Disney introduces first openly gay teenage character in Strange World: What we know so far

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21 Nov 2022, 12:37

Strange World's Ethan Clade

Credit: Disney

We now know even more about Disney’s first ever openly gay teen character, and their romance, in the upcoming animated adventure - Strange World. 

Strange World, which stars the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Gabrielle Union and Dennis Quaid as part of the Clade family of legendary explorers. 

According to Disney, Strange World will journey “deep into an uncharted and treacherous land where fantastical creatures await the legendary Clades, a family of explorers whose differences threaten to topple their latest—and by far— most crucial mission.”

The very first peek at Strange World and the character of Ethan Clade was released in June at France’s Annecy Animation Festival, and it showed the fledgling romance between Clade, played by Jaboukie Young-White and his school crush, Diazo. 

Ethan, the 16-year-old son of Searcher Clade (Gyllenhaal), who wants to live life away from his father’s farm and go out into the world on his own. 

Speaking to Yahoo Entertainment about the role, Jaboukie said he was grateful a film like Strange World can be made today after growing up with limited LGBTQ+ representation on screen. 

He said: “I thought that was pretty cool. It was a beautiful thing to be a part of, and something I wish I could have seen when I was that age.”

The story isn’t focused on Ethan’s coming out as his family already accepts his sexuality, which Jaboukie admires. 

“It's not him looking for acceptance of his identity,” he added.

"That's just who he is, and it's not underlined or made to be a big deal. It's an aspect of Ethan and one of the many things that makes him who he is. I thought that was amazing."

Meanwhile, co-star Jake recently revealed how much of an impact the animated adventure has had on him. 

He told Entertainment Tonight that the film has changed the way he regards fatherhood, explaining: “That’s what moved me so much about it when I heard the pitch for the first time, it just hit straight home — all the complications we have in communicating to the different generations of our family.”

He added, “Ultimately, the thing that I love about this film, is that the youngest generation is the one that helps bridge the gap between all of them, and the idea that it’s family first, it starts in your family."

Strange World hits cinemas on 23rd November.