The title says ‘Solo,’ but Lando runs away with the movie

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Donald Glover plays Lando Calrissian in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” | LUCASFILM

Smuggler Lando Calrissian has pulled off his biggest score: stealing “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

Donald Glover’s Lando, the role he inherited from Billy Dee Williams, has outshone and outswaggered his frenemy Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) — whose name is in the title — at every turn.

The signs of his force are everywhere, with the Fandango FanShop reporting that Lando merchandise is moving at twice the pace of Han merchandise. At the world premiere of “Solo” in Hollywood, the undisputed biggest cheer of the night came 45 minutes into the movie when Calrissian first appeared.

“The movie is called ‘Solo,’ but people have really focused on Lando since the first trailer dropped,” says Shawn Edwards, co-founder of the African American Film Critics Association. “Lando is the man!”

Here’s how he pulled off the heist:

1. Glover’s rising star

The Han Solo torch has been passed from Harrison Ford to highly respected up-and-comer Ehrenreich. (Most moviegoers don’t know him — yet — but he rocked the Coen brothers’ 2016 comedy “Hail, Caesar!”)

Meanwhile, Glover, who earned geek cred as Troy Barnes on NBC’s “Community,” has shot to superstardom in music (performing as Childish Gambino) and movies (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”) while also creating and starring in FX’s “Atlanta” (which earned him two Emmy Awards in 2017).

His hilarious stint hosting “Saturday Night Live” was a showcase for his burgeoning powers, culminating in the unveiling of his politically powerful Childish Gambino song “This Is America” — which shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“People are fascinated by Donald,” says “Solo” screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. “And that’s the way Lando should be played.”

2. Pent-up Lando love

There is a lot of pent-up love for Calrissian, who first started sparring verbally with Han Solo in 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back.” He has all the rebel coolness of Solo, whom he famously betrayed, with cooler outfits.

Most of the other beloved “Star Wars” characters, from Luke to Leia, have returned to the revitalized franchise except Lando, until now.

“Knowing Lando Calrissian was coming back in ‘Solo’ was enough to get the ‘Star Wars’ community really excited,” says Erik Davis, managing editor of the movie site Fandango.com. “He’s a suave fan favorite, and you never know whose side he’s on.”

3. The ‘Black Panther’ effect

The cultural box-office explosion from February’s “Black Panther” has carried into “Solo” and Glover’s Calrissian — one of the few black characters depicted in space, as Glover hilariously pointed out in an “SNL” sketch.

” ‘Black Panther’ created this whole cinematic energy, which has benefited ‘Solo,’ ” Edwards says. “It unleashed this appetite for cool black characters and actors.”

4. The cape crusade

Glover, long known as a snappy dresser, makes magic as the cape-donning, best-dressed character in the galaxy far, far away.

“There’s a suit at the end of this movie, I would wear that out,” Glover said at the “Solo” premiere. “And you start falling in love with capes in general. It’s like, ‘Why don’t people wear capes anymore?’ They look so fresh. You can’t top a good cape.”

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