The lies, quotes, card games that make space pirate Lando Calrissian awesome

Feb 9, 2019

The lies, quotes, card games and a ballsy attack on the Death Star that make space pirate Lando Calrissian awesome

If you were asked to ever name the most famous black person in a science fiction film you could be forgiven for saying Yaphet Kotto from Alien.

You could even be forgiven for suggesting Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury or even as Mace Windu.

But if someone prompted you with Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, and you were like 'huh?' then you'd never be forgiven because Lando is where it's as far as Star Wars characters go and one of the most iconic sci-fi characters played by a black man.

Yes, you have the space smuggler of Han, the wide-eyed boy of Luke and the Wookie charm of Chewbacca but when Empire threw Lando Calrissian into the mix, we got it all - the confident ladies man with a backstory we just knew we wanted to know more about.

He was the guy who seemingly betrayed his gambling buddy but all along was desperate to help Han and his old buddies. And as for Jedi when he lead the assault on the Death Star II? Legend.

So what is the back story of Lando? What is the trivia you need to know and what are his best lines?

We'll we'll do our best to share!

The Triva
  • In the original Empire script when Lando is about to lead Han, Leia, and Chewie into the trap laid out by Darth Vader, Lando offers his arm to Leia, as a gesture to lead her down the hallway to which she accepts. Harrison Ford ad-libbed Han rushing up to the Princess and offering his arm to her at the exact same moment to imply that Han was jealous of Lando's gentlemanly actions. It's not the only thing Ford ad-libbed in Empire...
  • One of the first ideas for Lando Calrissian was to have him as a clone who survived the Clone Wars who leads legions of clones. Ultimately he was made his own man and Jango Fett kind of took that role.
  • Originally scripted as having the name of  "Lando Kadar".
  • Yaphet Kotto, who we mentioned above, was apparently offered the role of Lando Calrissian but turned it down. Clearly, Kotto was an idiot.
The Back Story of the Millenium Falcon

While the Expanded Universe took Lando in some interesting directions, Empire suggested that Lando and Han had a long back story, indeed Han Solo won the Millennium Falcom from Lando in a game of Sabbac.

In the first instance, the 'bat ship' fell into the hands of Lando Calrissian after a card game of sabacc from a gambler called Cix Trouvee.

The Quotes

Lando, ever the ladies man had some pretty sweet lines in Empire and Jedi.

Empire Strikes Back quotes:
  • Why, you slimy, double-crossing, no-good swindler.
  • Having trouble with your droid?
  • You look absolutely beautiful. You truly belong here with us among the clouds.
  • They told me they fixed it! I *trusted* them to *fix* it! It's not my fault!
  • This deal is getting worse all the time!
Return of the Jedi quotes:
  • No, wait! I thought you were blind! (Han is about to shoot at the Sarlacc's tendril that is wrapped on Lando's leg
  • That blast came from the Death Star! That thing's operational! - it sure was Lando, pull up
  • Break off the attack! The shield is still up!
  • We're on our way, Red group, Gold group, all fighters follow me. Ha ha ha, I told you they'd do it!
Extra for Experts

Luke Skywalker is arguably irrelevant to the last half of the Return of the Jedi.

If you think about it, in terms of destroying the Empire, Luke didn’t need to be on the Death Star as Lando Calrissian had that covered – the Emperor and Vader operating as two Sith Lords working in tandem to rule the Galaxy would have been destroyed when Lando blew up the Death Star. Right? 

Things I learned reading the novel of Revenge of the Sith

I happened to come across a copy of the novelisation of Revenge of the Sith for 2 bucks. Given it's a favorite Star Wars movie of mine, I bought it and read on the bus to work.

And so it was that I learned a few things.

Anakin only has eyes for SidiusRevenge refers to not only the long history of the Sith, but it also refers to Anakin's revenge - for being a slave and for his mother as when you think about it, he is a Sith.

Dooku had big plans to reform things for the greater good but didn't realize he was only the pretend apprentice to Darth Sidious til the very end.


C3PO's memory was ordered to be wiped as he suggested in front of Bail Organa he would tell Padme's children about their parents one day. This was not in the film as far as I recall - so it kind of explains why the action was taken - however it doesn't explain why R2D2 didn't really say much about his experiences to Luke!

I had thought the duel between Sidous and Yoda ended in a bit of a draw with Sidious taking the moral victory.  The novel reveals during the fight Yoda realised he had lost the fight before he had even been born.

Which is kind of amusing as Mace Windu actually beat Sidious and had him till Anakin stepped in. Unless Sidious was foxing but the book didn't suggest that.  

