On Lando Calrissian's Pansexuality: A Mark of Artistic Maturity (Opinion Piece)
Jonathan Kasdan, one of the writers working on Solo: A Star Wars Story, recently revealed that Lando Calrissian was conceptualized as a pansexual. And this rubbed much of the fandom the wrong way. For some, it contradicts the "ladies' man" vibe that Lando first gave us back in 1980 with Empire Strikes Back, unnecessarily bringing in LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) politics into the franchise. For others, it's yet another measure in the SJW crusade to ruin our childhoods.
But is this so?
On the first point: Lando's identity as a smooth-talking ladies' man is not diminished by his being pansexual. Indeed, if anything, it enhances that identification. Just because the audience only witnessed his finesse when targeting females in the original trilogy does not mean that the character's sexual interests were limited to women. Some of the coolest and smoothest people I know personally identify as queer in one form or another. And in a universe with thousands of species, how absurd is it to insinuate that characters in a galaxy far, far away can only be straight or gay or bisexual? Wouldn't being sexually interested in someone from another race or species, a Twi'ilek for instance, veer on the side of some form of queerness? The reality is that sexuality is a lot more fluid than one would assume. Donald Glover, the actor portraying Lando in the movie, puts it aptly, "how can you not be pansexual in space?"
On the second point: it seems that many are turned off by the simple fact that the Star Wars franchise is evolving with its time. By blaming SJW's for the fact that they don't like the direction the franchise has taken since its being rebooted in recent years, they scapegoat legitimate social justice concerns rather than admit that perhaps they have outgrown Star Wars (or Star Wars has outgrown them). If the story is lacking in some way, it should be said so, rather than blaming the perceived bad story writing on an imaginary "SJW agenda." The two have nothing to do with each other, and the simple fact is that, as times change, so does the audience, and like any franchise, Star Wars addresses the needs and concerns of its generation. People seem to forget that many protested against the original Star Wars trilogy's politicization of the Vietnam War, of Richard Nixon's corruption, and other key issues of the 1970's.
Is it so bad that minorities are being intentionally put in places in the story to make Star Wars feel more inclusive? This writer thinks otherwise, that it is a mark of artistic maturity. Perhaps some are offended that Star Wars is daring to go beyond the confines that they themselves have placed on the franchise. Perhaps others are offended that Star Wars is pandering to other, more politically developed audiences. In reality, it seems that many of the negative responses this announcement by Kasdan received came from pure reaction, with little critical engagement.
Article by: Mohammad "Grand Master" Ziad