A few days ago it was reported that Disney is looking to cast an actor as Lando Calrissian for their still untitled Star Wars spinoff featuring a young Han Solo in the lead (Alden Ehrenreich). The film will be helmed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Lando is, perhaps, the most popular minor character from the original trilogy. Little is known about his backstory -at least in canon Star Wars cinema- but it’s clear he’s had a long friendly bromance/rivalry with Han from the way the character’s scenes were written.
The minute this news broke, Twitter immediately started throwing around the name Michael B. Jordan. I understand why, but no. Just no. I fucking love Michael B. Jordan. I love him more than you. I’ve loved Michael B. Jordan since he butchered the count and defended the dude who invented chicken nuggets by saying “he had the idea, though”. I had a personal grudge against Idris Elba for a decade. That’s how much I love Michael B. Jordan. But he’s wrong for this movie. Here’s why:
- He’s way, way too big of a star for a supporting role opposite an up-and-coming actor like Ehrenreich. You cast Michael B. Jordan in this movie and it quickly becomes a Michael B. Jordan movie, not a Han Solo movie.
- See reason 1.
I have some ideas though. What I want in a young Lando is someone who can act, provide witty banter with Han, and rock a mean mustache. That’s all that matters. I could care less how closely the actor resembles Billy Dee Williams.
I did something similar over a year ago when they announced Han Solo. I didn’t ultimately nail Ehrenreich but three of the four reported finalist did appear on my initial guesses. Check that out here.
Here are 13 suggestions for young Lando, ordered from most obvious to most outside the box.
Oh, and for God’s sake, please do not make a scene showing Han winning the Falcon from Lando in card game. That’s a timeless urban legend and should be treated as such.
You may know him from: A lot of things. Derrick Comedy. NBC’s Community. His musical output. Glover has also made the transition to higher-profile films, with appearances in Magic Mike XXL, The Martian, and the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming. His new show for FX, Atlanta, premieres next month.
Why it works: Well, he’s already the fan favorite and Devin Faraci of Birth. Movies. Death. has gone as far as to say he has a source saying Glover is Disney’s first choice. Glover is popular, funny, and a better actor than he gets credit for. It’s easy to see him fitting in with what I assume is going to be a rather lighthearted film. And he sort of looks like Billy Dee, if such things matter.
Why it doesn’t: Glover is very busy. His career doesn’t need the boost. He’s the only one on this list who could confidently turn down the role. If you cast someone as recognizable as Donald Glover you also run the risk of this turning into a “Donald Glover movie”, which probably isn’t what Disney wants for what will be a supporting part.
You may know him from: He did an exceptional job as Dre in the smash hit Straight Outta Compton. Also had small parts in big films like Non-Stop and Iron Man 3. He was on season 6 of The Walking Dead. Upcoming work includes Kong: Skull Island and the lead role in FOX’s 24 reboot.
Why it works: Checks all the boxes in terms of age, acting chops, and appeal. He’s famous enough to bring a few extra moviegoers out but not so famous that he’d overshadow other cast members or the character himself. He’s a Julliard guy; you know he can act. I’m all-in on Hawkins. He’s my personal preferred pick.
Why it doesn’t: Hasn’t shown the semi-comedic ability or the effortless cool the role likely requires. That’s all I got and it’s a reach. He’s my pick.
You may know him from: He played the lead in the critically-acclaimed Dope and got some serious awards buzz for it. He stars in the musical series The Get Down which just came on Netflix. That’s really it beyond some random guest parts on TV shows.
Why it works: Like Hawkins, appears to check all the boxes without distracting. Dope is a really popular movie that will continue to have lucrative life via streaming. People love him in it.
Why it doesn’t: He’s five years younger than Ehrenreich, though I’d argue Moore actually looks older. Has he shown enough to land a part in a movie this big? I’d say no based on conventional wisdom but he’s more prominent than Daisy Ridley was when she was cast.
You may know him from: He played John Lewis in Selma, as well as Jesse Owens in Race, the latter of which originally went to John Boyega. That’s some pretty high-profile work for a guy whose name most people don’t know. He got his start on Degrassi: The Next Generation (he’s Canadian, after all).
Why it works: Proven actor, ridiculously good looking dude. He’s won some serious awards and acclaim in Canada and now American audiences are noticing.
Why it doesn’t: Another guy who hasn’t yet show he can be funny and/or suave. Not saying he can’t, we just haven’t seen it yet.
