The storyline of Star Wars is full of heroes that became prominent during the time of the Rebellion as they were all instrumental in the downfall of the Empire. One such character is Lando Calrissian, Han Solo’s friend. But we did see in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Lando sold Han to the Empire even though he eventually turned on Vader and the Imperials. So, why did Lando betray Han?
Lando Calrissian had to betray Han Solo because he was placed in a tough spot where he had a choice between saving his friend or keeping his city from Imperial hands. As such, he made the tough choice by choosing to sell Han and the Rebels over to Darth Vader and the Imperials, only for Vader to change the terms of the deal.
The thing about a person that has a huge responsibility on his shoulders is that there are a lot of tough choices that need to be made, and Lando was in the middle of one of the toughest dilemmas in his life when he had to choose between his friend and the people of his city. So, with that said, let’s look at why Lando Calrissian had to betray Han Solo.
Lando Was in a Tough Dilemma
The time of the Rebellion in Star Wars gave birth to many different heroes that the people of the galaxy were thankful for. However, things weren’t always rainbows and butterflies for the Rebel heroes, as they had to endure tough times during the events of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. And this was when a new character named Lando Calrissian was introduced.
During the events of The Empire Strikes Back, Han and the other Rebels found a way to escape from the Imperial Navy, as we all know that Darth Vader was focusing on finding Luke Skywalker and his allies. While Luke went to Dagobah to train with Master Yoda, Han, and the others went to the neutral and independent mining colony of Cloud City on the planet of Bespin because they believed that Lando, the planet’s administrator, would help them.
But the problem was that Lando sold Han Solo out to Darth Vader and the Imperials, who were waiting on Bespin the entire time. The Sith Lord knew that Solo would go there, and that was when he could get to Lando before Han could tell his friend that he was coming. In that regard, the consensus was that Lando betrayed Han and sold him to Vader.
Still, the one thing that fans need to understand is that Lando was in a tough position when Vader went to him. He was the man in charge of Cloud City, which meant he had a responsibility to the people in that city. Of course, while he cared about Han, he knew that he needed to prioritize his people first before deciding to favor his old friend. So, when Vader came with a troop of Stormtroopers, he needed to make a tough decision in favor of the people of Cloud City because no one could ever say no to someone like Vader.
The deal was that Han would be given to a bounty hunter alive and that Leia and Chewbacca would stay at Bespin, while the Empire would leave the planet and never bother the city’s people again. As such, it was an easy choice to make for Lando because he knew that Han would be kept alive even though he was going to be given to a bounty hunter. He prioritized the safety of his people, as saying no to Darth Vader always had dire consequences that were never in favor of the person rejecting the offer of the dark lord.
As such, Lando didn’t betray Han out of selfishness or for petty reasons. He did not give his friend up to Vader just to get on the good side of the Sith Lord and the Empire. Instead, he did so to ensure that the Imperials would not harm those he needed to care for.
You have to understand that Lando was a leader that was in charge of taking care of a lot of people. The Imperials were never known to be kind, meaning that Lando didn’t want to get on the bad side of Vader and the Empire. And while he may have done something bad by betraying his friend and selling him out to the Empire, he knew what he did was wrong.
That is the same reason Lando didn’t think twice about turning against the Empire after discovering that Vader wouldn’t honor his end of the deal. He turned the entire city against Darth Vader and allowed Leia and Chewie to escape with Luke. Of course, we also know that Lando became a Rebel leader to make up for his mistakes. And he redeemed himself when he was the one that blew up the Death Star II during the Battle of Endor, effectively killing all of the Imperials inside the megastructure.
Lando Was Trying to “Warn” Han
Of course, while there is no doubt that Lando betrayed Han by selling him out to the Empire during the events of Empire Strikes Back, there are some details that fans were quick to point out to make it clear that it was never Lando’s intention to side with the Imperials.
When Han was approaching Cloud City, the planet’s security forces were obviously hostile as they fired warning shots at the Millennium Falcon. Lando was also clearly hostile toward Han after the Falcon docked on the city, as it was also clear that his security forces were quite intimidating as well.
In that regard, the standing theory is that Lando was trying to subtly “warn” Han that Vader had beaten them to the punch and was already waiting for them. Although Lando had already chosen to side with Vader and the Imperials to ensure that the people of Cloud City were safe, he was still trying to protect Han and the others from falling into Vader’s trap by intimidating him well enough to leave.
By doing so, Lando’s conscience would have been clear because he never wanted Han to fall into Vader’s trap. But we all know that Han still fell for it and got captured by the Empire. Nevertheless, Lando never trusted the Empire, as he had a backup plan.
So, even if Lando did indeed betray Han by selling him out to the Empire, he still tried his best to make up for what he did when he “warned” his friend and tried to subtly convince him to leave. And he eventually joined the Rebels when he and the people of Cloud City resisted the Imperial takeover and became part of the Rebellion.