Nimona was one of the animated graphic novel adaptations we were looking forward to the most in the coming years. Based on the book by Noelle Stevenson, it told the tale of the gender-nonconforming shapeshifter Nimona and Lord Ballister Blackheart, a supposed villain whose heart is purer than his name would indicate. And, as it turns out, labels are too confining for both characters.
The film was in production at Blue Sky Studio, which was, until recently, a part of Disney’s 20th Century Studios. Sadly, the Mouse pulled the plug on Blue Sky last month and shuttered work on Nimona just ten months short of completion. But, it seems, there may yet be hope. Collider reports the film — which was set to feature the voices of Chloë Grace Moretz as the title character and Riz Ahmed as Blackheart — has been “shopped to buyers with the hope of finding it a new home.” Although no one Blue Sky has talked to has shown interest, the former animation unit will continue to explore options for the film as it winds down its business. The site also reaffirmed the project is 75% complete.
It leaves us hoping a buyer will be found as that is too far along in production to just abandon it.
Of course, there is still the lingering question as to why Disney looked at the work and said “no.” Collider’s prominent mention of the film featuring a same-sex kiss may be a reason. Although, the site was quick to mention there is no clear connection between the film’s subject matter and the decision to cancel the project. As a company, Disney has a very split personality in regards to LGBTQIA issues; being one of the first multinational corporations to offer benefits to same-sex partners while still being incredibly shy about featuring gay characters in Disney branded material. To a certain extent, it is the legacy of Walt Disney, who chose not to renew Tommy Kirk‘s contract when he learned of the actor’s orientation. It is also, of course, tied to Disney’s investors, the strides still needed for LGBTQIA folks in certain foreign markets, and those markets’ willingness to see those folks represented in film.
Perhaps that bottom-line thinking was the ultimate deciding factor. If Nimona could not be sold to certain territories because of a single same-sex kiss, it could not recoup its costs. Also, because it was a Blue Sky feature, its transmedia and merchandising prospects were not as clear as, say, Disney’s upcoming Raya and the Last Dragon. Not that the ledger is a defense of the decision — we clearly want Nimona to happen — but a sad reminder of just how far we still need to go. Although, Collider also notes a same-sex kiss will occur in Marvel Studios’ upcoming Eternals.
Hopefully, we will be able to say Nimona is coming to theaters soon.