Former Staffers Say Disney Had Issue With Same-Sex Kiss in ‘Nimona’ Movie
When Disney acquired the monopoly-level of studios, one of them was the now-shuttered Blue Sky Studios—an animation studio that existed for 17 years and was responsible for films like Ice Age, Robots, The Peanuts Movie, and Ferdinand. One of its upcoming projects was an adaptation of ND Stevenson’s (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power) webcomic turned graphic novel, Nimona.
The animated film was scheduled to be released on January 14, 2022, but was canceled after Disney announced that it would shut down Blue Sky. This was already a sad conclusion to the journey of the comic, but it has now gotten more complicated with news from former Blue Sky staffers about how Disney pushed back against a same-sex kiss in the film.
According to the staffers, when representatives from Blue Sky took a meeting with Disney, representatives for the latter expressed “concern” over multiple queer elements in the story and that the animated movie would feature a same-sex kiss between Ballister Blackheart and his boyfriend, Ambrosius Goldenloin. Stevenson is a nonbinary trans creator who included these themes in their work and was going to be retained in this adaptation.
When Disney expressed their concern, there was an attempt made to present a version of the film without the queer kiss included, with Blue Sky staff planning to then sneak the kiss into the final cut of the film.
The insistence that the kiss be censored caused a great deal of distress among Blue Sky’s LGBTQIA+ staffers, who hadn’t encountered such a hurtful and bigoted policy from their own administration. According to the Insider report, Blue Sky did eventually show a rough cut of the film — with the kiss — to Disney. Shortly thereafter, the studio was shut down.
When people were concerned about the fact that Disney was going to be acquiring so many studios and control so much of the movies and TV that we see, it was because of things like this. Nimona is a queer project, and it deserved better, along with all the other works that were mishandled following the merger. What’s worse is that Disney probably still owns the rights even though the film was canceled, so it is not like it can be shopped around, at the moment, to more inclusive venues.
All of this, combined with the fact that the mega-company has supported anti-LGBTQ legislation, only illustrates why—as much as Disney has been responsible for many things we love—we should never forget that it’s a company that cares about its bottom dollar first. Representation, when it happens, is a benefit, not a feature.
(via /Film, image: HarperTeen)
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