Contrary to many people’s beliefs, the Beauty and the Beast remake, featuring the combined talents of Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, and Luke Evans, was not the first Disney movie to feature a gay couple. Zootropolis was released in 2016.
Walt Disney Studios was founded in 1923, almost a century before Disney openly embraced same-sex relationships. Still, progress is always progress, no matter what time it is. As times have changed, the cinema has become much more complete; Whether from the LGBTQ + community, different ethnicities, disabilities, or age groups, everyone is slowly getting their fair share of representation.
Beauty and the Beast recreated LeFou as a gay man
In 2017, revived the 1991 classic Beauty and the Beast for a modern audience, directed by Bill Condon. The story has remained faithful to the original as it is over 25 years old and stole the hearts of 1990s children worldwide, but it made some significant changes. For those who remember, Gaston, the main antagonist of Beauty and the Beast, had a funny companion named LeFou. Jesse Corti expressed him in the animated film, but Josh Gad breathed new life into LeFou in the 2017 remake.
In a controversial moment, LeFou (along with the rest of the cast) attends a ball to celebrate the wedding of the beauty and her transformed beast. As the dancers change partners, LeFou kisses another man and becomes confused but immediately interrupted. The audience expressed their gratitude and joy at the stage in a split second.
There are strange references to LeFou’s sexuality throughout the film, especially his respect for Gaston. Since then, Beauty and the Beast have been considered the first portrayal of a gay couple in Disney history, but another film did just that before – and a year earlier.
Zootopia quietly introduced Disney’s first gay couple
Zootopia was released in 2016 and has received as much praise, recognition, and success as Disney’s Frozen in 2013. It features the dynamic duo Ginnifer Goodwin as Bunny Cop, Judy Hopps, and Jason Bateman as amateur artist Nick Wilde. With its emotional elements and powerful bias-breaking message, the comic episode arrived with permission from children and adults. Their main result, however, is their subtle inclusion.
When Judy Hopps moves into her barbershop in Zootropolis, she briefly encounters a couple of antelopes who tell her they will make a lot of noise and will never apologize for it. It requires some deductions, but the conclusion was that the antelopes were dated or perhaps even married. In addition, Zootopia’s credits have shown that the antelopes are Bucky Oryx-Antlerson and Pronk Oryx-Antlerson, which confirms that they have the same surname. As if that wasn’t clear enough, one of the film’s writers confirmed that the two were married on Twitter.
That moment was a step in the right direction for Disney, which continues to diversify in terms of ethnicity, culture, and sexuality. Although Disney fans are still optimistic about their future endeavors, it would be comforting to see a more positive and open-mouthed portrayal of minority groups.