Voiced by gay actress and screenwriter Lena Waithe, the character is a purple cyclops police officer (naturally) called Officer Specter who, according to People, openly mentions that she has a girlfriend in the film.
Though Officer Specter is not a main character in the film, the inclusion of a self-identified gay character into the Disney/ Pixar universe is a welcome step towards diversifying the film industry. “It just kind of happened,” Onward producer Kori Rae told Yahoo. “The scene, when we wrote it, was kind of fitting and it opens up the world a little bit, and that’s what we wanted.”
“It’s a modern fantasy world and we want to represent the modern world,” added director Dan Scanlon.
Lena’s character is the latest step taken by Disney and its various subsidiaries to give greater representation to the LGBTQ+ community. There was the ‘exclusively gay moment’ in the live-action Beauty and the Beast remake (where LeFou, Gaston’s sidekick, dances with a man before the credits roll) and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker featured the first same-sex kiss in the franchise. However, these moments have come under criticism for being too fleeting, and that Disney is not worthy of the praise they’ve received for diversifying their characters.
It should be noted, though, that Marvel have also confirmed that Valkyrie will be their first LGBTQ+ superhero in the upcoming instalment Thor: Love and Thunder and will be searching for ‘her queen’, so maybe that will finally be the more explicit reference to queerness we’ve been waiting for.
Onward is in cinemas on 6th March.