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19th Mar 2022

Lightyear to include Pixar’s first same-sex kiss following staff backlash

Simon Bland

The decision follows backlash to Disney’s handling of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

Lightyear is set to feature Pixar’s first same-sex kiss, marking the first time a same-sex relationship has been prominently depicted in one of the studio’s big screen theatrical releases.

While the scene in question – which features a kiss between two female characters – was reportedly removed from the movie initially, it has since been reinserted into the finished cut which is due for release on June 17.

The news comes as Disney received intense backlash from staffers following the company’s handling of Florida’s controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, in which teachers are banned from discussing gender or sexual orientation with their students.

As reported in Variety, a letter attributed to “the LGBTQIA+ employees of Pixar, and their allies” went on to claim Disney higher-ups had demanded cuts regarding “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection… regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar.”

The letter was reportedly sent in response to a company-wide memo issued by current Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who suggested that the biggest way the House of Mouse could fight Florida’s controversial new legislation was by “creating a more inclusive world… through the inspiring content we produce.”

Lightyear features Avengers‘ star Chris Evans taking over the role made famous by Tim Allen in 1995’s Toy Story to tell the origin tale of the real Buzz Lightyear that inspired Andy’s favourite toy in Pixar’s debut feature.

The film’s wider cast includes Orange Is The New Black actor Uzo Aduba as Hawthorne, one of Buzz’s fellow space rangers, who – according to reports – shares a “meaningful relationship” with another female character.

According to Variety‘s coverage, Disney had no qualms with Hawthorne’s relationship with another woman but apparently drew the line at showing a kissing scene within the movie. However following the letter sent by Pixar’s LGBTQIA+ employees, the scene was subsequently cut back in.

While this sequence will undoubtedly be a momentous moment for the studio, it’s not the first time Pixar has made reference to same-sex relationships in its big-screen output. For example, in Chris Pratt and Tom Holland’s 2020 hit Onward, the character Officer Specter, voiced by Master of None‘s Lena Waithe, made reference to co-parenting with her “girlfriend’s daughter” throughout the film’s magical adventure storyline.

With other Disney features such as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Marvel’s Eternals receiving backlash for their inclusion of same-sex kissing, it’s yet to be seen how audiences will react to this part of Pixar’s latest space adventure.

In the meantime though, you can watch the latest trailer for Lightyear below.

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