Pixar's 'Onward' Introduces Disney's First Openly Gay Animated Character
Pixar's 'Onward' Introduces Disney's First Openly Gay Character
Queer characters have long-existed in the subtext of many Disney films, even if they never actually identified as LGBTQ+. Sure, legally Disney can deny that Mulan's Li Shang is a bisexual icon, but the gays know the truth. And we've long-claimed iconic Disney villains like The Little Mermaid's Ursala and The Lion King's Scar for the campier aspects of their personalities.
Recently, Disney has been trying and failing to include some actual LGBTQ+ characters, like the blink-and-you-miss-it shot of a lesbian couple in Finding Dory or the overhyped and barely-there LeFou/Gaston romantic interest in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.
But a character in Pixar's upcoming animated film Onward is finally going to change that.
The film follows two suburban elven brothers, Ian and Barley (voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt), who stumble upon some olden magic and use it in an attempt to resurrect their deceased father. It goes hilariously wrong and sets them off on a quest full of wacky misadventures. That's how we meet Officer Specter, a cyclops cop voiced by out, Emmy-award winning actor and screenwriter Lena Waithe.
At one point in the film, Officer Specter casually mentions her relationship with a woman. After pulling over a stressed-out driver, she attempts to comfort him with a revelation of her own: “My girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out," she says.
Slate, who originally reported the moment in the film, says that the "line isn’t the point of the scene. In fact, it goes by so fast you could barely notice it. But that’s why it works so well. The film doesn’t pause to let it sink in or isolate the moment with a cut for emphasis. It passes unremarked, because in this world, it’s accepted as a fact of life. Some babies have two daddies, and some babies have two mommies, even if those mommies happen to be centaurs or elves."
“It just kind of happened,” film producer Kori Rae told Yahoo. “The scene, when we wrote it, was kind of fitting and it opens up the world a little bit, and that’s what we wanted.”
Director Dan Scanlon added, “It’s a modern fantasy world and we want to represent the modern world."
It seems like we're finally getting some slow-but-steady progression with LGBTQ+ characters in Disney films, and we couldn't be more excited! And according to The Advocate, a possible spin-off centered on Waithe's character is even on the table. "I want to make a whole new movie about Officer Specter, we already have the material. [Waithe] basically wrote it all and gave us a backstory," said Rae.
Catch Onward in theaters on March 6th. Watch the trailers below: