Lando: The Old Smoothie

I haven’t written much about Lando Calrissian…mostly because I don’t like him.  I don’t like that he turned Han over to the Empire and even though he redeemed himself pretty fast, I still never had strong feelings for him.  I don’t know – I just got scumbag vibes from Lando and could never relate to him.

But this past weekend’s painting in my 365 day calendar made me rethink some of what I previously thought.

Lando Calrissian getting strangled by Vader

When Vader is revealed to the Rebels at Cloud City, Lando says to Han, “I had no choice.  They arrived right before you did.  I’m sorry.”  I always got so angry at him when he said that because, in my naïve way of thinking, I thought that everyone always has a choice.  Which, essentially, is true but it’s not that simple.

I realize now that sometimes your choice is life or you-better-do-what-they-want-or-you-might-be-killed.  What kind of choice is that?  How hard is it to stand up for what you believe is right?  Would I have the guts to do it?  Would you have the guts to do it?  Look at Malala.  Someone so young stood up for something she believes in, even after the local Taliban Leader (the Empire) said all female education had to cease.  Youth may make you invincible, but I still think that if I was threatened at that age, I would shut the hell up and not say a word.

I admire people like Malala, the Luke Skywalker’s in real life…and it’s probably because I may not have that heroic streak in me.  I’m a very by-the-books person and I’m beginning to relate to Lando.

Looking at this picture, I see that maybe he didn’t have a choice.  Vader wants Luke and Fett wants Han.  Vader agreed that in getting Luke, he would leave Cloud City and the Tibanna operations alone forever.  Is that such a hard deal to agree to?  Even when someone is strangling you?

On top of that, Lando had slowly begun to give up his scoundrel ways and had become a somewhat respected administrator of Cloud City.  He also had to think about his people when making a large decision and keeping the Empire out of their hair was probably the best choice for everyone.

Further, were Han and Lando really that close?  The movies lead us lando and han soloto believe that there is little trust between them to begin with and they know each other from their shady, dishonest pasts.   So there would be little love lost in turning him into the Empire.  Sure, he was a friend once, but a close one?  Maybe not.

Yes, his feelings could have changed a little once he saw he had a girlfriend and Chewie was still with him, but he probably thought Vader would stick to his deal.  And the deal was worth it to him.

The funny thing about all this is that what angers Lando is not so much how they treat Han, even though that is a byproduct, but the fact that the Empire “alters” the deal they had with him. “This deal’s getting worse all the time,” is one of his famous lines.

lando turning on the empireAt what point did Lando crack?  At what point did his anger and frustration with the Empire make him realize that even the original deal had not been worth it?  He contacts Lobot when Luke appears – but was it building up and that was a good time to turn coat?  Or did the appearance of Luke make him question the deal?

If we look closer at Lando’s transition into the Rebellion, we notice he never agreed to join the Rebellion right away.  He agrees to help save Han from Jabba the Hutt.  (By the way, does anyone else think it’s weird how easily Han accepts him in ROTJ?  Dude, last time you saw him, he had betrayed you and frozen you in carbonite!)  Then after saving Han, he transitions into becoming a General in Rebellion.

In the end, Lando plays a crucial role in helping the Rebellion defeat the Empire but I’m much more sympathetic to his character now than I was a week ago.  I still have hesitations and disbeliefs in terms of how quickly the Rebellion accepted him, but I understand why he turned over Han to Boba and the Empire.  And, it almost saddens me to say this, I’m not sure I would have done anything differently.

general lando

Advertisements

Let’s Take a Look at Star Wars Rebels

SPOILERS AHEAD

 

Rebels has kicked off and…overall, I liked it.  Last week we had the one-hour premiere with a movie on the Disney Channel.  This week the season officially got underway with its first episode on Monday night.

I loved the movie.  I thought it was exactly what Star Wars should be and how they should approach the series.  They stayed away from any characters we knew and the only glimpse we got of a familiar character was a hologram recording of Obi-Wan Kenobi.  The recording was the one he released in ROTS, warning all Jedi to stay away from the temple and that the Jedi are no longer safe.

Other than that – we were introduced to a completely new band of characters.  We have Hera the Twi’lek pilot who commands their ship Ghost, Kanan the undercover Jedi, Zeb is the Lasat who is really the tough guy of the operation (and his species is based on original concept drawings of Chewbacca!), Sabine the Mandolorian who is kind of a pyro and graffiti artist, and finally we have a newcomer named Ezra.  A kid of the streets who gets pulled into this little clan and decides to stay to do some Jedi training with Kanan.  Oh, and we can’t forget Chopper: the little astromech droid who helps run the ship.  They did a great job on making him seem pretty different from Artoo, a fear I had.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The opposition to this team on a larger scale is, obviously, the Empire.  Specifically, at this point we know of two beings: Agent Kallus, an official of the Imperial Security Bureau and The Inquisitor, a Pau’an male who hunts down remaining Jedi.  We have not seen much of him yet – only saw him at the end of the movie when Kallus reported that he had found a Jedi (Kanan).

What I liked most about the movie is that we were introduced to new areas, new people, new ships and my imagination was opened to a part of Star Wars I didn’t know, but there was “something familiar about this place”.  Ralph McQuarrie’s touch was extremely obvious and some of the landscape shots were ripped right off of what he had done for the OT.  Not saying that’s bad, in fact, it gave us the OT feel.

