Costume Design

Deconstructing Lando Calrissian

Lando’s not a system, he’s The Man.

Have I mentioned I love Star Wars? I do! Lando Calrissian has appeared in three—soon to be four—Star Wars films and has looked great every time. So, let’s look at the secret to his styling.

Lando’s styling relies on three colors—gold, sky blue and navy, worn in different combinations over the four films. A split neck shirt and cape with a collar are his staple items.

Up, up, and awaaaay…

In Cloud City, Lando’s styling is misdirection from his agreement with the Empire. His pop of color and flowing shirt is much different from the tailored, desaturated look of the Empire.

Just imagine the dry cleaning bills…

Although, in hindsight, his cape might have tipped us off just a BIT.

For Return of the Jedi, Calrissian is made a general and his color palette is muted– gold is muted to a beige for his shirt, and his traditional blue cape is muted to a dusty blue, with dusty blue pants. But his pointed lapel stays. He’s still Lando, after all. This movie deviates the most from his usual style, mostly to help reinforce his commitment to the rebellion.

Years passed, and more Star Wars movies happened, but no Lando. Then finally, along came Solo: A Star Wars Story. Lando, played this time by Donald Glover, is a younger, more roguish version of the character than we have seen previously. The design takes the character back to his original Cloud City style and takes a few new style risks to add some danger—the gold ring, the tie, and the goatee.
Lando returns to his palette of gold, sky blue and navy, this time with an inversion of the colors on his cape and shirt.

The shirt is changed up as well. This isn’t the first time Star Wars has used this sort of lapel…

You mean…this shirt?
Nah…pretty sure this is the shirt she means.
“Nice shirt, kid.” John Wayne in The Searchers.

Luke’s shirt above is a take on the Cavalry Bib Shirt, often used in westerns. Star Wars borrows a lot of design from westerns. Which might be another post at some point. But…back to LANDO!

The biggest style deviations for Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story?


This is a fascinating piece because there isn’t a lot of fur used in the Star Wars movies, but there’s quite a bit of fur used in Solo: A Star Wars Story, mostly because of the cold climate of Numidian Prime. This is a new style for Lando. They took a risk with this one, and I think it paid off. It’s pretty great. I’ll talk more about the style origins for Solo: A Star Wars Story in a later post.

Which brings us to style deviation #2, which is quite a bit more shocking. The 70s tropical print shirt with white imperial style cape and pants:

There is so much to say about this costume, it nearly needs its own post. First off, we rarely see a print like this in the Star Wars universe. I’m struggling to come up with another example of a print like this.

And the cape and pants–are we intended to believe that Lando took these off of an Imperial? Because the cape has the same shape of Orson Krennic’s cape from Rogue One:

I hope that was what the designers intended. I like the idea that Lando takes random clothing pieces from people or targets he encounters. Maybe an Imperial lost it to Lando in a hand of Sabbac?

I can imagine Lando winning clothing in a game of cards. I mean, it also might explain the closet of capes:

100% capes, no pants to be found…

Which brings us to the trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Here Lando is once again in his gold, sky blue and navy palette. His shirt is in the style of The Empire Strikes Back, but with gold instead of blue.

So…what is the Rise of Skywalker trailer telling us about Lando’s character arc? They’re taking him back to his The Empire Strikes Back and Solo: A Star Wars Story roots. Based on his styling, my guess is that Lando’s leaning into his scoundrel ways once again, and having a lot of fun doing it.

Welcome back, Lando!