Disney is one of the most beloved entertainment brands in the world and has made several large acquisitions to fuel their IP library; Disney+ even has a “Celebrate Black Stories Collection”, so I have to ask Will Disney Ever Do A Celebrate Disabled Stories Collection? Let’s get into it.
A Big Issue:
Before we start discussing movies and series Disney could add into a Disney+ Disabled Stories Collection, I first need to acknowledge my disgust with the five big studios. In 2016 Disney, alongside fellow film studios Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures, won a lawsuit that had been filed against the studios by the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard Of Hearing. What did the studios win? The studios won the right to ignore subtitling songs in musical movies if they chose not to. This, in my opinion, is a disgusting abuse of power and must be fixed. Anyways back to discussing content, they can add into a Disney+ Collection.
What Content Could They Add?
Obviously, depending on what country you live in depends on what content about people with disabilities is available to you, so we’ll go off of what’s rated PG-13 or lower. Obviously, Disney+ has created the originals Marvel’s Hero Project, which follows the story of several people with disabilities in the 20 episodes And there are also a couple Pixar Sparkshorts including Loop, which follows the friendship of a boy and a mute autistic girl, along with Float, which also covers autism and the issues a parent.
Outside of those Disney+ Originals, Disney also owns family-friendly content like the 2003 Daredevil movie, the 2010 and 2013 Percy Jackson movies, Amy, Heidi and Mr Holland’s Opus, which all include disabled characters in rather major roles compared to other films, (note: not all of these films are available on Disney+ in all countries). Technically we can also include the X-Men movies where Patrick Stewart’s Professor Charles Xavier plays a major role.
Disney has also done episodes of shows like Fancy Nancy, which introduces an autistic character to the world and Raven’s Home had an episode that introduces the character of Isabella, who is in a wheelchair. The episode’s plot is the main characters campaigning to make the building wheelchair accessible. Disney also owns the series Glee which is available on Disney+ in Latin America (which doesn’t have the Star brand within it), and Glee features a character in a wheelchair.
The biggest issue with disability representation is most of the time. They cast actors/actresses that are well-bodied and neurotypical, meaning they haven’t had to live with a disability. Think about it this way, would it cost Disney any more money to make Disney Channel or Disney+ shows with more disabled characters who are played by actors/actresses with those same disabilities? I don’t think it would.
Disney is always remaking and reviving old TV shows and movies but adding more female characters, LGBTQ+ characters and POC characters, but what about all of us who grew up with disabilities who don’t get much acknowledgement from the major entertainment companies? We rarely even get a character to represent us.
Disney has several shows coming up (including shows in the MCU) which will focus on characters with disabilities which include Moon Knight (Schizorpenia) and Echo (Deaf), as well as other shows like Percy Jackson the series (Dyslexia) and the original movie Song For A Whale (Deaf).
I feel like Disney needs to lead by example and not only create more content focused on people with disabilities and representing people with disabilities fairly, but Disney should also give us a collection on Disney+ so people with disabilities (like me) can find a curated collection of TV shows/episodes and movies focusing on stories about those with disabilities.
What Do You Think? Should Disney Add A Celebrate Disabled Stories Collection?