Disney and Pixar’s magic of animation has taken on a quest in a fantasy world with a present-day twist. Wizards, unicorns, centaurs, dragons and more are introduced as new characters for the upcoming enchanting film.
“Onward” is the newest film from Disney that will be introducing a world of magic that has been lost under technology in the present day. In one of their recent announcements, they presented the first official mention of an openly LGBTQ character, a horned cyclops police officer named Officer Specter.
With Disney announcing the news before the film, it is an indication of plans to go forward with LGBTQ representation.
Disney has alluded to same-sex relationships in other projects. For example, in the movie “Zootopia,” Bucky and Pronk Oryx-Antlerson, two male characters, had the same last name. These two characters lived together, fought and were portrayed as a couple. However, it was not stated outright in the film or promotional material. With the context that is given, it could also be assumed that they are brothers.
As a studio, Disney strives to design characters that reflect the norms of society. However, most comparisons that were made of characters in the past to a complex feature of society were quickly brushed off as the imagination of the individual watching the movie.
Announcing the arrival of this character was an interesting move on the studio’s part, but perhaps a possible warning to parents or others who may not feel comfortable with this character.
By publishing the character as openly gay, the potential audience is “warned.” Going to a movie and seeing a character for the first time is the norm. However, having an announcement about the character beforehand shows that the company is not fully comfortable presenting the character in fear of potential backlash.
The new film and LGBTQ unicorn cyclops are a step forward in being progressive as a studio. Nevertheless, it’s not a clear step forward due to the need to announce it beforehand. It’s an indication of how there is a lack of confidence; a cautionary move by Disney.
The plot and animation of the film “Onward” look exciting, and, as someone who loves Disney films, this author would have gone to see the movie with or without the announcement. If we normalize something that wasn’t in the past, the positive will influence the audience to move beyond the negativity.