Buzz Lightyear: Why the Film Marks a Turning Point in Disney History

Buzz Lightyear is released this Wednesday in our theaters and marks a turning point in the history of the Disney / Pixar studio thanks to a kissing scene between two characters of the same sex.

At the beginning of last March, Disney was singled out by employees who criticized, in an open letter, the studio’s lack of reaction to the “Don’t say gay” bill, examined by the State of Florida. , state where the group’s studios are located.

This law, called “House Bill 1557” and adopted at the end of March 2022, prohibits teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in front of their students. The text should come into force from July and will be applied from kindergarten to the age of 9.

The law specifies that a teacher “may not encourage discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity or in a manner that is not appropriate to the age or development of the students.”

Considered homophobic, this text has been denounced by many people including the President of the United States, Joe Biden.

Buzz Lightyear: after the controversy, Disney restores a gay kiss in the Pixar film

Disney employees also denounced the lack of reaction from their employer and the studio’s censorship of openly gay content:

At Pixar, we have personally witnessed great stories, full of diverse characters, shattered (…) following Disney re-readings (…)

Almost every moment of openly gay affection is cut, even when Pixar’s creative and production teams object. (…) Even though creating LGBTQIA+ content is the answer to discriminatory legislation, we are prohibited from creating it.”

Following the controversy, Disney announced that a kissing scene between two women would be reintroduced in the Pixar film, Buzz Lightning.

Buzz lightyear: why the film marks a turning point in disney history
Pixar Animation Studios

Alisha

The kiss is very present in the film ofAngus Maclane, even if the latter is quite stealthy. But the creative team was able to go beyond a simple kiss.

WARNING, THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS ON BUZZ L’ECLAIR

Indeed, Commander and Space Ranger Alisha Hawthorne (voiced in VO by Uzo Aduba) is at Buzz’s side when the Ranger crash-lands on an uncharted planet millions of light-years from Earth. Several Rangers and Scientists are in artificial sleep and will be awakened.

If Buzz is on a mission to fix his mistake and bring everyone back to Earth, Alisha stays on the ground to supervise the staff and tries to live her life despite everything.

It is under these conditions that she meets the scientist who will become his wife. And every time Buzz returns to the planet, he sees Alisha moving forward with her life, from meeting her and getting married to her pregnancy and her son’s birthdays.

More than a kiss, Pixar has therefore integrated into its film a married lesbian couple and mothers. And one of the women is a central character in the film.

Buzz lightyear: why the film marks a turning point in disney history
Pixar Animation Studios

Buzz & Alisha

A major turning point in history

After several failed attempts by Disney over the years, Buzz Lightyear is therefore the first Pixar film explicitly presenting an LGBT + couple.

The film producer Galyn Susman said she was “thrilled” that the creative team was able to reinstate the kiss and told Variety: “The couple formed by Alisha and her companion have always been part of the film.”

Only the kiss had therefore been censored by Disney. For Susman, “being able to include the kiss was important. It’s a touching moment.”

She finally says:Alisha, Buzz’s commander and best friend is the heart of the first act. She has a life as a couple, a family… She represents everything Buzz doesn’t have, everything he gave up in his unique quest to make up for his mistake. It is life that is lived in front of him, so it was important for us to reintroduce this gesture of affection and tenderness..”

Buzz lightyear: why the film marks a turning point in disney history
Pixar

Buzz and Alisha

On his side, Chris Evans, who lends his voice to Buzz Lightyear in the original version, said he was proud and happy that Pixar had brought the kiss back into the film. He declares to variety : “It’s wonderful, it makes me happy. I’m even a little annoyed that it’s still a topic of discussion today. The goal is to make it the norm. We must make films representing all categories of society.”

The actor then adds:

It’s an honor for me to be part of a film that reaches these milestones, but the point is to look back and just be shocked that it took us so long to get there.

The studio has tried to show LGBTQ characters before, but each time they were secondary characters and the scenes weren’t explicit.

In Finding Dory in 2016, a couple of women pushing a pram appeared briefly; in 2019 in Toy Story 4, we saw two mothers hugging their child in front of the kindergarten; the following year in Aheada one-eyed policewoman mentioned her girlfriend (the film was censored in some countries because of this scene).
Buzz lightyear: why the film marks a turning point in disney history
Pixar Animation Studios

The two moms in Finding Dory

Angus MacLane’s film thus marks a major turning point in the history of the studio and of animation cinema in general.

There are of course animated films that show homosexual characters, but these films are intended for an adult audience: south park in 1999, Persepolis in 2007, Sausage Party or the recent Fleenominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Film.

The representation of LGBTQ+ people in animated films aimed at young audiences is much rarer. We can cite the Sony film, The Mitchells vs. the Machineswhere we learn at the very end that Katie, the heroine, has a girlfriend.

But seeing a same-sex couple kiss, get married, and have a child in a Disney movie is a real first.

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