When the Star Wars prequel film Solo was released, one of the bigger talking points was the sexual orientation of Donald Glover’s young Lando Calrissian. Writer Jonathan Kasdan said in an interview that Lando was, indeed, pansexual, and both Glover himself and his performance in Solo gave credence to this view. At the same time, however, this aspect of the Lando character was never explicitly divulged or dealt with in the film, so the question has remained largely unanswered. As for Billy Dee Williams, the actor who originated the role in The Empire Strikes Back, it’s far more personal.
That’s because, as he discussed in a fantastic profile in Esquire magazine last week, he considers himself gender fluid. “And you see I say ‘himself’ and ‘herself,’ because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine,” he says of his habit of referring to others — as well as his or herself. “I’m a very soft person. I’m not afraid to show that side of myself.” Williams, who will reprise his older Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker later this month, never specifically uses the term “gender fluid” to identify himself, but he also doesn’t deny it.
In fact, when the Esquire writer connects his comments to those of Glover and the conversation surrounding his younger Lando in Solo, Williams delights in this. “Really? That kid is brilliant,” he exclaims before referring to his counterpart’s musical career. “Just look at those videos.”
Needless to say, Williams’s willingness to accept and immerse himself in gender fluid language — not to mention his own gender fluid identity — quickly caught the attention of social media and exploded.
“I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine.”
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) November 30, 2019
Love to see it. Especially for all those who act like we just sprouted 5 years ago. https://t.co/Rb9UnmRiVO
— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) November 30, 2019
I am absolutely HERE for Billy Dee Williams identifying as gender fluid. And I have totally shipped (with nothing to back it up) him and Marlon Brando back in the day. 😍 https://t.co/BdIKf8o5vd
— April is #StillWithKap (@ReignOfApril) November 30, 2019
One or two summers after graduation, my friend Jason made me watch all the Star Wars movies with him, and I fell in love with Lando. I already knew and adored Billy Dee (Harvey fucking Dent), but seeing him embody THIS dude in THIS world, y'all… https://t.co/tHIKMBQIvq
— CSR Calloway (@ChanceCalloway) November 27, 2019
Billy Dee Williams coming out as gender fluid at 82 years old is arguably the coolest thing he's ever done, and he's fucking famous for being cool.
— Matt Mustin (@MattMustin) December 1, 2019
This interview is fantastic. Start with Billy Dee's enthusiasm for gender fluidity, stay for what I think is the most poetic comment on returning to an old character from any of the returning Star Wars cast. https://t.co/zw9DdWDZXh pic.twitter.com/NoiM8SCpSv
— Dan Golding (@dangolding) November 27, 2019
Looks like Donald Glover's theoretical version of Lando was actually spot-on.
Billy Dee Williams is gender fluid.
Maybe we'll get to see him return someday. https://t.co/EFKKIEyegN
— Christopher Marc (@_ChristopherM) November 30, 2019
Shoutout to all the shitbrains who lost their minds over Donald Glover playing Lando as pansexual in SOLO now having to confront the fact that Billy Dee Williams is genderfluid (they’ll, of course, just put their heads in the sand).
— David Daut (@DavidMDaut) November 28, 2019