• Actor Billy Dee Williams has opened up about his gender identity. (Getty Images North America)
"I think of myself as a relatively colourful character who doesn’t take himself or herself too seriously."
Samuel Leighton-Dore

3 Dec 2019 - 2:32 PM  UPDATED 3 Dec 2019 - 2:32 PM

The Star Wars movie franchise just got a little more diverse - all thanks to 82-year-old actor Billy Dee Williams, who starred as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, released in 1980.

Speaking in a new interview with Esquire, the star opened up for the first time about his gender identity, revealing that he views his gender as fluid and often uses both male and female pronouns.

"I say ‘himself’ and ‘herself,’ because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine," he told writer Matt Miller.

"I’m a very soft person. I’m not afraid to show that side of myself.”

Williams added: “I never tried to be anything except myself. I think of myself as a relatively colourful character who doesn’t take himself or herself too seriously."

The significance of Williams' admission was very quickly apparent, with queer Star Wars fans praising the actor for his candour on the subject of gender identity.

"Billy Dee Williams coming out as non-binary is important because it goes against the popular image of non-binary people as young, white and androgynous," one fan tweeted.

Another wrote: "Billy Dee Williams talking about his preferred pronouns and feelings about his gender identity at age 82 just makes my heart melt."

They added: "I love this man so much. So happy to be seeing him onscreen again."

Williams is set to reprise his role as Lando in the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker.

When asked during his interview with Esquire whether the film, due out December of this year, will mark “the end for Lando,” Williams mused that it would depend on “how much money is generated.” 

“It’s a conclusion - certainly it depends on how much money is generated. That’s when they determine where’s the conclusion."

He continued: "The one thing about show business, you can resurrect anything.”

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