Following LGBTQ+ employees and allies at Pixar Animation Studios sending out a statement claiming that Disney executives had actively censored “overtly gay affection” in its films, Lightyear‘s same-sex kiss is getting restored after being removed.
According to a report from Variety, Pixar’s next feature film is set to star Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba), a female astronaut who is in a relationship with another woman. The report notes that while the relationship was always set to be featured in the film, a kiss between the two was initially cut from the film.
However, after the backlash following Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s financial support of the sponsors behind Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and weak response to said backlash, it seems that the scene was reinstated into the film. Chapek later apologized, admitting that he let the LGBTQ+ community down and announced a pause on political donations in order to create “a new framework for [its] political giving that will ensure [Disney’s] advocacy better reflects [its] values.”
Variety’s sources indicate that this is just one scene that has been changed by Disney or prematurely changed in fear of Disney’s rules. These anonymous employees said that, as an example, certain “signifiers of LGBTQ identity” were taken out of other films like Soul and Inside Out, both of which are set in more LGBTQ+ friendly areas like New York City and San Francisco, respectively. Apparently, a rainbow sticker in the window of a shop from one of the films was taken out because it was too “distracting.” Same-sex couples were also reportedly removed from the background, but another insider stated that some do still appear in Soul.
Lightyear is a sci-fi action-adventure film that hails from director and veteran Pixar animator Angus MacLane (Finding Dory). It is produced by Galyn Susman (Toy Story 4, Ratatouille). The film will star Chris Evans in the role of Buzz Lightyear, with Keke Palmer, Dale Soules, and Taika Waititi as a group of ambitious recruits. Meanwhile, Peter Sohn voices Buzz’s robot companion, Sox. Other cast members include Uzo Aduba, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez, and Isiah Whitlock Jr.
The animated spin-off film presents the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the hero who inspired the toy (voiced by Tim Allen in the original movie series) —introducing the legendary Space Ranger who would win generations of fans. It is expected to explore the story of how a young test pilot became the Space Ranger that we all know him to be today.
The Toy Story franchise started with John Lasseter’s 1995 film which spawned off three more sequels. It featured the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, and more. The films currently have a combined worldwide gross of more than $3 billion. The last two films had both earned an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.