'Solo's Lando Calrissian Is Pansexual, a New Tradition of Sci-Fi Heroes?
For those who haven’t seen Solo yet, you’re gonna love Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. And when the movie opens on May 25, one thing will be made pretty clear: Lando is definitely flirty with Han, and his sexuality is 100 percent portrayed as non-binary. On Thursday, the Huffington Post published a brief interview with Jon Kasdan (co-screenwriter of Solo) in which he confirmed Lando is “pansexual,” meaning Lando is attracted to all genders, including robots. In the movie, this is very clearly true, and what’s even better, Lando is joining a new proud tradition of sci-fi heroes.
No specific spoilers for Solo ahead.
To be fair, the decision to canonically establish Lando as not exclusively heterosexual is controversial simply because for some concerned fans, it may smack of tokenism along the same lines as Sulu retroactively being gay in Star Trek Beyond, or J.K. Rowling telling fans Dumbledore was gay after all the Harry Potter books were already published. However, from where this writer sits, the Lando pansexual thing is a little different.
In the film, Lando has a few more lines — beyond what people have seen in the trailers — that really seem to directly tell the audience that he has a pretty fluid attitude toward sexuality. Some might find it subtle, others will find it painfully obvious. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that one scene outright establishes that Lando wants to fuck Han just as much as he wants to fight him.
Plus, Lando’s pansexuality feels like the natural evolution of the progressive sexuality of other sci-fi heroes like Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) in Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Sherlock. In the cases of both of those characters, the idea of not being defined by binary sexuality helped shape the characters but also wasn’t such a big deal that it became the only thing fans could talk about. In other words, when Cumberbatch’s Sherlock said “I know it’s fine” in response to Watson talking about him possibly having a boyfriend, it was refreshing. Ditto for Captain Jack kissing the Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) on the lips in the 2005 Doctor Who Season 1 finale. None of this stuff turned these slick heroes into tokens. Instead, it just made them more interesting and representative of more than one kind of adventurous male.
When fans see how Lando behaves in Solo, they’ll probably feel the same way. Lando is now someone who more than one kind of fan can identify with. And unlike Poe and Finn, (or Kirk/Spock in Star Trek), the queer suggestions about this interstellar gambler are made very explicit — and delightfully so — in the actual movie. Han/Lando shippers, this looks like canon to me.
-Solo: A Star Wars Story opens everywhere on May 25.