Spoiler warning: this review discusses all seasons of The Owl House.
Is anybody else waiting on the highly anticipated third season of Gravity Falls? Me too. To fill the void that Dipper and Mabel left, The Owl House is perfect for disgusting monsters and magic, as well as a strong LGBTQ2S+ representation that goes beyond supporting characters.
The Owl House follows Luz Noceda (Sarah-Nicole Robles), a fictional Dominican-American teen who wanders through a portal into a world of magic, while her mother thinks she is at a juvenile detention camp. In this new world, the notorious witch Eda Clawthorne (Wendie Malick) takes Luz under her wing at Hexside School of Magic and Demonics, allowing Luz to fulfil her dream of becoming a witch.
Despite the show’s popularity, Disney abruptly cancelled it, announcing in May 2021 that season three will wrap up the series in three specials instead of the regular 20 episodes. The show’s creator Dana Terrance, who previously worked on Gravity Falls, has voiced that she is not happy about the sudden discontinuation. Terrance explained that she did not even get a chance to fight for a fourth season. “Anyway, be gay do witchcraft,” she tweeted.
The main controversy the show raises is its feature of a female pairing, a femslash relationship, between Luz and young witch, Amity Blight (Mae Whitman). Throughout the first season, Amity undergoes major character development, starting as Luz’s rival and the popular bad girl, only to become a dork who has the same favourite book series as Luz and noticeably blushes whenever she is around.
Terrance believes the series was not cancelled due to budget or bad ratings, but because of the LGBTQ2S+ content that “didn’t fit [the Disney] brand.” She also confirms they had problems airing the show in some countries and that the series is fully banned in others for its content.
Amity identifies as a lesbian, while Luz is bisexual and based on Terrance’s own bisexual experience. Season two also introduces Disney’s first explicitly non-binary character, Raine Whispers, who is voiced by non-binary actor and voice artist Avi Roque. Raine avidly uses they/them pronouns throughout the series, and they quickly become a main character in the show as Eda’s love interest and Head Witch of the Bard Coven—a coven that practices casting spells through music.
Many people praise Disney for having a lot of queer “firsts,” like the same-sex couple seen briefly in Finding Dory and LeFou’s “exclusively gay moment” in the 2017 live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, but it is important to see representation of the LGBTQ2S+ community as more than just glimpses of background characters.
Queerbaiting is a marketing technique in which creators hint at a same-sex relationship without ever depicting one. A popular example of this is Dean and Castiel from Supernatural, who dragged viewers through 11 seasons of hinting at a romantic attraction between the two men. This is not the case with The Owl House.
In season one, Amity tries to face her fear of asking Luz to “Grom”—a twisted version of Hexside’s prom—and early on in season two, Luz asks Amity to be her girlfriend. “When I was first developing Owl House I always wanted to do a prom episode to make up for my own experiences,” Terrance tweeted. Amity then parades around the rest of the season proudly claiming she is “Luz’s girlfriend.”
The Owl House received massive praise for its LGBTQ2S+ representation within the series. Hopefully, Disney will acknowledge what a significant show this is for the Queer community. Empowering Terrance and other creators to continue channelling their personal experiences into their work allows The Owl House and future shows to normalize queer representation for youth on television.
Staff Writer (Volume 48) — Lexey is in her third year as an English Specialisation and Professional Writing minor. She previously was Editor-In-Chief of Laurentian’s student newspaper The Lambda and is currently the UTM Bureau Chief for The Varsity after transferring. When she’s not writing articles, she’s most likely studying in a cafe or hitting the slopes. You can connect with Lexey on Instagram and Twitter.