N.D. Stevenson, known for Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and the Lumberjanes comic book series, is a beloved creator for various reasons, but one of the biggest is due to the powerful LGBTQ+ themes and representation in their work. Naturally fans were excited when an animated adaptation of Stevenson’s graphic novel Nimona was announced to be coming from Blue Sky Studios — and then crushed when Disney cancelled the project.
We’re now getting a clearer picture of why the project was nixed, and it seems to be due to its prominent use of queer characters. Business Insider spoke to former Blue Sky employees — Disney closed down the studio after 34 years once they acquired it from 20th Century Fox — and revealed that the studio “took issue” with many of Nimona‘s LGBTQ+ elements, including a planned same-sex kiss.
According to BI’s anonymous sources, Disney’s disapproval was made clear during a mid-2020 meeting between the leadership teams. Blue Sky is said to have “felt enough pressure” on them from the studio to remove the kiss from further pitch presentations. That said, they were still hopeful that they would able to feature the moment in the finished film. Disney did not respond to the outlet’s request for a comment on these allegations.
Nimona, set in a futuristic/medieval fantasy world, follows a non-binary shapeshifter who becomes the apprentice of supervillain Ballister Blackheart and aids him in his quests to defeat his nemesis, hero Ambrosius Goldenloin — but the enemies’ bitter rivalry may bely a romantic tension. The movie was in development for six years under Fox before Disney ultimately pulled the plug last February. Chloe Grace Moretz and Riz Ahmed were reportedly attached to star.
This disappointing Nimona news comes at a time when Disney’s attitudes towards queer representation are coming under the microscope due to CEO Bob Chapek’s initial failure to denounce Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. On a lighter note, if you haven’t checked out Stevenson’s delightful Book of Boba Fett webcomics, do yourself a favor and fix that right now.