Another big screen character, this time Star Wars’ Lando Calrissian, has been revealed to be queer. But will we actually see it?
In an interview with Huffington Post, the father-and-son co-writers of the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story, Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan, spoke about the character’s sexuality.
The subject came up after early reviewers who saw the film at Cannes commented that the on-screen dialogue between Lando, played by (Donald Glover), and Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) appeared rather flirty.
There are also apparently some references in the new film suggesting that Lando’s sexual preferences are broad and may encompass men, women and even droids (robots). The character was first played by Billy Dee Williams in the original Star Wars films.
Jonathan Kasdan replied that “I would say yes,” when asked if Lando is pansexual. “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.”
Kasdan added: “He doesn’t make any hard and fast rules. I think it’s fun, “I don’t know where it will go.” Pansexuality is the sexual attraction of a person to another person of any sex, gender or sexual orientation.
Of course, all this is only hinted at or suggested in the subtext of the film. This follows a recent trend of LGBTQ+ audiences being informed on the side that blockbuster characters are queer, but not actually depicting this on screen.
Harry Potter’s Dumbledore is apparently gay, but we only know this because J.K. Rowling told us. We’ve yet to actually see this for ourselves. That was also the case with the Marvel character of Deadpool. The first film’s director Tim Miller enthusiastically described him as pansexual, but once again, this was never shown in the film.
We also only know that Tessa Thompson’s character in Thor: Ragnarok is bisexual after the actress confirmed it in a tweet. There’s also Wonder Woman and Black Panther’s Ayo, whose queerness was ignored on the big screen.
While we’re all geeked up to known that Glover’s Lando is part of the family, there’s also a niggling feeling that we’re being baited. Hollywood needs to break out of keeping queer identities in the subtext closet when it comes to mainstream films. While every small step is a welcome step forward, our patience will only stretch so far.
Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in cinemas on Friday, 25 May.