STRANGE WORLD will feature the first openly gay teen romance in Disney film history

Three scenes from Walt Disney Animation Studios strange world were screened at the Annecy Film Festival and one of them seemingly confirmed the inclusion of the first openly gay teen romance in Disney film history.

Disney doesn’t shy away from representation and inclusion in its animated films, despite possible backlash. After the release of Pixars light yearwhich showed a harmless on-screen same-sex kiss that turned out to be quite controversial on social media, now sounds like Disney’s next animated film strange world will also feature LGBTQ+ representation.

Footage of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ upcoming sci-fi adventure was unveiled at the 2022 Annecy International Animation Film Festival, and a description of one of the scenes screened at the event confirmed this strange world will have the company’s first openly gay teen romance in a feature film. Matthieu Saghezchi, an Emmy Award-winning animation production designer, confirmed this on social media.

Variety was present at the festival and described the process as follows:

Ethan flirts with heartthrob Diazo while friends from school look on and tease him warmly and kindly. Much to Ethan’s chagrin, his father, Searcher, soon gets involved and embarrasses his son with an overzealous demonstration of acceptance.

The scene has been described as “very loveable” and “treated as the most natural thing in the world” but will almost certainly upset some segment of the population – probably the same people who are upset about it light year‘s same-sex kiss. The scene inside light yearwhich was originally cut but restored after backlash from studio members, ultimately resulted in the film being banned from at least 14 countries in Asia and the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and more.

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While Disney appears to have once vacillated about LGBTQ+ portrayals in its films, it’s now clear that the company’s stance is to welcome on-screen inclusion and portrayal, regardless of any backlash they may receive.

strange world was first unveiled earlier this month with an intriguing teaser trailer that exuded a retro sci-fi B-movie vibe. The synopsis is:

The original action-adventure travels deep into an uncharted and treacherous land where fantastical creatures await the legendary Clades, a family of explorers whose differences threaten to overthrow their latest – and by far – most important mission.

Two additional scenes from Strange World were also revealed. The second was an action sequence where the family is attacked “through flying fuchsia creatures that look like origami stingrays” exploring a cave from inside an airplane. In the third scene, Searcher, voiced by Jake Gyllenhall, and the dog explore “The phosphorescent landscape that looks like a coral is painted light pink” and must fend off “a Cthulhu-looking beast”. They are rescued by a bearded old hunter who turns out to be Searcher’s father.

strange world Directed by Don Hall (big hero 6, Raya and the last dragon) and co-directed and written by Qui Nguyen (co-author of Raya and the last dragon). It hits theaters on November 23, 2022.

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