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Solo Screenwriter Says That Lando’s Sexuality Is Fluid, Wants More LGBT Characters in Star Wars

Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian

** Minor spoilers for Solo ahead **

Jonathan Kasdan co-wrote Solo: A Star Wars Story with his father Lawrence, the man who’s responsible for scripting The Empire Strikes Back. When asked about Lando Calrissian’s sexuality, Jonathan had some wonderful things to say.

The kind of forthrightness from Jonathan Kasdan that we get in this interview with The Huffington Post is rare. Even when creatives have strong personal opinions, they often toe the status quo studio party line in the press. But Kasdan didn’t hesitate when The Huffington Post asked if Lando is pansexual.

“I would say yes,” Jonathan Kasdan answered. “There’s a fluidity to Donald [Glover] and Billy Dee’s [portrayal of Lando’s] sexuality.”

I don’t think many Star Wars fans would, or should, be surprised by this observation. From the moment that we meet Lando in The Empire Strikes Back, his primary characterization is as a smooth charmer with eyes for anything beautiful.

Princess Leia and Lando Calrissian in 'The Empire Strikes Back'

Donald Glover picks right up with the foundations that Billy Dee Williams laid, and there’s nothing in Solo to suggest that Lando’s interests are only directed toward the female of the species (or even his own species).

At one point in Solo, Lando’s droid L3 tells him to stop flirting with Han and get a move on; at another point, Lando calls Han “adorable” in a way that’s not entirely patronizing. L3 and Lando also have a complicated relationship. The fact of the matter is that Lando Calrissian has enough love to go around, and he’s certainly not looking to be limited in his attractions.

Jonathan Kasdan drove this home: “He doesn’t make any hard and fast rules. I think it’s fun. I don’t know where it will go.”

Kasdan also told Huffpo that he wishes there could have been a more openly queer character in Solo, but he’s glad that there’s at least some characters that can exist outside Earthbound assumptions that everyone is heterosexual until declared otherwise.

“I mean, I would have loved to have gotten a more explicitly LGBT character into this movie,” Kasdan said. “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.”

It blows my mind that we can easily accept a variant galaxy with a drastically different history, politics, economics, planets, everything—and endless different alien beings—yet the idea of a character’s sexuality being fluid is breaking news. Why wouldn’t sexuality be different than we know it in a galaxy far, far away, or at least representative of a variety of sexualities?

The reason this is news, however, is because this kind of discussion is still rare and precious to have about the people who inhabit big-budget tentpole movies. As it does here, coverage usually comes about because of an after-the-fact comment from a writer (Dumbledore in Harry Potter) or an actor (Le Fou in Beauty in the Beast) rather than any explicit evidence being shown.

While Lando does have his flirty moments in Solo, we’re still not yet in a societal place for movie studios where he can take up Han Solo’s hand and kiss it as he does Leia’s.

As Huffpo says, Star Wars is “a realm filled with every type of alien being imaginable, yet the rarest of all its life-forms seems to be LGBTQ characters.” While openly discussing Lando in such a way feels like a nice step, it’s not the leap that many of us would like to see and that now feels awfully overdue. As much as I love this headline about Lando, I can’t wait for the days when it’s not headline-worthy news and simply a fact of Star Wars life, like it is in this universe.

(via, Huffington Post, image: Lucasfilm/Disney)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.