Disney has shut down a studio that was making the company’s first feature length animated feature with a queer lead, meaning the film may never see the light of day.
The film, called Nimona, was being made by Blue Sky Studios, and was set to feature a same-sex kiss and a “gender non-conforming lead heroine”.
In a devastating blow, staff were told that they will all be laid off in April due to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning the film is unlikely to ever be completed.
“It was a first for our studio in a lot of respects and what would have been a first for Disney, I believe,” one employee said.
Nimona was created by Noelle Stevenson and started as a webcomic before it was published as a graphic novel by HarperCollins in 2015.
Staff at Blue Sky Studios said the film was going to have a scene where a same-sex couple say “I love you” and that their romantic history would be put front and center.
One employee said the film would have the power to “change kids’ lives” due to its powerful exploration of its characters’ queerness.
Another staff member said they were never sure if they had Disney’s full support in making the film.
“They don’t have a great track record of making queer-inclusive media,” the staffer said.
Blue Sky Studios was behind some major hits of the last two decades, including Ice Age and Rio. Their last film was 2019’s Spies in Disguise.