You may know him from: He’s a fairly prominent R&B musician, but is probably best known as Grey Worm on Game of Thrones. Other acting credits include Broadchurch and the very good Adulthood.
Why it works: He’s the perfect age and is a much more versatile actor than his GOT role would suggest.
Why it doesn’t: Wouldn’t draw much internet buzz, I’d guess (which DOES matter). He’s also very very British, though he does a fine job hiding any accent when he needs to.
Tyler James Williams
You may know him from: He played the title character on Everybody Hates Chris. Has had a bunch of smaller TV parts, most notably on The Walking Dead. Also starred in the critically-acclaimed Dear White People.
Why it works: He’s very, very funny and has shown some dramatic ability as well. He’s paid his dues. He certainly seems ready to jump the plateau into major film work.
Why it doesn’t: Will he be able to make viewers buy him in action sequences if they’re required?
You may know him from: Had a small but memorable part as Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter movies. Currently stars on ABC’s smash hit How to Get Away With Murder, for which he’s received numerous awards.
Why it works: Haven’t seen his show, so I can’t personally say much about his acting chops but he’s a very handsome dude who’s gained a lot of fans over the last couple years. Like many others on this last, his moment is coming, it’s just a matter of time.
Why it doesn’t: Is he funny? Does he ooze charisma? I’m really asking.
You may know him from: Currently starring in Starz’s LeBron-produced Survivor’s Remorse. Had a major role in Independence Day: Resurgence as the son of Will Smith’s character from the original.
Why it works: Hollywood certainly sees him as a rising star. Folks who watch his show say he’s really good in it. Can pull of a ‘stache.
Why it doesn’t: I am not personally convinced that he can really act. He was truly awful in Independence Day, though that may have had more to do with the nature of the thin role.
You may know him from: As a youngster, gave a powerful turn as Michael Lee on the final two seasons of The Wire. Also was the male lead on the CW’s 90210. Recently, he’s been active as a musician under the moniker Mack Wilds. Appeared in the films Half Nelson and The Secret Life of Bees. His debut album New York: A Love Story was met with general acclaim and even nominated for a Grammy.
Why it works: He’s a very capable actor if acting is still something that interests him. If we’re talking about pure looks, he’s got a slightly pudgier face than most on this list which would help him pass as a young Billy Dee (again, that shouldn’t matter).
Why it doesn’t: He may very well be more focused on music, as his acting output has slowed down over the last three years. He also carries this uber-serious demeanor about him that may not fit for this role.
You may know him from: Not the son of Forrest, but he was named after Denzel Washington. Whitaker’s most notable work came when he was young; Training Day, The Great Debaters, and Warrior. He’s got a pretty extensive list of TV guest appearance and voice work as well.
Why it works: He’s a really good actor and is the same age as Ehrenreich.
Why it doesn’t: Carries little-to-no name recognition. Very good chance the people making the casting decision don’t know who he is.
You may know him from: For such a young man he’s remarkably accomplished as a stage/screen actor and singer. Probably most well known for TV work like Eureka and American Crime. He also starred as Young Simba in The Lion King on Broadway for a stretch.
Why it works: He’s fun. Charisma is clear in his work. A rising star who some studio is going to find a major role for soon, if not Disney.
Why it doesn’t: Probably too young, especially if rumors of them wanting Lando to be slightly older than Han are true.
You may know him from: He’s been quite famous for a minute now, mostly due to familial ties. Well-known movies include The Pursuit of Happiness, the remake of The Karate Kid, and the god-awful After Earth. He has a music career as well and currently stars on Netflix’s The Get Down.
Why it works: One of the bigger names on this list; could probably bring in a small otherwise uninterested audience.
Why it doesn’t: He’s young, he hasn’t proven he can really act, and he’s become somewhat a parody of himself in the public eye. I’m only including him because others seem to be doing so.
You may know him from: His extremely successful rap career, first and foremost. But Joey has said he really wants to transition into acting and he currently has a minor but scene-stealing part on Mr. Robot.
Why it works: Don’t want to overreact to a few scenes from one of my favorite shows (Mr. Robot), but I think he can act and be funny as well. Most people going into the movie probably wouldn’t know who he is, which can help on a creative level (does the movie really need star power?).
Why it doesn’t: Still very much TBD as an actor, doesn’t really look the part, and he’s incredibly busy as a musician. He’ll be opening for ScHoolboy Q’s worldwide tour. This is, obviously, a WAY outside-the-box suggestion.