'Star Wars' legend Billy Dee Williams comes out as gender fluid
A huge reason the original Star Wars trilogy became so internationally popular is because of how insanely cool Lando Calrissian was.
First appearing in Empire Strikes Back, Lando is introduced as the Baron Administrator of Cloud City and the former friend of Han Solo (things broke down when Solo won the Millenium Falcon off him). Calrissian was a smooth-talking former playboy who pulled off a mustache better than anybody else in the galaxy.
And the popularity and success of the character are all down to actor Billy Dee Williams.
Just check out this classic perfume commercial starring Billy Dee - he's so ruddy suave:
So Star Wars fans will be happy to know that - at the age of 82 nonetheless - the star will be returning to a galaxy far far away as he steps back into the Millenium Falcon cockpit in Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker.
In a truly inspiring interview with Esquire, the 82-year-old actor opened up about his non-binary identity, and talked about embracing his masculine and feminine sides. He said:
"I never tried to be anything except myself. I think of myself as a relatively colorful character who doesn’t take himself or herself too seriously. […]
"And you see I say ‘himself’ and ‘herself,’ because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine. I’m a very soft person. I’m not afraid to show that side of myself."
During the interview, Williams also addressed the gender identity and sexuality of his character, Lando Calrissian.
Solo: A Star Wars Story screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan had previously described Lando as pansexual in an interview with Huffington Post:
"There’s a fluidity to Donald and Billy Dee Williams’ [portrayal of Lando’s] sexuality. 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."
Check out Williams in the final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker:
When Billy Dee was informed that Donald Glover - who played a young Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story - discussed gender fluidity for the character, Williams apparently "lit up" and said "Really? That kid is brilliant—just look at those videos," (referencing Glover's 'This Is America').
Regarding his return to the franchise, Williams spoke candidly to CinemaBlend about his concerns regarding a return to the big screen. He said:
"Do I have that same hunger, excitement, that I had years earlier? This is a very difficult time for me, as far as age is concerned. When you get to be a certain age, whether you want to think about mortality or not, you think about it."
Nothing says cool like staying true to who you really are.