‘Lando’ Series: Donald Glover Is Personally Writing the Star Wars TV Show
Donald Glover has taken the fate of the Lando series into his own hands. The Atlanta actor, who played the younger version of Billy Dee Williams‘ galactic charmer Lando Calrissian in the 2018 movie Solo: A Star Wars Story, has been writing the Disney+ series about the character’s further adventures.
Glover is collaborating on the project with his brother, Stephen Glover, who has written and produced with him on Atlanta, as well as the new Dominique Fishback series Swarm. They have quietly been in control of the Lando series for many months, a source confirms to Vanity Fair.
Dear White People writer-director Justin Simien, the filmmaker behind the new Haunted Mansion movie, was previously announced as the developer of the series. Above the Line first reported the change-up. As recently as last week, Simien told The Hollywood Reporter he was uncertain about his involvement in the Star Wars title, and questioned whether a number of stalled projects had something to do with his identity.
“I am attached, I think, but I don’t really know,” Simien said. “The last thing I was told was that they loved it but needed to put a pin in it until they could figure out everybody’s availability. I haven’t investigated further, but I’m not an idiot. I’m not alone in that experience. But I can’t help but wonder, ‘Am I too Black? Am I too queer? And people just don’t want to say that?’ Because it seems like I develop things with these companies and they just never happen for reasons unknown.”
Lucasfilm had no comment on the status of Lando, but a commitment from Glover, a breakaway talent onscreen and in music, makes the show’s eventual greenlight a far greater possibility. In April, Glover was circumspect about it in a video interview with GQ. “We’re talking about it. That’s as much as I can say without [Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy hunting me down,” he said.
The actor hinted that he might walk away if the series didn’t develop to his liking, but he remained optimistic. “I would love to play Lando again. It’s a fun time, being him. It just has to be the right way to do it. Time is precious,” he said. “You only get so much. I’m not interested in doing anything that’s going to be a waste of my time or just a paycheck. I’d much rather spend time with people that I enjoy. It just has to be the right thing, and I think it could be. Lando is definitely somebody I like to hang out with.”
Lando—Han Solo’s frenemy, who went from rogue grifter to the baron of Cloud City above the gas giant planet Bespin—first appeared in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back. When Glover first played the role in 2018, he described a meeting with Williams to gain insight into the character.
“It was really, really relaxed. He was great,” Glover said. “I mean, I had a lot of questions. And then he just told me, just be charming. And so, I was like, ‘Okay!’ I just kind of did that. He said, ‘Just be interested in things.’ Lando has, I wouldn’t say eccentric, but eclectic tastes. So I tried to work that into the role as much as possible.”
Lando was also the first prominent Black character in the Star Wars universe, so Glover was curious about those dynamics and how Williams thought about them at the time. “I just wanted to know, Star Wars was such a big deal and then they make the second one and you’re kind of the first and the almost only black guy in the universe at that point,” Glover added in that EW interview. “I was like, How did you go into that? What were your thoughts? It’s always a big thing when you break a mold. What was the thought process of that? He gave some good advice about this, about being yourself as much as possible, making the character a real person, rather than the whole identity for a whole group of people.”