Did Lando Calrissian inadvertently set young Ben Solo down a very dark path at a young age in the current Star Wars cinematic canon? That's the new backstory hinted at in an upcoming novel tied into The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And it offers a little bit of weird insight into the early life of Kylo Ren.
As innocuous as it seems, a present from 'Uncle Lando' may have turned an innocent boy down the road to the dark side of the force. And it's a bit of lore that sounds funnier than anything else. In fact, it's a little bit strange and weird. But no more weird than the director sharing a song about a cannibalistic Jedi that may or not be Luke Skywalker.
A lot of us have been there before. Childless, a friend or relative has a kid. What do you get them for a birthday present? Something inappropriate, of course. Perhaps not on purpose, but a good portion of people can identify with gifting the wrong thing to the wrong person. And that's the weird idea set up in the new book Aftermath: Empire's End. And it gives us a hint as to why Ben Solo may have gone so Goth.
It seems that in the cinematic Star Wars universe, Lando Calrissian may have given Ben a birthday gift that was a fashion gateway into the dark side. And no, this isn't a joke. The idea is set up that Lando may have given Han and Leia's kid a cape. io9 has an excerpt from the impending novel. And the short glimpse inside these pages reveals that Lando, at one point, was quite stymied by the idea of getting a child a birthday gift.
Lando returns alongside the iconic side character Lobot, his loyal assistant first introduced on Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back. Lobot reminds his boss that he still needs to get Han and Leia a present for their wedding. But Lando is much more interested in getting little Ben a gift. And he actually says this line, which totally sounds like some kind of joke being played on all of us.
"Okay, okay. Buying gifts for a kid. Can we get him a cute little cape and a mustache so he looks like old Uncle Lando?"
Now, it's being speculated that Lando buying Ben a cape for one of his very first birthday's helped send the kid down the wrong road. Did it have an adverse effect on his psyche? We know from The Force Awakens that Kylo Ren is obsessed with Darth Vader, who always wore a cape with his Sith armor. It's not impossible to image that Ben rejected the cape, and being the 'Uncle' that he is, Lando tried to pursued Ben into thinking the cape was cool by showing off his own love for capes.
Because it's true. Lando Calrissian is one of the only good guys in the Star Wars movie canon who wears a full-on cape. There are Jedi robes, but not Jedi capes. Biggs Darklighter did wear a cape in A New Hope, but most fans have never seen that deleted footage. Receiving a cape could have sent some very mixed messages about becoming a dark side dictator.
It's also easy to imagine, in a real world scenario, that Ben rejected the cape, and Lando said, 'You know who wore capes? Your grandfather!' Opening up a pandora's box that can't be closed. 'Who was my grandfather?' It would be quite interesting if Lando then opened up about Anakin Skywalker and his Sith alter ego, explaining Darth Vader in a way that perhaps wouldn't have been explained to him by his parents. Did Lando expose the dark secret of Ben's grandfather before Han and Leia had a chance to fully explain it only in a way an Uncle might? That is all very interesting speculation. And it might account for why we haven't seen Lando.
It's easy to imagine Leia getting mad at Han for Lando's cape gifting decision and the subsequent Darth Vader conversation that followed. It's also very easy to read between the lines, and see that perhaps Han and Leia felt Lando was a bad influence on the fragile young boy with force sensitive powers. Perhaps it's all a little to Seinfeldian in its comedic nature. But it could also be very on point.
The fact that Lando is gifting Kylo Ren a cape could, perhaps, be one of the defining moments in Ben Solo's backstory. The excerpt from Empire's End doesn't give away what Lando eventually gifted Ben for his birthday, or what he got Han and Leia as a wedding gift, which could have led to his exile.
The book itself goes onto explain how Lando Calrissian and Lobot took back Cloud City and even includes the line, 'Lobot, we're home.' A direct reference to Han Solo and Chewbacca coming aboard the Millennium Falcon in The Force Awakens. Bespin is in disarray when the pair returns. And Lando is set on reestablishing his empire. Here is the book's official synopsis.
"EVERY END IS A NEW BEGINNING. As the final showdown between the New Republic and the Empire draws near, all eyes turn to a once-isolated planet: Jakku. The Battle of Endor shattered the Empire, scattering its remaining forces across the galaxy. But the months following the Rebellion's victory have not been easy. The fledgling New Republic has suffered a devastating attack from the Imperial remnant, forcing the new democracy to escalate their hunt for the hidden enemy. For her role in the deadly ambush, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane is the most wanted Imperial war criminal, and one-time rebel pilot Norra Wexley, back in service at Leia's urgent request, is leading the hunt. But more than just loyalty to the New Republic drives Norra forward: Her husband was turned into a murderous pawn in Sloane's assassination plot, and now she wants vengeance as much as justice. But Sloane, too, is on a furious quest: pursuing the treacherous Gallius Rax to the barren planet Jakku. As the true mastermind behind the Empire's devastating attack, Rax has led the Empire to its defining moment. The cunning strategist has gathered the powerful remnants of the Empire's war machine, preparing to execute the late Emperor Palpatine's final plan. As the Imperial fleet orbits Jakku, an armada of Republic fighters closes in to finish what began at Endor. Norra and her crew soar into the heart of an apocalyptic clash that will leave land and sky alike scorched. And the future of the galaxy will finally be decided."
The synopsis doesn't even mention Lando by name. But we'll certainly learn more about what became of him following the events of Return of the Jedi, a movie that didn't include an appearance by Lobot. It's predicted that we'll learn more about Lando's current whereabouts in the new novel, which hits store shelves on February 21. From the sounds of it, he built Cloud City into a refuge for immigrants becoming the anti-Donald Trump with his luxury resort that caters to all aliens. If Lando didn't get exiled for giving the wrong birthday gift to Kylo, it's also possible that he's still just hanging out on Cloud City. Which means Star Wars 9 may be making a return to that iconic location. However this all works out, it's good to know that Lando is still hanging around the galaxy with his old pal Lobot.
Billy Dee Williams has not been confirmed to return in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and it doesn't sound like he has a cameo either. But a young Lando will return in Han Solo: A Star Wars Story, played at a younger age by Donald Glover in a story that takes place 10 years before A New Hope.