“And you see I say ‘himself’ and ‘herself,’ because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine,” he said. “I’m a very soft person. I’m not afraid to show that side of myself.” On the subject of portraying Star Wars’ Lando in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), that moment was a game-changer not only for the veteran thespian but viewers as well.
“What I presented on that screen people didn’t expect to see,” he said. “And I deliberately presented something that nobody had experienced before: a romantic brown-skinned boy.” In 1971, Williams co-starred in Brian’s Song, a film on a Chicago Bears player’s battle with cancer amidst a growing friendship with his teammate. “It was a love story, really,” the 82-year-old said. “Between two guys. Without sex. It ended up being a kind of breakthrough in terms of racial division.”
During the 2018 promotion of Solo: A Star Wars Story, co-writer Jonathan Kasdan said he sides with Lando being viewed as pansexual, giving a nod to Donald Glover’s portrayal in that same film.
“There’s a fluidity to Donald and Billy Dee’s [portrayal of Lando’s] sexuality,” Kasdan said to The Huffington Post. “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.”