nerdy so he quickly changes into a new costume: Sexy Dracula. This costume, consisting of items found in the library restroom, shows off Glover’s striking physique, proving he has the rigor needed to be a successful space-smuggler. As the night goes on, students fall ill and turn into zombies after eating some bad food at the party. Troy must find a way to escape the library while also searching for a cure to the outbreak, eventually donning his Work Loader costume once again to kick some serious zombie ass.
This is not only a fantastic episode of the show, but a fantastic showcase for Donald Glover. He is hilarious, charming, and heroic — all of the requirements needed to play Lando. What’s even better is that this episode gives us a tease as to what it would be like for Glover to join the Star Wars Universe, including an homage to Han and Leia’s famous “I love you” exchange. If nothing else, this episode shows us that Glover can handle a little bit of action and still manage to include a few quips for good measure.
2. Rich Purnell in The Martian
Donald Glover’s role in 2015’s The Martian is so small, I wouldn’t blame you for forgetting he was in the film at all. However, despite its brevity, Rich Purnell is key to the plot of the film. Here is one of his finest moments:
Yes, its true, Glover’s character is responsible for coming up with the idea to save Mark Watney. The whole second half of the film hinges on this development, making his performance crucial. The good news is he plays Purnell with an unmatched confidence. This is important, because, as Lando, Glover would need to portray the utmost confidence in order to stand toe-to-toe with Han Solo. His line deliveries as Purnell are sharp and lyrical, highlighting his brilliance without sacrificing his sense of humor. As Lando, Glover needs to prove he can be a smooth talking vagabond. His scene-stealing performance here proves he can be.
3. Childish Gambino
Now this is not a traditional role per se, but Glover’s musical endeavors as rap alter-ego, Childish Gambino, are important in understanding who he is as an artist. Beginning in 2008 with the mixtape ‘Sick Boi,’ the music of Childish Gambino has only gained more depth and sophistication as time has moved forward, mirroring Lando’s own career path. His lyrics were once filled with one-liners that were fun to quote to your friends, but now Glover raps (and sings) about his relationships, goals, fears and paranoia. Fearing he would be looked upon as a joke in the rap community, Glover pushed hard to be taken seriously as a musician and it has definitely paid off.
While I love the music, it’s not the only reason I am including Childish Gambino on this list. I also include him because of the artistry put behind his music videos during the ‘Because the Internet’ era, which weave together to tell their own story. A great example is the video for “Telegraph Ave (‘Oakland’ by Lloyd)”:
My point is this: Glover’s charisma shines through no matter what he does. Billy Dee Williams is the same way, whether he’s hamming it up as Lando Calrissian or pimping his favorite drink.
Glover has a passion and energy that is infectious. He shines on and off-screen — he is a bona fide star. I think he will only get better and more confident as time pushes forward. His most recent project, the TV show Atlanta, is making its debut on FX and will only push Glover further into the stratosphere. He was born to be a leader. So was Lando.
What do you think of Glover as young Lando Calrissian?