Jack Whitehall’s unequivocally gay MacGregor on Jungle Cruise represents a positive change for Disney.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Jungle Cruise, now available in theaters and on Disney + Premier access.

Jungle cruise focuses primarily on the quest to find the Tree of Life and the healing flowers it produces. While most of the plot is devoted to the race for these Tears of the Moon, there is a moment of quiet character development that sets the fantasy adventure apart from Disney’s other recent live-action film – The Reluctant Explorer. Jack Whitehall’s MacGregor reveals Dwayne Johnson’s Captain Frank Wolff. what is gay.

He doesn’t use those words, of course. Jungle cruise It is set in 1916, but the meaning is clear. And while MacGregor is not the first LGBT character to appear in a Disney movie, he is the most prominent so far.

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MacGregor Disney Jungle Cruise 1

MacGregor is the younger brother of Lily (Emily Blunt), the robust botanist and explorer at the center of Jungle cruise. While full of curiosity and ambition to see the world, MacGregor quickly establishes himself as someone who prefers the finer things in life. He wears impeccable white suits and complains loudly when Frank refuses to carry his excess luggage aboard his ship. However, MacGregor also proves to have a strong arm and unwavering devotion to his sister because, as he explains to Frank, she supported him when others rejected him.

That is the reason why MacGregor risks comfort and safety, as he refuses to abandon Lily, even as she plunges headlong into danger. There is a noticeable change in MacGregor after he trusts Frank; He is more confident in himself and is actively involved in the fight against the German aristocrat Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons), who is also looking for the Tree of Life. McGregor even ends Jungle cruise loudly defending his sister’s appointment to Cambridge and poking fun at the adventurer society that earlier dismissed his quest.

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Jack Whitehall and Dwayne Johnson on Jungle Cruise

Recent attempts by Disney to portray LGBT in live-action films have received largely criticism. From the fleeting kiss in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and LeFou’s ambiguity in Beauty and the Beast for the unnamed “Afflicted Man” in Avengers Endgame to the queer but not openly gay encoded Artie in CruellaEach announced “milestone” has been met with disappointment and rejection by LGBT audiences.

However, MacGregor is notable because he talks openly about his sexuality, even if the word “gay” is never uttered, and that it can be seen as part of, but not all, of his character arc. Gain more confidence throughout the movie, especially after being open with Frank. That is not to say that MacGregor’s characterization is not based on stereotypes; he is described as a mannered man who desires fine clothing, food, and wine. So there is still work to be done.

But it’s a little A step up for Disney, and an indication that there is room in the studio’s big-budget films for openly LGBT characters to be central to the plot, and not merely ambiguous or peripheral.

Based on the classic Disney Parks attraction of the same name, the Jungle Cruise is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and is now in theaters and on Disney + Premier Access.

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