‘Lightyear’, the upcoming film starring Chris Evans as the putative real-life inspiration for the “Toy Story” character Buzz Lightyear, from the house of Pixar, has got its kissing scenes between same-sex characters reinstated.
This was following the uproar surrounding the Pixar employees’ statement and Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, reports ‘Variety’.
As per ‘Variety’, the film will feature a significant female character, Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba), who is in a meaningful relationship with another woman. While the fact of that relationship was never in question at the studio, a kiss between the characters had been cut from the film.
The decision marks a possible major turning point for LGBTQ representation not just in Pixar films, but in feature animation in general, which has remained steadfastly circumspect about depicting same-sex affection in any meaningful light. In Pixar’s 27-year history, there have been just a small handful of unambiguous LGBTQ characters of any kind.
These include the 2020 release ‘Onward’, which tells the story of a one-eyed cop played by Lena Waithe, who appears in a few scenes, and mentions her girlfriend. The 2019 film ‘Toy Story 4’ shows two moms hugging their child goodbye at kindergarten. And 2016’s ‘Finding Dory’ features a brief shot of what appears to be a lesbian couple, though the movie’s filmmakers were coy about defining them that way at the time.
The most overtly LGBTQ project in Pixar’s canon is a 2020 short film, ‘Out’, about a gay man struggling with coming out to his parents – which the studio released on Disney Plus as part of its SparkShorts program.
On March 9, LGBTQ employees and allies at Pixar Animation Studios sent a joint statement to Walt Disney Company leadership in which they made a claim that Disney executives had actively censored “overtly gay affection” in its feature films. The stunning allegation was made as part of a larger protest over the company’s lack of public response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The statement, accessed by ‘Variety’, says, “Nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest, regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar. Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it.”
The statement by Pixar employees states that “Disney corporate reviews” were responsible for the diminution of LGBTQ representation at Pixar – which would include the tenure of Chapek’s predecessor as CEO, Robert Iger.
However, none of the sources who spoke with Variety could cite first-hand knowledge of Disney executives directly cutting LGBTQ content from specific Pixar features.