Disney’s and Pixar’s Onward is sure to be a big hit for both studios, but some major character changes will be visible depending on where you watch the film.
UPDATE: As of Thursday, March 5th – both Qatar & Oman banned the film as well. And UAE airs it as is.
According to CinemaBlend, some Russian viewers who were able to catch the film before its March 5 release date noticed that Lena Waithe’s character, Specter, has a line changed that takes away her LGBTQ identity away.
There’s no word on whether the change was made for other international versions, but it’s likely it will happen in other territories as well, but it is expected to be edited in the MENA region, movie plays in the UAE cinemas as of tomorrow, while Kuwait & Saudi Arabia decided to ban the film alltogether.
Specter from Onward is said to be the first LGBTQ animated character on the big screen for Pixar. This isn’t Disney’s first non-heterosexual character as there was a small character featured in Avengers: Endgame that was also openly gay.
Russia has had a “gay propaganda” law since 2013 making it illegal for people to share information about the LGBTQ community to minors. The Russian government has a history of discriminating against its LGBTQ citizens, and it continues to be one of the most dangerous places in the world for members of the LGBTQ community.
While the character of Specter definitely helps add more visible LGBTQ representation in media, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. For example, all of the characters that have been featured so far in Disney and Pixar films have not been starring roles, while others were not openly gay.
Disney and Pixar still has not talked about the censorship, but it just shows us how much more needs to be done for LGBTQ representation around the world.