Actor Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando Calrissian in Star Wars, uses both male and female pronouns

Billy Dee Williams, the actor best known for playing Lando Calrissian in Star Wars, has revealed that he is embracing gender fluidity by using both he/him and she/her pronouns.

Williams, 82, will be reprising his role as Calrissian for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in December. Ahead of his return to the franchise, he spoke to Esquire about his gender expression.

“I never tried to be anything except myself,” he said. “I think of myself as a relatively colourful character who doesn’t take himself or herself too seriously.”

He later elaborated on his pronouns, explaining: “I say ‘himself’ and ‘herself,’ because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine. I’m a very soft person. I’m not afraid to show that side of myself.”

In the interview Williams also revealed that his proudest acting achievement is his Emmy-nominated performance as Gale Sayers in the 1971 TV movie Brian’s Song.

“It was a love story, really. Between two guys. Without sex,” he said. “It ended up being a kind of breakthrough in terms of racial division.”

The character of Lando Calrissian marked the inclusion of a complex black character in a genre and franchise that was “notoriously white” – but his sexuality had remained a mystery until recently.

Jonathan Kasdan, co-screenwriter for Solo: A Star Wars Story, revealed last year that there was “a [sexual] fluidity” to Calrissian’s portrayal by Williams and, in recent years, Donald Glover.

Glover himself confirmed this, saying: “How can you not be pansexual in space? There’s so many things to have sex with. I’m serious,” Glover said. “It just didn’t seem that weird to me. You’re in space; the door’s open.”

After it became known that Glover’s version of Lando in Solo would identify as pansexual, Glover said that Williams simply gave him one piece of advice: “Be charming.”