The novel confirmed Obi-Wan was indeed a bad ass. But we all knew that anyway.

In the A New Hope film, Obi-Wan discusses Vader's being seduced by the dark side. In ROTS, the seduction is played as an obvious slow build. My take on the novel is Anakin is more tricked by a promise of saving Padme's life. One can argue the toss but the book really gets into Anakin's emotions earlier on than the namesake film, meaning his seduction is more believable.

Of course one must take these things with a grain of salt as Star Wars canon is the films themselves (and anything else official since the release of The Force Awakens), anything else is expanded universe stuff which at the end of the day is 'nice to know' things and adventure but it doesn't cut it as stuff that's an immutable law of the franchise.

Generally speaking the novel was pretty faithful to the film, as you would expect. It gave some great insights into how the Jedi's perceived the Force as they went into battle and the like.

What Academy Awards have the Star Wars films won?

Feb 6, 2019
Ben Burtt Academy Award win Star Wars
Ben Burt, C3PO and Mark Hamill

What Oscars did Star Wars win?

You don't necessarily think of Star Wars films as being Academy Award winners but they are.

When Star Wars was released in 1977 it was not just the movie goers that loved it, the critical reception was positive so when it came to Oscar seasons, Star Wars actually got 10 nominations and won 7.

That's right A New Hope won 7 Oscars, an incredible achievement for a science fiction film.

George Lucas got a director's gong nod and Alec Guinness famously got a best-supporting actor's nomination for his efforts as the fatherly Obi-Wan Kenobi however neither won the award. The movie also failed to win Best Picture and Best Script.

Star Wars: A New Hope won Oscars for:
  • Best Art Direction-Set Decoration
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Sound
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Effects, Visual Effects
  • Best Music, Original Score
So Star Wars: A New Hope won 6 Oscars in total.

A key fact is that the person who won the gong for Film editing, was George Lucas's wife, Marcia Lucas. The tale of editing Star Wars is actually quite the story.

By the time Empire rolled around, Lucas and film director Irvine Kershner had some issues with the Directors Guild of America so it would seem these issues contributed to a lack of nominations, or perhaps the business had got over the sensation of Star Wars and were not so star struck. 
  • The Empire Strikes back won a gong for Best Sound.
  • Jedi won a special achievement award for Visual Effects. 
While the awards dried up, the innovations that Lucasfilm came up with during production had a long and lasting effect on Hollywood and paved the way for many other movie makers which is probably the most rewarding thing for Lucas.

So in total Star Wars movies have won 8 Oscars, 7 being real ones.

Other worthy awards won include a Golden Globe for John Williams' score and a BAFTA for Best Sound.

The Phantom Menace was nominated for three awards:

  • Oscar Best Sound - Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson, Shawn Murphy, John Midgley
  • Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing - Ben Burtt, Tom Bellfort
  • Best Effects, Visual Effects - John Knoll, Dennis Muren, Scott Squires, Rob Coleman
The Attack of the Clones was nominated for one award:
  • Best Visual Effects - Rob Coleman, Pablo Helman, John Knoll, Ben Snow
Revenge of the Sith was nominated for one award:
  • Achievement in Makeup - Dave Elsey, Nikki Gooley

The Force Awakens was nominated for five awards:

  • Film Editing – Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey
  • Original Score – John Williams 
  • Visual Effects – Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, and Chris Corbould
  • Sound Editing – Matthew Wood and David Acord 
  • Sound Mixing – Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, and Stuart Wilson 

Rogue One was nominated for two Oscars:

  • Sound Mixing - David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio, Stuart Wilson
  • Visual Effects - John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal T. Hickel, Neil Corbould

The Last Jedi was nominated for four awards:

  • Original Score – John Williams 
  • Visual Effects – Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould, and Neal Scanlan
  • Sound Editing – Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce
  • Sound Mixing – Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, and Michael Semanick 
Solo: A Star Wars story was nominated for a single gong:
  • Best Visual Effects - Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Dominic Tuohy

Industrial Light & Magic Presents: Making Solo: A Star Wars Story

Jan 27, 2019
han solo making film book

The Solo film has its own 'making of' book which features lots of amazing concept art and design pictures and stories from the production.

Industrial Light & Magic Presents: Making Solo: A Star Wars Story is an eyewitness account of the film’s production from visual effects supervisor and co-producer Rob Bredow.

The book gives readers an intimate glimpse into the journey that Solo took from pre-production, production, and post-production, fully documenting how this film came to the big screen.

Making Solo gives a chronological overview of how this multiple-Academy-Award-winning visual effects company created new worlds, aliens, droids, and vehicles for a galaxy far, far away, including insights into how the train heist on Vandor, L3-37, the Kessel Run, and the reimagined Millennium Falcon were brought to life. 

