Footage from Disney’s Strange World screened at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival shows that Ethan, one of the main characters, is gay or bisexual, as he has a crush on a boy named Diazo. Strange World is Disney’s next theatrical animated film, following Pixar’s Lightyear, which opened this weekend. Strange World stars Jake Gyllenhaal and features the Clades, a family of explorers venturing into the unknown. Ethan, a starring member of the Clades, is the latest in a stream of gay characters in Disney films. They usually get minimal dialogue or scenes indicating as much, so it can easily be removed. Check out a Tweet reporting on the character here:
Jaboukie Young-White has been cast to play Ethan Clade on Disney’s ‘Strange World’, and will be the first openly gay lead for Walt Disney Animation.
The character will have an on screen romance with another male character who his dad embarrasses him in front of heavily. pic.twitter.com/j8GR9wkP8Z
— PopCentral (@popcentral_) June 17, 2022
Here we go again. I have no issue with the inclusion of LGBT characters in stories. In fact, if it’s handled well and doesn’t dominate the character’s personality, I’m in favor of it. This could be a good thing, depending on how Ethan is presented in the film. Knowing Disney, though, I’m not counting on it. They love to pat themselves on the back for “representing” a group with a non-character, only to cut out any lines about sexuality or anything political for certain markets.
They’re also calling this their first gay teen romance in a theatrical movie. That’s true to my knowledge, but it sounds hilarious nonetheless. They’re reaching so they can have credit for being progressive. They’ve had their “first” gay character four or five times now, and they’ve finally figured out they can’t keep getting away with that anymore. So now it’ll be the first gay disabled black woman, the first Algerian lesbian, etc. I wouldn’t be opposed to characters with those specific traits; I just take exception to Disney’s way of marketing these so they can seem like heroes of some revolution while raking in the big bucks. I’m excited for Strange World, and I will give Ethan’s character a fair shot; I’m just skeptical of Disney with anything like this.