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Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian.

Disney turns an iconic, married Star Wars character gay

“Star Wars” fans may be surprised to learn that Lando Calrissian from “The Empire Strikes Back” is not heterosexual.

According to Marvel, Lucasfilm and the official Star Wars website, Calrissian is a member of the LGBTQ community. That website, StarWars.com, revealed six comic book covers this month honoring the LGBTQ+ characters of “Star Wars” as part of pride month in June.

Fans who watch only the films likely have not heard of most of the characters, but Lando Calrissian is the exception. In the original films, Lando was portrayed as a lady’s man who flirted with Princess Leia on their first meeting.

But that long history may not matter in the modern effort to recast characters in popular books, television and movies as members of the LGBTQ community.

As for the covers, they are drawn by members of the LGBTQ community. The other LGBTQ Star wArs characters featured on covers include:

  • Archaeologist Doctor Aphra.
  • Yrica Quell, pilot and leader of Alphabet Squadron.
  • Imperial commander Rae Slone.
  • Jedi twins Terec and Ceret.
  • Bounty hunter/smuggler Sana Starros.

“The art will grace every title in Marvel’s Star Wars line, and each piece has been created by gay and transgender artists; the covers also feature title treatments with a rainbow burst and a classic Star Wars logo with a rainbow trail,” the StarWars.com article says.

“This talented team of artists is bringing so much passion and enthusiasm to these covers,” Marvel editor Tom Groneman said. “For me, sharing that passion with fans and readers is a wonderful celebration of the most unique, compelling, and iconic characters in the Star Wars galaxy.”

It’s not the first time controversy has surrounded the character of Lando Calrissian. When “Solo: A Star Wars Story” was released in 2018, screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan was asked if Lando was pansexual. He replied, “I would say yes.” Donald Glover played Calrissian in Solo. Billy Dee Williams played him in the other films.

Reaction to the announcement was mixed on the Facebook page of the entertainment website Giant Freaking Robot. “It just seems like they are adding it now,” one person wrote. “Wasn’t original intention with him. And, if he was originally pan, how could he resist Solo?”

Many noted Calrissian had a wife, Tendra, in the Star Wars novels.

“I’ll never understand the constant changing of already existing characters to pander and suit agendas,” another person wrote. “What’s so hard about just making up a new character that represents your ideas?”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice