Cardplayer. Scoundrel. You'll like him. That was Han Solo's hurried precis on his old pal, Lando Calrissian. While the description is accurate, it barely scratches the surface of this complicated rogue. Calrissian is at home in the shadowy reaches of the fringe, the underworld culture that permeates the galaxy. While he has rubbed elbows with hunters, mercs, outlaws and gangsters, Lando's main difference is that his elbows were covered by some of the most expensive and fashionable clothes this side of the Core. Lando has style and class; some would say in excess. He is a man of sophisticated tastes, and settles for nothing short of the best in his surroundings, his belongings, his look, and his female companionship.
Han and Lando go way back, you'll hear them say, but it hasn't always been friendship and camaraderie. Solo and Calrissian have been rivals in the past. A bitter point of contention between the two has been the ownership of the Millennium Falcon. The deceptively dilapidated freighter once belonged to Calrissian, and much to the gambler's chagrin, he lost it to Solo in a heated game of sabacc. Though Solo insists he won fair and square, Calrissian still questions Solo's victory, if only to goad the Corellian.
Lando was the first of the two friends to go "respectable," a fate worse than death to some smugglers. He distanced himself from the life on the run, and settled down in the floating metropolis of Cloud City, on the gas planet Bespin. Lando became baron-administrator of the city and its lucrative Tibanna gas mining operation. Where once he had only looked out for himself, Lando now found himself responsible for the lives of millions of Cloud City residents. Despite himself, Lando found that he had a knack for administrative duties, and enjoyed being a businessman and community leader as much as a cardshark.
Lando's new world came crashing down around him when the Empire arrived at Cloud City. It was shortly after the Battle of Hoth when the Dark Lord, Darth Vader, and the masked bounty hunter Boba Fett came before him. They had tracked down the Falcon and its crew heading to Cloud City, and forced Calrissian to agree to turn Solo over to the Empire. In exchange, the Empire would not interfere with Cloud City, and allow it to remain an independent colony. Calrissian was torn -- was a friend's life worth more than the lives of his people?
Reluctantly, Calrissian agreed to the Empire's plan and lured Solo into a trap. Throughout the ordeal, Vader kept altering his end of the bargain, and Calrissian was powerless to stop him. The gambler learned an important lesson: never deal with a Dark Lord.
With all the cards on the table, Lando realized that he was set up to lose. Although Solo was captured, frozen in carbonite, and taken to the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt, Calrissian seized the initiative to redeem himself. He freed Solo's friends, Leia Organa and Chewbacca, and warned Cloud City's populace of the impending Imperial takeover. Calrissian, aboard the Millennium Falcon, led the escape from the city. He even helped rescue a wounded Luke Skywalker before returning the fugitive Rebels to the Alliance fleet.
Calrissian volunteered in a daring mission to rescue Solo from Jabba the Hutt's fortress on Tatooine. He concealed himself in the armor of one of Jabba's many faceless skiff guards and infiltrated the palace. Lando was in perfect position when Skywalker sprung his rescue mission over the Great Pit of Carkoon.
The skiff guards never knew they had a Rebel in their midst. Calrissian helped dispose of several of the guards protecting the prisoners, and piloted the rescue skiff that spirited away the newly liberated Solo and his friends.
During the Battle of Endor, Calrissian again proved his mettle. Now a General in the Alliance Forces, Lando volunteered to spearhead the starfighter attack on the second Death Star while Admiral Ackbar led the capital ships. His past exploits in the Battle of Tanaab helped prepare him for the coming conflict. His unorthodox strategies worked well with Ackbar's more conservative tactics. When the Death Star proved operational, Ackbar was ready to retreat. Instead, Calrissian commanded the Alliance Fleet to engage the Imperial Fleet at point-blank range, offering limited protection from the Death Star's massive superlaser weapon.
Once a Rebel strike team deactivated the Death Star's protective deflector shield, Lando led the starfighters into the station's incomplete superstructure. Lando, aboard the Falcon, flew point into the twisting narrow corridors of the Death Star's innards. Once in the massive reactor core, he loosed a volley of concussion missiles at the Death Star's exposed heart. He then outran the fantastic explosion that followed, and the Millennium Falcon emerged triumphantly from the dying Death Star.
