Disney Cast Its First-Ever Trans Actress In A Lucasfilm Series

By Nathan Kamal | 1 month ago

willow sequel series

Walt Disney Studios has made another small piece of history: they have cast their first openly trans actress in a Lucasfilm series. Since Disney is a vast and multi-tiered company with distinct branches that operate essentially independently, there have been some openly trans people cast in series before (which we will get into), but this is a first for their Lucasfilm division. Talisa Garcia, a Chilean-born English actress, has been cast in the upcoming revival series of the 1980s cult fantasy film Willow. The series has been filming in Wales (coincidentally where Garcia was raised) since autumn of 2021 and is reportedly in post-production at this point. It is currently scheduled to be released in 2022 on the streaming platform Disney+. 

Talisa Garcia disney
Talisa Garcia in Baptiste

Prior to her casting in Willow, Talisa Garcia was best known for the recurring role of Kim Vogel on the British thriller drama Baptiste (itself a spinoff of The Missing), as well as the Spanish police soap opera drama Servir y proteger. This will be her highest-profile role yet, as she is credited as appearing in all eight episodes of the upcoming show; Disney+ is rapidly growing into one of the most popular streaming platforms in the world. Their constantly growing catalog of new content along with their vast library of Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars content (and of course, the nerd stuff like animal documentaries) is bringing in new subscribers at a rate that even outmatched the previously dominant Netflix in the last quarter of 2021. 

Talisa Garcia is the first openly trans actress in the Lucasfilm branch of Disney, which is to say the properties bought from founder George Lucas in 2012. While that most notably consisted of the vastly profitable Star Wars franchise, it also included Indiana Jones, Willow, and of course, Howard the Duck. Prior to this, trans actress Patti Harrison was a voice actor in 2021’s Raya And The Last Dragon (marking a first for Disney animated films), while Zach Barack was the first openly trans actor in a Marvel Studios production with 2019’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. And in the 20th Century Fox branch, non-binary trans actor iris menas was in the recent Steven Spielberg remake of the musical West Side Story

Given that the Willow spinoff show (which is also to simply be called Willow) is done with production, it is safe to assume that Talisa Garcia was cast some months ago. That is notable, as Disney has been criticized recently due to taking no public stance on Florida’s House Bill 1557 (also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill); the backlash to their perceived unwillingness to speak out against a bill widely criticized as allegedly deliberately designed to discriminate against LGBTQIA+ individuals was swift and severe, eventually leading to employee walkouts around the country. After eventually publicly denouncing the bill, Disney was then criticized by conservative elements. Recently, Disney also stated an intention to widely expand their roster of LGBTQIA+ characters as quickly as possible, but it does not appear that Talisa Garcia’s casting is part of that.