Next week, The Walt Disney Company will release its newest animated feature film, Strange World (2022). So far, anticipation has been high for the adventure-driven fantasy movie to debut, however, upon news that Strange World will feature Disney’s first openly gay teenage character, many have rallied against the Mouse House for its so-called “not-so-secret gay agenda.”
Unfortunately, the inclusion of LGBTQIAP+ representation will cause boycotts and bans across the world, as has been seen many times before.
Strange World from Walt Disney Animation Studios was announced a year ago with Don Hall directing and Qui Nguyen as the writer, and Roy Conli producing. Hall’s previous work as co-director on projects like Big Hero 6 (2014), Moana (2016), and Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) stand the upcoming movie in good stead — after all Big Hero 6 landed the coveted Best Animated Feature Academy Award in 2015.
Following the adventurous Clade family of explorers, Strange World sees Jake Gyllenhaal take on the lead role of Searcher Clade in the Disney film. While not one for being enticed by his ancestral exploration roots, Searcher Clade is swept from his life of farming in the family’s latest adventure to the mysterious realm of Avalonia. The animated movie’s tale of the legendary Clades is said to be inspired by pulp magazines.
Gyllenhaal is joined by Dennis Quaid as Searcher’s father, Jaeger Clade, and Gabrielle Union as Searcher’s wife, Meridian Clade. Lucy Liu plays the leader of Avalonia, Callisto Mal, while Searcher and Meridian’s son, Ethan Clade, is voiced by Jaboukie Young-White. And it is Ethan Clade that has stirred the Disney pot, creating a new controversy ahead of the movie’s release.
It was announced back in June at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, that Strange World would feature Disney’s first openly gay teenage character, with the film partially dealing with the romance of Ethan Clade and his crush. Inside the Magic wrote:
Alongside the announcement of the key voice cast of Strange World, the animation giant executed the reveal by showing a clip of the young character Ethan Clade, flirting openly with another young boy, Daizo — as revealed by Matthieu Saghezchi, an Emmy-award winning animation production designer, who was present at the event.
Now, of course, the announcement came with the usual backlash over Disney including LGBTQIAP+ characters in its projects. Earlier this year, many boycotted, review-bombed, and even put signs on movie theater doors, over the short scene in Disney and Pixar Animation Studios’ Lightyear (2022), which showed two women embracing in a kiss. And then after that, Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) faced similar controversy due to the sexual orientation of its leading lady, King Valkyrie of New Asgard (Tessa Thompson), and a short scene that showcased Taika Waititi’s Korg performing a “birthing ritual” with another male.
So, it comes as no surprise that backlash over Strange World‘s inclusion of a gay teen romance has been ignited. Conservative commentator, and editor emeritus of The Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro recently said:
As Disney begins pushing “Strange World” for next week’s release, here’s the reminder that their “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” to target kids is ongoing. It’s a part of the plot of this movie, just as it was with “Lightyear.” Your kids, your choice.
As Disney begins pushing "Strange World" for next week's release, here's the reminder that their "not-at-all-secret gay agenda" to target kids is ongoing. It's a part of the plot of this movie, just as it was with "Lightyear." Your kids, your choice. https://t.co/lMjsaDF8Lp
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) November 15, 2022
If Strange World does go the way of Lightyear and Thor: Love and Thunder, it could mean the movie might fall on hard times at the global box office. History tells us that boycotts are common when it comes to some people’s view on Disney’s so-called “gay agenda” as well as those who deem the company as “woke” — a term also frequently used by the Florida government in retaliation to Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s stance on their polarizing “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Likewise, both Lightyear and the Thor sequel were banned in multiple territories across the Middle East, Asia, and China for their inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters and themes. From Malaysia to Kuwait to the United Arab Emirates, both movies were hindered globally from releasing in these countries. So too can The Walt Disney Company and fans expect Strange World to be shut out of these places, if not more.
Strange World releases on November 23, 2022, from Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
Will you be seeing Strange World when it releases next week? Let us know in the comments down below!