A must-have for Star Wars fans, this authorized, all-access book will be an indispensable work for all movie fans and devotees of popular culture.

han solo making book

Rob Brewdow has had a pretty amazing run of late. Check out his biography:

Rob Bredow is the Executive Creative Director and Head of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) who runs the company with a particular focus on the creative strategy for the storied visual effects company. He brings an innovative focus to the role, with a background in technology and hands-on experience both as a visual effects supervisor, technology executive, and production partner.

Bredow recently served as the Visual Effects Supervisor and Co-Producer on Solo: A Star Wars Story. He served as a creative partner to the filmmakers throughout the production, from the earliest story meetings to the final frames of visual effects. He leveraged his background in innovative technology to help tell the story of the film, creating grounded images with a unique shooting style designed for the movie.

Bredow joined Lucasfilm in 2014 as Vice President of New Media and Head of Lucasfilm’s Advanced Development Group. He helped launch ILMxLAB in 2015 and co-wrote and directed Trials on Tatooine, a story-based virtual reality experiment created in collaboration with Lucasfilm’s Story Group, ILMxLAB and Skywalker Sound.

In his former role as Lucasfilm Chief Technology Officer, Bredow oversaw all technology development for Lucasfilm and ILM.

So he's no slug and Solo was just nominated for an Oscar for Best Visual Effects so his book is sure to give great insights. Order your copy from Amazon.

The influence of Steven Spielberg on Star Wars

Jan 21, 2019
spielberg and lucas on a film set

The influence of Steven Spielberg on George Lucas and Star Wars

Steven Spielberg is arguably one of the most popular and talented filmmakers there is.

They invented the word blockbuster because of his film Jaws.

Literally, people queued up around the block to see the 1975 movie! To see a shark eat a man. Or three.

Spielberg went on to create wonderful films including science fiction gold such as E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, A.I., and Minority Report. Not too forget his other works such as the Oscar winning Shindler's List, Saving Private Ryan or this author's favourite Spielberg movie, Empire of the Sun.

So why are we talking about Steven Spielberg on a Star Wars fan site? What's the connection to George Lucas? What influence has he had?

There's many connections (other than a great friendship) - four of them are some films that all feature a certain whip wearing character called Indiana Jones.

You see, Spielberg directed those movies but they were largely George Lucas productions - he wrote and produced them to satisfy his desire to capture the magic of the films that had inspired him as a child.

Spielberg once said "With Star Wars, George put the butter back into the popcorn.” which is possibly the greatest compliment one director can give another.

So the connection between Spielberg and Lucas is very real and very close. They've made movies together so surely they must have had the odd chat with each other about the movies they've made?

Of course they have and this has lead to Spielberg have some influence over the direction in which George Lucas took the Star Wars films - after all, if one of your greatest friends is a fan of your work and ideas and is actually one of the world's greatest directors in his own right, you'd totally take some of his suggestions and ideas on board!

So let's look at some of the actual influences that Steven Spielberg has had on the Star Wars universe.

A New Hope, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and a certain bet

Let's start with an indirect one. After making THX1138 and the acclaimed American Graffiti, Lucas had made a name for himself in Hollywood and was working on the production of Star Wars.

At a similar time, Spielberg was producing what became Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

George was a bit nervous about how Star Wars was going to turn out and during a set visit to Spielberg's film expressed such concerns. Steven promptly backed his friend so much so he suggested they swap royalty points on each other's films by way of a bet that each other's film would do better.

Fearing a flop with his own movie, Lucas agreed. 

While Encounters did pretty well at the box office, Spielberg actually cleaned up on Star Wars and it's now the stuff of legend that he actually has made over 46 million dollars to date from Star Wars and he didn't even have to lift a finger to do it! Has an easier 46 million bucks ever been made from a set visit by a friend.

Da na. Da na. Da na!

Let's go back to Jaws, the first film we mentioned. Other than the shark, Bruce was his name, eating Captain Quint, one of the most famous parts of that movie was the music. The classic two note motif was the work of a composer called John Williams.

It was Spielberg that suggested and introduced Williams to Lucas to score the music of Stars Wars. Given Williams' subsequent score has become one of the most famous, if not the most famous movies scores of all time, Spielberg's influence on Star Wars was massive enough for this alone!

It's armor. On a woman. It doesn't have to look femine.

Jan 20, 2019
This is still brilliant!

Remember the crap people were throwing JJ Abram's direction when so few women were supposedly cast in The Force Awakens?

The people who run the Star Wars Facebook page clearly know a thing or two about handling sexism issues in this new Star Wars / social media era.

