Thanks to The Empire Strikes Back, the entire chemistry between the core characters of Star Wars drastically changed, thanks to Lando Calrissian. Appearing in the film's third act and serving as a catalyst for some of the film's most dramatic scenes, Calrissian became such an integral part of the crew that he went on to play a prominent role in Return of the Jedi and the destruction of the Death Star II. When participating in a 40th Anniversary panel at Star Wars Celebration, Billy Dee Williams revealed that two very specific things helped influence his performance of the iconic swindler.
Lando might have crossed paths with Han Solo when the two were fully involved in the smuggling game, but Lando left that life behind when he pursued leadership over Cloud City. He was charming, responsible, and mindful of how to manipulate situations to his advantage.
When asked about what inspired his performance of the former smuggler, Williams replied, "Two components: the cape, and Calrissian. An Armenian name, -ian. I thought, 'Wow, that's interesting, let me play around with this idea.' I didn't want to do a stereotypical, cliche character. I wanted to bring something really special to it. Something bigger than life."
The actor also implied that, although George Lucas and Empire direction Irvin Kershner had a hand in crafting the character, he was ultimately left to his own devices in how best to portray Lando.
Calrissian has proven so iconic that he's also appeared in Disney XD's Star Wars Rebels, working with the crew of the Ghost to help him in some of his dealings. In the show, Williams lent his voice to make the character that much more authentic.
Also at Celebration, Williams confirmed he would not be portraying Lando in The Last Jedi, much to the dismay of the audience.
Luckily, we surely haven't seen the last of Lando as Donald Glover will embrace the cape to play the character in the upcoming Han Solo spin-off film, set for release in May of 2018. Considering the character's colorful past, we're sure to see Lando's wilder ways, in addition to witnessing the fateful meeting of Han Solo.