Disney+ subscribers got a pleasantly inclusive surprise this week with the release of “Out,” a Pixar short film featuring a gay protagonist.
“Out,” directed by Steven Clay Hunter, was unveiled Friday as part of the Disney+ SparkShorts series. The animated film follows Greg (voiced by Kyle McDaniel), who is about to move in with his boyfriend, Manuel (Caleb Cabrera).
The only problem? Greg hasn’t told his parents that he’s gay.
When his mom and dad show up on moving day, Greg magically swaps bodies with his dog and, in doing so, learns a valuable lesson about living authentically. (Catch the trailer for “Out” above.)
“Out” breaks fresh ground as Pixar’s first project to feature an LGBTQ character in a central role.
It also boasts an all-star creative team. Hunter was an animator on several Pixar hits, including “Finding Nemo” and “Toy Story 4.” Producer Max Sachar worked on “Coco” and “Toy Story 3.”
Response from viewers was largely enthusiastic.
“Pixar have delivered on an LGBTQ+ story,” one person tweeted. “I’m HERE for it and Lordy did I cry.” Added another, “I just watched a family love their gay son in a Pixar short. I just watched myself be represented in a Pixar short.”
As of Friday evening, neither Disney nor Pixar had issued public statements about “Out.” It should be noted that the short film’s release follows varied efforts on behalf of both companies to diversify their programming.
Not all of those efforts, however, have been well received.
The Disney-Pixar feature “Onward,” released in March, featured a “self-identified” lesbian character, voiced by Lena Waithe. But the result was Officer Specter, a Cyclops cop who appeared in a single scene.
In 2017, director Bill Condon promised that the live-action reboot of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” would feature an “exclusively gay moment” involving Josh Gad’s LeFou. In the end, that “moment” satisfied just about no one.
Disney+, meanwhile, has fared considerably better. The streaming service featured “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” as part of its debut lineup last fall. The reboot of 2006’s “High School Musical” boasts the franchise’s first openly gay character, Carlos (Frankie A. Rodriguez). One of the show’s later episodes even hinted at a romance for the character.