Star Wars: Lando’s Luck
Star Wars: Flight of the Falcon Series
Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
Written by Justina Ireland
Illustrated by Annie Wu
Audiobook narrated by Soneela Nankani
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press
Release date: October 2, 2018
Lando Calrissian has always been one of my favorite characters in the Star Wars universe. He’s a gambler, a swindler, a pilot, a warrior, a general, and he’s probably the only person that can make Han Solo blush. From that first moment on Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back when Billy Dee Williams faced off with Harrison Ford, that was it for me. And I have not been disappointed with his portrayals in any subsequent movie or book… and, yes, Donald Glover nailed it.
So, given the opportunity to review Star Wars: Lando’s Luck, a book dedicated to Lando, I jumped at the chance.
In a cantina in a far corner of the galaxy, mercenary and spy Bazine Netal (she was the one that ratted out the Resistance members to the First Order on Takodana) meets a woman claiming to have information on the illustrious Millennium Falcon. She sits with her and is regaled with a tale about having flown aboard the ship while Lando Calrissian was its owner and captain.
After being taken into custody on Hynestia by Queen Forsythia, Lando Calrissian is sentenced to death for smuggling of contraband. The Queen’s daughter, Princess Rinetta, convinces her mother to instead use Lando, his first mate L3-37, and the Millennium Falcon to deliver a tribute owed to the Empire. If he completes the mission, the Hynestians will be free of debt to the Empire. If he fails, he will either die or be imprisoned by the Empire. Whatever the case, it’s out of their hands.
Forsythia agrees. What she doesn’t realize is that Rinetta has her own ulterior motives and sneaks aboard the Falcon in order to deliver this tribute — an energy-laden orb known as the Solstice Globe — back to its true owners, not the Empire. And she will make Lando agree to do it whether he likes it or not.
It’s a pretty straight-forward tale of Lando being his swindler self and it’s a plotline you can easily imagine seeing Glover take part in. Writer Justina Ireland‘s pacing is good and it makes the story flow very quickly, once it all kicks into gear. However, I almost felt it was too brief. There were a couple of those “how did they manage that” moments that were left unexplained and had me wanting more.
For a book titled Lando’s Luck, as time goes on, Lando is less and less the driving force behind the story. The starring roles are assumed by Rinetta, L3, and Zel, who is Rinetta’s trainer and bodyguard and the reason why she goes on this mission in the first place. In fact, once you add in Queen Forsythia, Bazine Netal, and a gangster named Ne’eda, this book becomes one of the first truly female-dominated stories I’ve seen in our favorite galaxy far, far away. I’m not complaining about that, not in the slightest. Just… if you’re gonna call a book Lando’s Luck and put a grinning comic visage of Donald Glover on the cover, it should be more about him.
Another issue I had was that, despite being part of the Flight of the Falcon series, the Millennium Falcon wasn’t much of a character. Yes, she’s a ship, how can she be a character? Well, I dunno about you, but when watching the Falcon in the movies, I felt like she was alive with a personality of her own. She wasn’t just a means by which to get from point A to point B. There was more to her. She had an odd level of depth and complexity. You had to reason with her. Make her see things your way. And, even then, it was a 50/50 gamble if things would still work out. Part of the reason for this unique “personality” was explained in Solo: A Star Wars Story. So, honestly, I was upset she wasn’t featured more.
One last important note: I didn’t know when listening to this audiobook that the book is illustrated… by no less than Annie Wu, who provided her skills to some issues of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye and Mark Waid’s Archie re-launch a couple years ago. So I’d like to take a moment to say that if you do listen to it, make sure you get a copy of the physical edition as well so you can check out Wu’s artwork. I may be doing that soon; I feel like I’m really missing out.