Lena Waithe Will Voice Pixar's First Openly Gay Character in Onward
It's official: Onward will be the first Pixar movie to include an openly gay character! Set to hit theaters on March 6, the Disney film includes a scene with a lesbian character named Officer Specter, who is voiced by Emmy Award-winning actor Lena Waithe. Part of the LGBTQ+ community herself, Lena said at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards in 2018 that she was "proud to be a gay, black female."
Onward follows two teenage brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot — who are voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, respectively — as they attempt to use magic to spend a day with their father, who passed away when they were young.
Producer Kori Rae confirmed in a Feb. 21 interview with Yahoo that the movie would have a self-identified lesbian character. "It just kind of happened," Kori said. "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." Director Dan Scanlon elaborated on Kori's comment: "It's a modern fantasy world and we want to represent the modern world."
Despite only making an appearance in one scene, Officer Specter plays an important role in the film. More importantly, Pixar is making the character's experience a teachable moment. After pulling over Barley and Ian for reckless driving, Ian casts a "masking" spell on himself and his brother to avoid being taken home. While in his disguise as his mom's boyfriend, Officer Colt Bronco, he has a heart-to-heart with the officer about dating people who have kids. Officer Specter opens up about her experience with her girlfriend's child, saying: "My girlfriend's daughter got me pulling my hair out," adding that at the end of the day, all you can do is be there for your partner and their kids.
Be sure to snag your family tickets to see the animated movie on opening night!