I was most surprised at the time period of Rebels.  Apparently it takes place 5 years BBY.  I completely missed this somehow.  That means that Luke and Leia are 14 and the Jedi have been written off the galaxy for 14 years.  What made me question this time period is that the need to have an Inquisitor means that there are still quite a few Jedi throughout the galaxy.

I don’t like that.  Jedi shouldn’t be that prevalent still, right?  Han Solo was really skeptical of the Force and Luke barely knew anything about Jedi.  If Luke and Leia are 14 at this point, and Han would be older, wouldn’t it mean that the knowledge of Jedi would be a little more common?

Also, they are making this group of misfits look like the beginning of the Rebellion.  The Rebellion should have been pretty much established by this point in the game, even if they are not completely rebellious (pun intended ha!) yet.  The crew on Ghost are smart; I think they would have heard about the Rebellion through their travels across the galaxy and at this point either joined them or aided them in some way.

Which brings me to the first episode of the TV series.  After coming off of a successful premiere movie, I cringed and got angry when I saw C-3PO and R2-D2 appear in the first official episode.  UGH.  Really?? I know that other people have no problems with this but I do.  I was hoping that Rebels would stay away from that trap of bringing in familiar characters to satisfy all audiences.

Seeing Threepio and Artoo made the galaxy seem smaller than it actually is.  Do you really think they would run into these two droids?  Really?artoo threepio star wars rebels  It was completely fine in TCW, because they had every single PT character running around that why not bring in everyone we know?  In fact, I got used to that in TCW.  But Rebels clearly seems to be reminding us that this is a new band of characters on new planets and in new situations.  The cherry on the cake was when they drop off the droids at, of all ships, the Tantive IV with Bail Organa.  (bangs head against wall)  I was expecting a teenage Leia to just stroll in and talk with her father.  Thankfully that did not happen and I was spared, but if we are going to introduce Organa this early in the series, maybe I should just brace myself and expect it to happen at some point.

The only interesting thing about the situation was that Artoo had recorded some of the conversations on Ghost and had brought it back to Organa who noted that they should keep an eye on them.  I still think they could have used other droids and a different character for this, but maybe by the time the series ends it will tie back to bringing the crew of Ghost into the Rebellion.  And, by the way, shouldn’t the droids be pushed off onto Captain Antilles at some point?  They’ve really been with Organa for 14 years?

bail organa rebels

Other than my major grievance with the droids, Tantive IV, and Organa – I think the first episode was pretty cool.  They stuck it to the Empire by stealing their prized weapons that were supposed to be illegal throughout the galaxy, and then later destroying them.  It spoke to an interesting larger lesson: the Empire can do what they want, regardless if weapons are illegal or not.  In the hands of the Empire, those laws are conveniently forgotten if it will further their cause.

Ezra showed us some of his Force powers…he has more than I thought.  But they came into action when he was angry and scared.  Not very Jedi-like, eh?  So Kanan will have to curb that and teach him how to use the Force in a calmer state.  Or will Kanan change the rules a bit and not follow the strict Jedi Code?  Speaking of Kanan…I couldn’t really figure out how old he was.  I was guessing late 20s or early 30’s.  Oh – nevermind, Wookiepedia says he’s 28 and was 14 when Order 66 happened.

Lastly, I wanted to touch briefly upon the tone and style of the series.  I enjoyed the style and the banter between the characters, but my good friend Mr. Reticent pointed out that it was a lot lighter than TCW.  Not only with the situations and how they talked with each other, but also the animation style.  When you contrast the animation, there is a big difference.  TCW was more angular, sharp and it felt like watching a video game sometimes.  Rebels is smooth, almost more “cartoony”, which makes sense considering that it comes from Disney.  The tone of the episodes seemed to play more for a Disney crowd as well…I’m not sure if any of you guys watch The Disney Channel/Disney X D or Cartoon Network – but they are two very different styles and draw in two different crowds.  Both focus more on drawing in boys than girls, but CN is a lot cruder in my opinion.  I find CN to grate on me often and I watch the shows with disbelief that kids watch that channel as it can feel gritty.  Disney X D still seems unfathomable to me at times, but at least I can somewhat relate and understand why a boy would watch a show on the channel.  X D plays it a little safer and perhaps that’s why Rebels also seems to reflect that. (apparently I can’t write X.D. without WP changing it to a gigantic smiley face)

I find it hard to decide whether or not I will like the series based on what I’ve seen.  I loved the movie, giving it an 8.5/10, but felt the first TV show would come in at a 6/10.

 

Okay, I’m almost done, I swear.  Two side notes!

  1. Greg Weisman has left Rebels. I am most sad about this as he was the one person I was really pumped to have part of the show and thought would lead it in a smart, good direction.  But why did he leave?  I can’t find anything online so if anyone has information on this, please let me know to satiate my curiosity.
  2. Kiri Hart. I can’t go further without mentioning her.  You guys know how often I have talked about my unusual name and how I’ve never met anyone else with my name.  Well, guess what?  She is the VP of development at LFL and oversees a lot of the Star Wars content produced by Disney…including Rebels.  Look for her name at the end credits of Rebels.  SUPER WEIRD.  SUPER, SUPER WEIRD.  But I’m loving it.  I would not wish anyone else to have my name but someone at LFL.  It’s a sign.  I’m not sure of what, but it’s a sign.