As if a genre-blending storyline and inventive animation weren’t enough, “Nimona” is a work that’s queer to its core, coming from queer creators and dealing with themes of identity in addition to explicitly queer relationships. One would think Disney might’ve liked to have had such an LGBTQ+-friendly movie on its release slate last year when word got out about the company’s contributions to Florida Republicans’ despicable HB 1557, a.k.a. the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. By then, though, the House of Mouse had not only shuttered Blue Sky, the word on the grapevine was that it had already asked the studio to cut a scene featuring a same-sex kiss from “Nimona” before dropping the movie entirely.
As it were, Disney’s loss is Netflix’s gain, and “Nimona” itself couldn’t be arriving at a more timely moment, what with school teachers in Florida now being investigated simply for showing their students animated films (ones from Disney, no less!) that feature openly queer characters. The movie also boasts an admirably diverse supporting cast, with Eugene Lee Yang, RuPaul Charles, Frances Conroy, Lorraine Toussaint, and Indya Moore lending their voices along with “Saturday Night Live” trio Julio Torres, Sarah Sherman, and Beck Bennett.
The film’s official synopsis reads as follows:
“A knight is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and the only person who can help him prove his innocence is Nimona, a shape-shifting teen who might also be a monster he’s sworn to kill. Set in a techno-medieval world unlike anything animation has tackled before, this is a story about the labels we assign to people and the shapeshifter who refuses to be defined by anyone.”
“Nimona” is set to premiere at the Annecy Animation Film Festival on June 14, 2023, and release on streaming the same month.