After slightly underperforming at the box office during its opening weekend, many want to know more about the details behind Pixar's latest movie, Lightyear. The movie, which is loosely tied into the continuity of the Toy Story universe, follows space commander Buzz Lightyear as he and his commander, Alisha, are stranded on a planet lightyears from Earth and Buzz makes hyperspeed flights to find their way home.
'Lightyear' features Pixar's first same-sex couple.
Buzz is very friendly with Alisha and is also respectful of the fact that she is a lesbian. When Buzz discovers that Alisha found love while stranded on an alien planet, he seems not just respectful but actively excited about the news. The same-sex kiss that has caused such a stir in the film comes as part of a montage of Alisha's life while Buzz travels off-world. During each flight that Buzz takes, four years pass on the planet where Alisha is stuck.
Who kisses in 'Lightyear'?
So, while Buzz is trying to find a way home, Alisha is building a life for herself, and winds up romantically entangled with a research scientist on the planet. The two share a kiss on their 40th anniversary, and Alisha even tells Buzz that she wouldn't have met her partner if the two of them hadn't been stranded. They eventually have kids together and build a whole life with one another.
While the kiss was meant as a small sign of progress for Pixar, the reception to it has been mixed at best. Some countries like the UAE and Malaysia have refused to release the film in their countries because of the kiss, and it's even caused controversy in the US, where some have argued that it's an inappropriate thing to show the children who would come to see the movie.
The kiss was initially removed from the film altogether, and then it was restored after a revolt from Disney employees who discovered that the company had also donated money to politicians who supported Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill.
“What this film does is handle love and those stories the way that they should be, that they are not the totality of a person,” Uzo Aduba, who voices Alisha, said during an interview with USA Today.
“It's addressed with the same simplicity as we address any type of love, and I think that's the way it should be," the actress concluded.
Lightyear director Angus MacLane said that the kiss was originally cut at the request of Disney executives during the animation process.
“Basically the montage was the same,” producer Galyn Susman told USA Today. “The (queer) representation and Alisha in a relationship and all of that was there. We took out the kiss because we were asked to and we replaced it with, as Angus puts it, ‘the awkward handhold.'"
Clearly, Disney was worried about the potential for some sort of backlash, but in the year 2022, it's outrageous that people can still be upset about a same-sex kiss in a children's movie.