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'Star Wars' actor Billy Dee Williams identifies as gender fluid

The actor says 'I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine.'
Billy Dee Williams

WASHINGTON — The actor we all know as the cool, cape-clad Lando Calrissian in 1980's "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" has revealed, in an interview with Esquire, that they identify as gender fluid.

The now 82-year-old actor, Billy Dee Williams, told the magazine, "I say 'himself' and 'herself,' because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine," going on to say, "I'm a very soft person. I'm not afraid to show that side of myself."

In the interview with Matt Miller, writing for Esquire, Williams says, "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."

The actor, artist and clothing designer who now lives in California, spoke to Miller from the Russian Tea Room in New York, where both dined on chicken Kiev, calling ahead to make sure Williams' favorite menu item was still available. Williams grew up in New York City, on the edge of Harlem, where guys on the streets had "a little more smoothness about them," says Williams.

It was Williams' portrayal in the role of Lando Calrissian which earned the character the label of the most charismatic figure in the galaxy. Later on, when actor Donald Glover played the role in 2018's "Solo: A Star Wars Story," writer for the film, Jonathan Kasdan, told the Huffington Post that Lando Calrissian's character is "pansexual."

Kasdan said, "there is a fluidity to Donald and Billy Dee's sexuality," speaking on the two actors' portrayal of the role.

Glover said in an interview on SiriusXM, "how can you not be pansexual in space?" going on to say, "you're in space, the door's wide open."

Williams will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian for "The Rise of Skywalker" which is the final film in the Skywalker saga. The movie is set to release December 20, 2019, and will contain unused footage of Carrie Fisher to help complete the story. Fisher died in 2016 before filming was complete.