Disney has done it again. I forgive them for a lot of things, either out of nostalgic fondness or because I believe that their mistakes reflect broader problems with the entertainment industry. However, there is one thing which I look at and can only think, “Yeah, you messed up”, and that is The Owl House (TOH).

I would argue that TOH (along with Amphibia) represents the proud legacy of Gravity Falls (GF) — both shows are created by veteran GF story boarders and feature the same fantastical vibes and wacky sense of humour, while still being exceptional in their own way. TOH, created by Dana Terrace, is about fourteen-year-old Luz Noceda, a quirky fantasy fangirl who stumbles upon a door to a magical otherworld, where she moves in with a sassy, forty-something witch called Eda and a dog-like demon called King (voiced by Alex Hirsch, the creator of GF). The show follows Luz’s adventures as she learns magic, forms meaningful friendships, and experiences first love.

TOH is engaging and funny, cleverly satirising and reimagining every trope associated with otherworlds, witches, and schools of magic. The main trio — Luz, Eda, and King — are a near-flawless set of characters. Luz is bisexual, to correspond with Terrace’s sexuality, and Dominican American at the request of Terrace’s roommate, who is the namesake of the character, as well as a story artist and consultant for the show. Luz has boundless energy but cares deeply and overcomes self-doubt time and time again. Eda is a self-identified rule-breaker who grows from a reluctant hostess into a surrogate parent. King has his own character arc, but I believe his sarcasm and ironically macabre sense of humour made him perfect from the first episode.

In addition to Luz, TOH includes much more positive representation for queer individuals and people of colour through other characters in principal roles. The show dismantles stereotypes regarding the idea that queerness is portrayed as necessarily mature content in media, or just a trend among young people. For example, the main relationship is an innocent romance between two fourteen-year-old girls. An older (mid-forties) non-binary character also appears in the show. Additionally, I noticed a meta-narrative about the importance of young people seeing themselves in the media: Luz’s constant fangirling is mostly dedicated to the fictional “Good Witch Azura” series, the eponymous main character of which is a queer person of colour.

Finally, this show lays claim to what is, in my opinion, one of the greatest moments in the history of television:


TOH finished its first season with triumph and the second season was going strong with an already confirmed third on the horizon. Until Disney announced that the third season would be the last, and instead of a full twenty episodes like the first two seasons, it would be made up of three 45-minute specials. When asked why this happened, Terrace responded in a Reddit post that she was told by the execs at Disney that TOH “didn’t fit the Disney brand”.

You can imagine the fan response to that.

Disney continuously only dips their toes in when it comes to LGBTQ+ stories instead of really committing, typically in the form of a side character who is never in a relationship for the duration of a film. When I first saw TOH, I thought they were finally moving past this and investing in decent representation. In contrast, Amphibia, unlike TOH, got a full third season. These two shows have a lot in common: both focus on an awkward teenage girl who finds herself in a magical otherworld and forms a found family. However, it’s worth noting that Amphibia’s canonically queer characters were not confirmed to be so until late in the final season, and they are not the protagonists.

But let’s say you believe that Disney did genuinely cancel TOH because of branding issues which had nothing to do with its gay and genderqueer characters. Terrace defended Disney on this front, saying that she would not “assume bad faith against the people she works with in LA”. However, I thought that Disney realised the significance of TOH. If the corporate world was continuing to prevent them from having genuine queer representation in their blockbusters, they could at least have this for those to whom it would mean something. What TOH was doing was important enough to keep it on the air even if it was a little “off brand”, and I thought Disney was proud enough of the show to fight for it. I guess not.

When discussing the show’s cancellation, Terrace expressed her frustration and revealed that she was hoping for four or more seasons of TOH. It’s also obvious based on the first two episodes of Season 3 that she had envisioned much more of it. The opening for Episode 1 is a montage of the characters’ activities over a few months, which were clearly meant to be many adventure-of-the-week stories. There are references in Episode 2 to events that happened off-screen which probably included an extensive conversation or an elaborate fight sequence.

Luz is equally frustrated:


My fantasy is that the fans will start a GoFundMe page to raise money for Terrace to start her own animation studio (which will be called Lumity Studios — watch the show and you will know why). Then Terrace and her colleagues can produce the “lost episodes” of Season 3. The third episode of Season 3 of TOH, titled “Watching and Dreaming”, airs on 8 April. I refuse to call this episode the series finale as I hope that someday Terrace will get the appreciation she deserves, and The Owl House will return.