StarWars.com: Let’s talk about Last Shot. Why are the characters of Han Solo and Lando Calrissian so appealing?
Daniel José Older: Han and Lando are both so much fun. I love the balance or the tension between recklessness and responsibility. They both embody that in very fascinating and very different ways and exploring that was a pure literary pleasure for me, especially with the different ages involved. We have a younger Lando and a younger Han, and then both of them more mature post-Return of the Jedi, and we’re exploring what it means to tear off into the galaxy and cause trouble back then versus right now, and the different responsibilities they have. It was just a lot of fun.
StarWars.com: What do you think sets Lando and Han apart? The two of them are living on both sides of the law, but as you mention, they approach things differently. How are Han Solo and Lando Calrissian different from each other and how does that conflict sometimes?
Daniel José Older: That’s a fascinating question. On one end, we see in this book Han having settled down with a family but not feeling settled inside. Then we see Lando, really, really wanting to settle down — he kind of wants what Han has — but they both are used to this rugged smuggler lifestyle that they’ve been living for their whole lives, so they’re both trying to find what it means to settle down but in different ways. Like I said, Han has already found it, but doesn’t know how to reconcile it with who he is, and Lando is looking for it in a more romantic way.
And stylistically, there’s a lot of really interesting differences. The famous capes, of course, but that speaks to this whole other persona that Lando has that sets him apart from Han, who is pretty much a throw-it-on-and-go type of dude. And then you have different forms of strategy. Lando is a sweet-talker, Han is not, memorably. They are both fighters and warriors, in different ways and they both have their own forms of diplomacy. All of those are different things that came up throughout the book.
StarWars.com: You mention that we see them in younger, pre-A New Hope forms, perhaps around the time of Solo: A Star Wars Story. How does this connect with Solo in the timeline?
Daniel José Older: So Lando’s story takes place before the movie Solo, and Han’s takes place after Solo. So the younger-version stories sandwich Solo.
StarWars.com: With these younger versions of the characters before we see them in the original trilogy, then older versions of them after Return of the Jedi with Han having settled and Lando looking to settle, what other differences are there between their younger selves and more mature selves?
Daniel José Older: I think it is about a sense of purpose for both of them. What is interesting is that for both in the movies, and what I’ve tried to do with their characters in the book, there are seeds in their younger selves of who they turn out to be, which are very heroic and self-sacrificial warriors for a cause. These qualities are in there while they are out there freelancing with their devil-may-care lives with no kinds of ties at all. I think, in moments, the people around them see that in them, and see that they are looking for something bigger than themselves to be a part of, but they haven’t found that yet. They’re in that early-to mid-twenties I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing-with-my-life-but-maybe-I-do-but-I-don’t-know-how-to-do-it-yet-just-trying-to-figure-stuff-out phase. That turns out to be a lot of fun and I think it can be particularly interesting when it can be coupled with seeing them as they are later, when they’ve more discovered their purpose and what that really means for them.
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