The actress and screenwriter plays a Officer Specter, a cyclops police officer, in Disney Pixar's new animation film Onward. The boys (voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) go in search of the lost magic in the film, which also features the voices of Julia Louis Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer and Lena Waithe. They promise that the character is "treated nearly naturally in the film" and they say that "it is a world of modern fantasy and we want to represent the modern world".
Onward is out in theaters March 6. Check out the trailer below.
LGBT+ kids tucking into popcorn and sipping sodas in cinemas might look up and, for the first time in a Disney film, see a character just like them.
Specter appears in one scene of the film as a cop who catches up to the boys.
Waithe's character is major enough to grace a character poster (alongside two other characters) but her line doesn't seem substantial enough to make an impact on the rest of the movie at all.
Slate notes that when Specter and another officer pull over a distracted driver, Specter sympathizes, saying, "My girlfriend's daughter got me pulling my hair out".
The inclusion of minor LGBTQ+ characters is a step forward for Disney, but many people are still hoping for a queer protagonist. And many viewers have speculated that certain characters in Disney movies, such as Elsa from Frozen and Li Shang from Mulan, were secretly gay or bisexual, and such noting perceived subtext in the relationship between Gaston and Le Fou in the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast.
The role is another history-making moment in Waithe's career.
And previous year fans thought they spotted a same-sex couple in Toy Story 4 when two women drop a young girl at school.
The director Dan Scanlon, who previously directed Monsters University, added: "It's a modern fantasy world and we want to represent the modern world".
Disney plans to continue showing LGTBQ characters on screen with their upcoming blockbuster The Eternals, that will feature Marvel's first on-screen same-sex couple and first same-sex kiss.