Check out this response to a fanboy / troll comment about Captain Phasma's armor (which was originally an early concept for Kylo Ren)

Simply Brilliant.

Is Mace Windu actually stronger than Yoda?

Jan 19, 2019
yoda and mace windu

How powerful was Mace Windu? Was he stronger than Yoda?

Not many people have realised that Mace Windu was a more powerful Jedi that Yoda.

How so?

This can't be true. Yoda was a bad ass - we saw him take on Count Dooku and the Emperor!

And that is true, Yoda fought Dooku in Attack of the Clones and fought an epic saber duel against Palpatine himself.

But Yoda did not beat Palpatine.

Who did beat the Palpatine?

Mace Windu did. He beat him fair and square. It was only the naive intervention of Anakin Skywalker that allowed the Emperor a literal window of opportunity to send Mace out the window to his presumed death.

I'd thus contend that by virtue of Yoda being unable to defeat the Sith Lord and that Mace managed to defeat him, Mace Windu was a more powerful Jedi than Yoda.

It's arguable of course, there are many other attributes of being a Jedi that can be defined as powerful - however, if you want to boil it down, Jedi are knights and how are knights ultimately judged?

By their swordsmanship.

Which raises an interesting point. In the novelisation of Revenge of the Sith, Windu suggests to Kenobi that Kenobi is the better swordsman, thus making him the most powerful Jedi!

↠ How long are the Star Wars movies if you add them all up?

how many minutes is star wars run time

Here's a list of the running times of the Star Wars films. 

The timings are in minutes.

  • The Phantom Menace – 133 minutes
  • Attack of the Clones – 142 minutes
  • Revenge of the Sith – 140 minutes
  • A New Hope – 121 minutes
  • The Empire Strikes Back – 124 minutes
  • Return of the Jedi – 131 minutes
  • The Force Awakens – 138 minutes
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - 133 minutes
  • The Last Jedi - 152 minutes
  • Han 'Solo' Prequel - 135 minutes

Extra for Experts:

So based on the above, The Last Jedi is the longest running Star Wars movie and A New Hope is the shortest (excluding the Ewok movies and the Holiday Special).

If you counted all the Star Wars movies released so far (excluding the kids films and Special), their total running time is 1349 minutes with an average of 134.9 minutes.

If you add in the Ewok spin off movies and the infamous Holiday Special you get a combined running time of 1637 minutes with an average film running time of 126 minutes.

That's a lot of Star Wars to watch!

I debated about adding The Clone Wars movie to these numbers but decided against it as I just suck at maths.

Why 'John Carter' of Mars is the original Star Wars film

Jan 3, 2019
a princess of mars original cover

'John Carter' of Mars is the original Star Wars film

While Star Wars was really inspired by George Lucas’s love of the Flash Gordon serial, the real inspiration comes from science fiction author Edgar Rice Burroughs.

His nearly 100-year-old stories about a human that travels to Mars and falls in love with a beautiful princess are often argued as being responsible for the whole ‘green men from Mars’ thing and Star Wars...

It is irrelevant that the recent 'based on the books' movie called John Carter flopped big time at the box office ( I enjoyed it!).

Of the film itself, Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis apparently turned down the chance to direct, quipping "George already pillaged all of that" with the "Star Wars" films.

In other words, most of the best elements of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars fantasies had already been "borrowed" for George Lucas' space saga, and just because the film was dismissed by many people, the source material cannot be so easily rejected.

Lucas made no bones about how he was inspired by Rice's work and said in 1977 “Originally, I wanted to make a Flash Gordon movie, with all the trimmings, but I couldn’t obtain all the rights.

So I began researching and found where (Flash Gordon creator) Alex Raymond got his idea: The works of Edgar Rice, especially his John Carter series of books."

Indeed, the first draft of the Star Wars follow up, The Empire Strikes Back was written by science fiction author Leigh Bracket.

She was quoted as saying:

 “I was introduced to Edgar Rice Burroughs at a very young age . . . That changed the course of my life . . . My fascination for Mars came from the fascination for his Mars.”

It's hard then not to see how her influence also shaped Star Wars by way of Burroughs. 

Some of the influences are plot based.

Some are style.

Check out this comparison:

leia and dejah gold bikini inspiration
Dejah versus Leia
Dejah Thoris, the Princess Of Mars herself, was commonly described and depicted as wearing golden bikinis and showing a lot of skin.

Is it a surprise then that ANOTHER princess wore a golden bikini in Return of the Jedi?

Probably not, so Good one George.

George also took a bit of 'naming' help from Burroughs.

Ever wonder where the word Jedi came from?

