Upcoming animated Disney film Strange World is to feature the studio’s “first openly gay teen romance in a feature”, according to a production designer.
The film, which stars Dennis Quaid, Lucy Liu, Gabrielle Union and Jaboukie Young-White, is scheduled for release in November. And, as Variety reports, contains a romantic plot between two teen boys.
Matthieu Saghezchi, an animation production designer, confirmed the romance on Twitter, stating: “Just saw the very first glimpse into Disney’s Strange World… it features the first openly gay teen romance in a Disney feature!!!
“The scene describes the son [Ethan, played by Young-White] being very shy in front of his boy crush, and his dad comes in and says ‘so nice to meet you! My son talks about you all the time’ and further embarrasses his son. Very cute.”
The film, which was announced at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France, follows a family of adventurers who travel to new worlds.
Just saw the very first glimpse into #Disney ‘s #StrangeWorld at the #Annecy2022 festival – it features the first openly gay teen romance in a disney feature!!! #RepresentationMatters pic.twitter.com/H1bEjyrSV1
— Matthieu Saghezchi (@MSaghezchi) June 17, 2022
Disney has been praised for refusing to remove a same-sex kiss from its new movie Lightyear, despite it being banned in 14 countries.
The spin-off of the critically acclaimed Toy Story movie franchise will not make it to cinemas in several countries including Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Lebanon.
The UAE’s Media Regulatory Office announced on Twitter that Lightyear is to be denied license for public screening due to a “violation of the country’s media content standards”.
Disney reinstated the same-sex kiss scene after removing it following an open letter from Disney-Pixar lambasting its parent company for suppressing “overtly gay affection”.
“We at Pixar have personally witnessed beautiful stories, full of diverse characters, come back from Disney corporate reviews shaved down to crumbs of what they once were,” the letter reads.
This follows months of criticism with regards to Disney’s actions on LGBTQ+ issues, with several Disney staffers staging a walk-out after the company’s handling of Florida’s harmful “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Staffers were angered after Disney initially refused to speak against the bill while funding Republicans who backed the bill; CEO Bob Chapek has since backtracked and paused all political donations in Florida.
Disney Plus wrote in a statement: “We strongly denounce all legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of people in the LGBTQIA+ community… especially legislation that targets and harms young people and their families.”