Crime lords, bounty hunters, Imperials, jealous husbands and the last known Sorcerer of Tund -- Lando has outrun them all with a winning combo of skill and luck. It took years of practice to get there -- Lando's first game of sabacc was a disaster when a misunderstanding of the rules led to big losses. Those days are far in the past, a past that Calrissian purposely keeps secretive. After all, a mysterious air is a sure way to attract the ladies.
Early in his fringe career, Lando acquired the Millennium Falcon in a game of chance. Embarrassment may have played a role in his accepting the less-than-desired prize, since Lando wasn't one to admit that he was a terrible pilot. He quickly hired a piloting droid to teach him the ropes. He got far more than he bargained for with the acquisition of the chromed starfish-shaped droid curiously named Vuffi Raa.
Over the year he spent with Vuffi, Lando's skills grew as did the peril he found himself in. Rokur Gepta, the last known Sorcerer of Tund and ally of the Emperor, shanghaied Lando into a treasure hunting caper that saw the gambler inadvertently resurrect the long lost civilization of the Sharu. Calrissian ran afoul of Gepta again in the Oseon system, and once again in the ThonBoka nebula. In that sack-shaped cloud of dust and gas, Lando helped save an endangered spaceborne species known as the Oswaft from the actions of the Centrality fleet. Lando ended that escapade with enough credits to buy a city.
Lando's wealth waxed and waned over the next few years, as he came into possession of such oddities as a used starship lot on Nar Shaddaa. The Falcon ended up here as Lando concentrated on newer vessels, like the stylish Cobra. When Lando lost a sabacc game to Han and forfeited a ship from his lot, he didn't expect the Corellian to choose the shabbiest -- but fastest -- ship, the Millennium Falcon.
A short time later, Calrissian helped Han Solo in a strike against the Hutt spice-processing and slaving operations on Ylesia. Solo was romantically tied to a Rebel agent -- Bria Tharen -- who masterminded the assault, and used his fringe connections to recruit a number of smugglers for the mission. When Tharen doublecrossed Solo and kept the spoils of war for the Rebellion, Solo found himself unable to pay the promised rewards to the smugglers. This marked a major falling out between Calrissian and Solo, and the two parted ways never to see each other again for years.
Calrissian's life took a major turn when he won the administrator title of Cloud City from its draconian ruler, Baron Raynor. The peculiarities of Cloud City laws were such that citizens of the floating metropolis were forbidden to gamble. Conversely, citizens didn't have to pay taxes -- it was the tourists who gambled and paid taxes. A man of Calrissian's wealth could care less about taxes -- it was the thrill of sabacc he wanted. To circumvent this law, Calrissian took to disguising himself as an old man in order to play in the city's casinos. A responsible administrator (one of the few in Cloud City's history), he made sure to lose all his winnings to the house by night's end.
After being pulled into the Rebel fold, Calrissian helped on numerous Alliance missions. He also helped in the search for Han Solo, whose capture he felt very guilty about. Although he failed in stopping Boba Fett on the moon of Gall, he did participate in the rescue of Princess Leia Organa from the tempting clutches of Prince Xizor on Coruscant.
Lando next infiltrated Jabba's palace, posing as skiff guard Tamtel Skreej. This put him in excellent position to assist Luke Skywalker when the young Jedi sprang his rescue mission to free Han.
Once the Empire was defeated at Endor, Lando returned to civilian life, resigning his commission in the Alliance military. Although he assisted a few Republic military ventures -- such as the short-lived Senate Interplanetary Intelligence Network -- he instead concentrated on business and speculating. Calrissian became the administrator of Hologram Fun World, a mining operation on Nkllon, and a housing project deep in the heart of Coruscant. When the Republic needed him the most, however, Calrissian could be counted on to help. When the resurrected Emperor began his scourge of the Core Worlds, Lando resumed his rank of general and commanded a number of missions deep into enemy territory.
Now, two decades after the victory at Endor, Lando has settled down. He is married to Tendra Risant, and ran a mining and processing operation on Destrillion and Dubrillion. Once again war encroached on Lando's quiet civilian life, and he was forced to evacuate his people when the Yuuzhan Vong invaded the planet. Always the businessman, Lando turned the war into a source of profit by founding Tendrando Arms. The company manufactures the Yuuzhan Vong-hunting YVH 1 droids, powerful combat automata that have proven effective against the alien invaders.