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‘Lightyear’: Pixar Takes Flight at CinemaCon with First 30 Minutes and Queer Subplot Reveal

Attendees in Las Vegas got a stunning sneak peek at the upcoming Buzz Lightyear movie, which opens June 17.

Lightyear

“Lightyear”

Disney/Pixar

Disney/Pixar premiered the first 30 minutes of “Toy Story” prequel “Lightyear” during Walt Disney Company’s CinemaCon showcase in Las Vegas April 27.

Directed by Angus MacLane, the animated film centers on Space Ranger Buzz (Chris Evans), who sets out to save his fellow astronauts after a year of being stranded on an intergalactic planet. Keke Palmer, Dale Soules, and Taika Waititi voice a group of astronaut recruits, while Uzo Aduba, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez, and Isiah Whitlock Jr. round out the ensemble cast. Peter Sohn also voices an adorable robo-cat named Sox, who is Buzz’s sidekick.

Also notable? The film’s title card doesn’t drop until 10 minutes in.

The film premieres in theaters June 17 and has already made headlines for a same-sex storyline involving Aduba’s character, Hawthorne, and her scientist girlfriend. During the first act of “Lightyear,” IndieWire can confirm that Buzz’s commanding officer Hawthorne proposes to her same-sex partner and the couple welcomes a son together. The two characters share a kiss at their 40th anniversary party, as time doesn’t pass for Buzz Lightyear while he is away in space.

As previously reported, the smooch between Hawthorne and her wife was restored amid backlash to Walt Disney Co. financially backing Florida law “Don’t Say Gay,” which bans discussions of sexuality in primary schools. According to unnamed Pixar sources (via Variety) Hawthorne’s sexuality was never in question, but a kiss between her and her partner was originally cut from the film.

The Walt Disney Co. showcase at CinemaCon included a whopping 70 minutes of never-before-seen footage from upcoming Marvel, Pixar, 20th Century, New Regency, and Light Storm Entertainment projects, including a preview of a mind-bending scene from “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which premieres in theaters May 6 and also features a queer character.

The sequel film starring Benedict Cumberbatch is reportedly banned in select Gulf nations due to lesbian comic book character America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez. Disney allegedly refused to edit 12 seconds out of the film where America Chavez refers to her “two moms.” During the Disney presentation at CinemaCon, attendees got an extended peek at America Chavez. The movie is set to open globally May 2.

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