While it may have an Asian language link, the monarchs found on the planet of Mars are a titled Jed (king), Jeddak (emperor) and Jeddara (empress) respectively.

So one can assume Jedi may have come from Edgar Rice. On Barsoom a 'padwar' is a low-ranking officer.

This is not too far a stretch from 'padawan', an apprentice Jedi, is it not?

Did you ever see Attack of the Clones? 

Carter vs Clones
At the end, it featured a pretty epic Colosseum battle where Yoda swooped in with his merry band of Clone Troopers so save the luckless Jedi from certain defeat. 

Did you notice that the John Carter had a similar scene where the hero had to battle chained alien beasts?

If you thought John Carter was ripping off Star Wars, think again, Burroughs wrote this scene over 100 years ago!

So, if we accept these elements found in Star Wars are indeed nicked from the stories that Burroughs set on Mars, then it would seem only fair to Disney's John Carter of Mars that it should be recognized as the original Star Wars movie.

Or not...

If you want an expert's take, read this. Or you could read an essay on how I watched 6 movies that George said influenced him when making Star Wars.

Everything you need to know about Darth Vader

Dec 30, 2018
Tis but a scratch!

Here's some facts and trivia bout Darth Vader

Here’s everything* you need to know about Darth Vader.

  • Who is he? Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker before he became a Sith Lord known as Darth Vader. A fallen Jedi Knight, Vader became the 'evil henchman' of Sheev Palpatine who rose to rule over the galaxy. In reality, the six Star Wars films are about the rise and fall of Vader’s character.
  • The Darth Vader mask that appeared in Revenge of the Sith was fashioned using a digital design to computer-lathe the base master, from which molds were made to cast the on-screen costume masks. This meant Vader’s mask was exactly symmetrical.
  • While Qui-Gon Jin theorized that Anakin’s virgin birth was the will of the Force, Palpatine implied in Revenge of the Sith that Darth Plagueis caused the birth using the Force - earlier drafts of the ROTS script suggested this was indeed the case. It’s non-canon however, so it’s only a theory.
  • Vader's look was inspired by Nazi uniforms.
  • In the Alan Dean Foster novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, Luke and Vader have a duel and Luke chops off Vader’s arm. When Lucas decided that the novel would not form the basis of the second film the book was made redundant however Lucas keep the idea of the arm severing and reversed who did what. Which was again reversed in Jedi…
  • Seven people have contributed to the character performance of Darth Vader in the movies. If we go in chronological order - Jake Lloyd played Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace, Hayden Christian played Anni and Darth in the other two prequels, David Prowse was the suit in all three original trilogy films while James Earl Jones did the voice over 4 times (inc Revenge of the Sith). Bob Anderson chipped in with some stunt work in Jedi and Sebastian Shaw famously played the unmasked Vader in Jedi as well. Finally, when The Empire Strikes Back was redone for re release in 1994-95, C. Andrew Nelson was used for a few fill in bits and bobs ( See his drop by notes in the comments!).
  • Occasionally people think it was Vader’s son Luke Skywalker who brought balance to the Force. While Luke’s efforts helped with it, the actual of balancing the Force came when Vader chose to throw the Emperor down the well (as the Emperor was in the middle of killing Luke with Force lightning). Vader found the compassion or love for his son was greater than what ever loyalty he had to the Emperor and the Dark Side of the Force. Vader truly was the chosen one.
  • Vader was a defeated man. The main way he fell to the Dark Side was by way of trying to find a means to prevent his wife’s death. When he actually caused Padme's death what did he have to live for? Nothing. He was simply trapped as the heavy breathing vessel of Palpatine. He did eventually become obsessed with finding this son so they together could overthrow Palatine.
  • In A New Hope, the character has only 8 minutes of screen time. It was all that was needed to propel Vader to becoming one of the most popular bad guys in the history of bad guys in movies.
  • Vader’s theme song is known as the Imperial March and is often used to signify the arrival of a bad person by smart alecs who hum the tune as they enter a room.
  • James Earl Jones did the voice of Vader.
  • Vader’s confession to Luke that he was his father in The Empire Strikes Back is considered by many movie fans to be the best plot twist in a movie. This concept was not originally thought of by Lucas for the first film which clearly intended that Vader and Anakin were different people -please recall Obi Wan’s expository scene with Luke. The line said during the filming of the scene was “Obi Wan killed your father” – a clever ruse to throw people off the real twist (which apparently only the Lucas, Kasdan, Kershner and Hamill actually knew the truth of).
Not satisfied with this?

Here's some more facts and myths about Darth Vader! And some more Star Wars facts and easter eggs.

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