Growing up watching Star Wars, I was always in awe of Billy Dee Williams’ character, Lando Calrissian. Hell, I was in awe of Williams in just about anything, including the malt liquor commercials. This week, with the opening of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Donald Glover is stepping into Williams’ perfectly coiffed and conked hair with a little natural of his own. Of course, there will be people who either hate his character or love it, and on Wednesday, Solo’s writer Jonathan Kasdan threw in a plot twist about Calrissian that has people talking: He’s pansexual.
In an interview with HuffPost, Kasdan said, “There’s a fluidity to Donald and Billy Dee’s [portrayal of Lando’s] sexuality.” He continued: “I mean, I would have loved to have gotten a more explicitly LGBT character into this movie. I think it’s time, certainly, for that, and I love the fluidity—sort of the spectrum of sexuality that Donald appeals to and that droids are a part of.”
Of course, there may be people out there who are not familiar with the term ‘pansexual” (hell, I wasn’t up until a while ago), but it’s basically a person who is not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender or gender identity. And in Lando’s case, he gets down with the droids!
“This world of Star Wars is just so accepting and beautiful that the idea a droid and a human are trying to waddle their way into a relationship is something that’s celebrated,” Kasdan said.
Of course, this may have homophobic fans (particularly black ones) of Lando’s character all like, “Why the black dude gotta be ... umm ... what is he again? Pan ... what? Yeah ... why the black dude gotta be pansexual?”
And then there are people who want a specifically queer character, and aren’t willing to give someone kudos for half-assing it.
For the Verge, Megan Farokhmanesh wrote:
The assertion that Lando is pansexual—because he seems to be interested in a female droid—is a piss-poor shot at representation that still manages to reinforce hetero relationships as default. And Kasdan’s assertion that Lando “doesn’t make any hard and fast rules. I think it’s fun” falls into a long, damaging tradition of conflating pansexuality with promiscuity. Embracing sexual attraction to whomever catches your interest isn’t about being a rule-breaker. Portraying it as such is lazy shorthand for “wild and free” thinking.
I mean, maybe in a sequel he’ll be interested in a dude droid? But sure, I get her point, too. But in the end, I guess you can’t make everyone happy? Because I know I’d rather have a more suave Lando than an intergalactic-looking pimp Lando, like Glover’s rendition.