Everyone loves to acknowledge Lando Calrissian as the Ladies Man of the Star Wars galaxy. On Words with Nerds, we even marveled at his similar smoothness to yours truly.
Of course, no small part of this comes from the fact that Billy Dee Williams was marketed as the King of Smooth outside the Star Wars galaxy as well, with a successful series of Colt 45® commercials. With a tag line like “Works Every Time” I can only imagine how offended the armpit-hair brigade would be at those ads now, while ignoring Miley Cyrus allowing herself to be used as a piece of meat by Alan Thicke’s son.
Anyhoo, I got to wondering lately about whether Han or Lando were really the smoother of the two. We know very little about their backgrounds in the films; the rest has been teased out by Expanded Universe stuff.
While some of it was really pretty good and based on the outlines for the characters that Lucas wrote (at least the Han stuff), we all know of my relationship with the Expanded Universe. Unlike the Boy Wonder, I don’t rely on it as a crutch.
Discounting the EU and going by what might be implied in the text of the films, I contend that Han was the real ladies man.
Proof, Not Leads
When Han and Lando reunite at Cloud City, Lando intones, “You’ve got a lot of guts comin’ here, after what you pulled.” This is after the set up on approach when Chewie reminds Han of something that happened in their past, and the audience is never told precisely what it is.
My new read on the scene is that Han, ever the ladies’ man, “stole the girl” from Lando and that became a sore point for many years.
Now, I don’t mean that Han took Lando’s fiancé or anything like that. I mean that Han won the heart of a charming lass who had been in the nascent stages of a relationship with Lando. Maybe I’m biased by my own experiences with a circle of close friends years back, but it wasn’t exactly uncommon for a girl to swoon between two friends who were similar in many regards. One just may have been a bit more charming, or had some better chemistry with her at the time.
Naturally, it would lead to hurt feelings. For all we know, Lando had finally found a woman with whom he thought he had a real connection. Then some enchanted evening she spends some quality time with Han and the whole thing falls apart.
No one could blame Lando for telling Han just to get out of town and not bother coming by again. While it’s not a friendship-ending situation, egos can get bruised in affairs of the heart.
Lando greets Han with a fake attempted punch, which evolves into a great hug and a laugh. Time has passed and Calrissian is ready to let bygones be bygones. Then he sees Han with a woman, a beautiful woman at that, and can’t resist one final dig at Solo for what he did.
After all, when people bury the hatchet, sometimes they like to give it a little extra shove so the other party sees their magnanimity. I’m speaking generally here, of course. Not everyone does that. But people do like to make sure their gestures are acknowledged.
In acknowledging Leia, who is obviously with Han, Calrissian’s moving to show Solo that there’s a conscious effort to move past the Past.
Additional Note About the Vader Thing
Lando obviously didn’t know that his friend was going to be tortured and put into carbon freeze. He was successfully deluding himself with the idea that Vader could be trusted and that he was going to be able to keep his friends safe by making his deal.
Remember, he explicitly says that “giving Han to this bounty hunter” was never a part of the deal later in the film. So don’t try to use that ish to muddy this part of the discussion.
By no means is my read on these things the final word. But in thinking about it, I like this read on the implied past between Han and Lando more than any other I’ve read. And I’ve read them all back to the West End Games First Edition RPG explanations.