Disney’s Pixar unveils historic first ever non-binary character


Disney’s Pixar division has introduced its first ever non-binary character – Lake Ripple – in the studio’s latest feature release, Elemental.

In a heart-warming tale of love, duty, family and finding that we have more in common than that which sets us apart, Elemental is set in a city inhabited by water, fire, air and land residents. A “fiery” young woman, Ember, and a more “go-with-the-flow” guy, Wade, “discover something elemental” during the course of the film, according to the official Disney synopsis.

Voice actor Ava Hauser plays Lake Ripple, the historic first non-binary character from the renowned animation studio.

Directed by Peter Sohn and starring Mamoudou Athie (Black Box) as Wade and Leah Lewis (The Half of It) as Ember, the computer-animated comedy-drama is the 27th feature film from by Pixar Animation Studios. It draws on themes of xenophobia and migration, and how love transcends differences.

L-R) Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie attend the World Premiere of Disney and Pixar’s Elemental in Los Angeles, California. (Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

Hauser’s character Lake is Wade’s younger sibling, and although they aren’t a major protagonist in the story, their presence is a major win for non-binary representation.

Disney has taken major strides in terms of diverse representation in recent years, with a same-sex kiss between Lightyear‘s Kiko and Hawthorne in the 2022 sci-fi adventure film, and the studio’s first-ever Black protagonist in 2020’s fantasy jazz-inspired Soul, voiced by Jamie Foxx.

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However, non-binary characters are still in short supply on the big screen, and non-binary actors including Emma Corrin (The Crown), The Last of Us star Bella Ramsey and House of the Dragon‘s Emma D’Arcy have previously spoken out about gendered categories at major Hollywood awards ceremonies.

Hauser took to Twitter on Friday (16 June) to announce their groundbreaking role, writing: “I got to play Pixar’s first non-binary character! Meet Lake!”

Elemental is also the first non-franchise Pixar original feature to be released in theatres rather than straight to Disney+ since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elemental is playing in movie theatres now.

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