Skip to main content

Lando Calrissian is a beloved Star Wars character. That doesn’t mean fans think he was morally perfect. In The Empire Strikes Back, Lando seems to betray his old friend Han Solo.

Billy Dee Williams portrayed the character. Fans and critics alike praised him for bringing Lando to life in the Star Wars films. Interestingly, he had a unique interpretation of Lando’s actions in The Empire Strikes Back.

Billy Dee Williams in a red and black outfit | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The arguably despicable actions of Lando Carissian from ‘Star Wars’

Many fans see Lando as the Judas Iscariot or Benedict Arnold of the Star Wars franchise. However, it’s notable that Lando was in a difficult situation. If he didn’t sell Han out to Darth Vader, he would have had to go up against the Galactic Empire. Considering he was concerned with the well-being of everyone on Cloud City, one could argue his actions were at least somewhat justifiable.

Regardless of whether you see Lando’s actions as justified, Lando certainly proved his worth in subsequent Star Wars films. He helped to save Han’s life in Return of the Jedi and he was instrumental in defeating the villains in both Return of the Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. To many, Lando is a flawed character who redeemed himself. However, Williams felt that Lando didn’t truly betray Han in the first place.

How Billy Dee Williams understood Lando Calrissian

A scene from The Empire Strikes Back where Lando Calrissian capitulates to Darth Vader

According to Digital Spy, Williams said “I get sick and tired of being accused of betraying Han Solo. He was up against Darth Vader, he had to figure something out. By the way, did anybody die? Nobody died. I had to figure out how to prevent the complete demise of my friend and his friends.”

Of course, many fans didn’t share Williams’ point of view. To this day, many see Lando as the ultimate traitor. A character in Stranger Things even calls someone who betrays him a “Lando.” Williams said some fans would get very upset at him for what Lando did, though things have mellowed out now.

Billy Dee Williams’ interactions with fans

Lando Calrissian destroy the second Death Star

‘Star Wars’: The Secret Symbolism in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’

He told GQ “[Fans] don’t cuss me out anymore for betraying Han Solo. But it’s over now. I don’t have little 10-year-old boys threatening my life. And when I do these conventions, I run into people who were little kids when they first saw it—and they’re bringing their kids.”

In fact, Williams said his interactions with fans have been positive overall. Discussing fan interactions, he told Variety “I think people admire me…I’ve had a tremendous amount of admiration from a lot of people throughout the years because of these movies I’ve done. I think people enjoy my individuality.”

Some see Lando as the ultimate traitor. Other see him as a misunderstood man who was a victim of circumstance. Regardless of how fans interpret the character, it’s nice to know that young fans aren’t threatening Williams’ life over the actions of a fictional character.

Also see: ‘Star Wars’: Why George Lucas Decided Not to Make Darth Maul Female