'Star Wars' writer reveals Lando Calrissian is pansexual - but is this really LGBTQ representation?
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If you haven’t been up to date with your film news in the past week, chances are you won’t know that Lando Calrissian – the smooth-talking smuggler played by Donald Glover in Solo: A Star Wars Story – is pansexual. Bizarrely though, this is something you might not know even if you have seen the film. It was in an interview with HuffPost that Solo co-writer Jonathan Kasdan elaborated on the character’s sexuality. Citing the ‘fluidity’ of Glover’s performance, Kasdan claimed he ‘would have loved to have gotten a more explicitly LGBT character into this movie’. He continued, ‘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.’ Though Kasdan’s comments are obviously well-intentioned, it’s the ominous ‘would have’ that has raised more than a few eyebrows. Despite a few flirty quips to protagonist Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and his droid co-pilot L3-37 (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge), it would be a stretch to declare Lando the Star Wars universe’s first LGBTQ character on the basis of what happens on screen. On the one hand, Kasdan’s comments are in line with the kind of extratextual character revisionism that sci-fi and fantasy fandoms expect and crave. Plenty of ‘canon’ Star Wars wisdom has been disclosed through various encyclopaedias and other merchandise. And besides, filmmakers love to drop these kind of character elaborations after the films themselves have been released. Ridley Scott has long been insisting that Blade Runner’s Rick Deckard is himself a replicant, and James Gunn has recently taken to tweeting devastating revelations about his Guardians of the Galaxy hero Groot. On the other hand, Kasdan’s post-production disclosure of Lando’s sexuality holds more weight than trivial fan entertainment. With questions of representation in film finally coming into wider focus, it’s disappointing to once again see unambiguous LGBTQ characters erased from film only for the filmmakers to clinch representation brownie points during the press tour.
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