In an interview with Huffington Post, Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan made the bold proclamation Lando Calrissian, the galaxy’s biggest ladies man, is actually pansexual.
“There’s a fluidity to Donald and Billy Dee’s (portrayal of Lando’s) sexuality,” Jonathan Kasdan said. “He doesn’t make any hard and fast rules. I think it’s fun. I don’t know where it will go.”
This makes perfect sense. While the original Star Wars trilogy played Lando as the ultimate hetero ladies man we never got any explicit confirmation he wasn’t pansexual. Him possibly flirting on Han or really ANY character in Solo wouldn’t feel out of place.
However, the problem is that it probably won’t be explicitly confirmed in the movie. In the same interview Jonathan Kasdan stated, “I would have loved to have gotten a more explicitly LGBT character into this movie.” Kasdan goes on to say he thinks it’s time to portray that spectrum of sexuality which include droids.This is incredibly frustrating, especially for queer Star Wars fans. While it’s nice that the writers of the film are saying Lando is pansexual it means very little if we don’t see it in the film. I don’t mean we should see Lando getting it on with a male wookie or something, but we need something more than a subtext filled look or a throwaway line. We need something more concrete.
Kasdan mentioning droids makes it seem as if it’s more likely Lando will hook up with a droid than a flesh and blood male character. (The gender coding of robots is a very worthwhile topic by the by, but still.)
It’s just another example of Disney not committing to an actual queer character in the Star Wars movies. Oh sure, they’ve had a few queer characters in the novels. Laura Dern’s character from The Last Jedi was confirmed as queer in a book. But they can never seem to muster up the courage to actually show it in the movies.
(And for reference, how many queer characters were in Infinity War? Oh yeah, zero.)
I understand middle America and China are huge revenue stream Disney doesn’t want to jeopardize but don’t get queer fans’ hopes up like this. It comes off like they’re J.K. Rowling it, confirming a character’s sexuality outside of the main body of work. It’s nice to hear but ultimately means very little since most viewers won’t have read this interview.
“There’s a line that Rio has where he’s asking Han about the girl that he left behind,” Lawrence Kasdan says, “‘does she have big teeth’ implying that such a feature would be appealing. It’s a joke in the movie but we did want to hit on this idea that people’s idea of what they’re attracted to all over the galaxy are very, very different and not exactly as set as ours are.”
That sounds nice but it’s all subtext, something queer fans of media in general have had to be satisfied with for decades. Little jokes here. Glances there. A line that could be interpreted a certain way. It’s table scraps for fans who are desperate to see someone like them on screen.
Things are slowly changing (especially on TV) but movies are startlingly behind the times. Representation of pansexual characters is virtually nonexistent, with next to no characters confirmed as pansexual in movies or TV shows. Pansexual people of color are even rarer.
This could have been a big moment for Disney to confirm on screen one of the most beloved Star Wars characters as pansexual. Instead they just let some people talk about it in interviews and maybe they’ll let a little subtext sneak through.
Again, middle America and China are very much a factor but that doesn’t mean fans can’t be annoyed by it.
It’s not enough. Fans deserve better.
Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. As a pansexual man he has a personal stake in this. Follow him on Twitter!