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Disney Reveals Its First Ever Animated LGBTQ Character with Lena Waithe Voicing Role in Onward

Gabrielle Chung

Disney is moving “onwards” with its plans to be more diverse.

The animation giant’s upcoming flick Onward will feature the first animated LGBTQ character to exist in the Disney-Pixar universe.

The role — a Cyclops cop by the name of Officer Specter — is voiced by Lena Waithe and is Disney and Pixar’s first self-identified LGBTQ character in its history.

Onward producer Kori Rae confirmed the role in an interview published Friday, telling Yahoo Entertainment that the inclusion of the character “just kind of happened” when the movie was being written.

“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,” she said.

Lena Waithe as Officer Specter | Pixar Animation/Disney. Inset: Getty Images

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Director Dan Scanlon added, “It’s a modern fantasy world and we want to represent the modern world.”

Onward is set in a fantastical universe where mystical creatures like wizards and centaurs have lost their magical roots. Starring Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, the animated flick centers around two elf brothers living in modern day suburbia.

Waithe’s cop character makes a brief appearance in one scene, in which she tells a driver she had pulled over, “My girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out,” according to Slate.

Lena Waithe | Getty

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Previously, there were only speculations of same-sex relationships in the Disney-Pixar universe when viewers spotted what appeared to be a lesbian couple pushing a stroller in 2016’s Finding Dory. However, director Andrew Stanton opted to not specify when the film came out, telling USA Today, “They can be whatever you want them to be.”

Last year, eagle-eyed viewers also surmised that a same-sex couple was featured in Toy Story 4 — in which two women can be seen dropping off a young girl at kindergarten — though filmmakers did not confirm the theories.

News of Waithe’s LGBTQ character comes just a month after Marvel president and CEO Kevin Feige revealed plans to add more LGBTQ characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“Yes, absolutely. Yes,” he said during New York Film Academy event, according to NBC News. “And very soon. In a movie that we’re shooting right now.”

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In 2019, Feige confirmed that Tessa Thompson‘s Valkyrie is the first openly LGBTQ superhero in Marvel Cinematic Universe history after the Thor: Ragnarok star said her character needs to “find her queen” in the follow-up, Thor: Love and Thunder, during a San Diego Comic-Con panel.

“The answer is yes,” he told io9 of Valkyrie having an LGBTQ storyline. “How that impacts the story remains to be seen with that level of representation you’ll see across our films, not in just Thor 4.

Disney and Pixar’s Onward hits theaters March 8.