Will 'Heartstopper' Star Joe Locke be the 'First Gay Disney Prince?'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday May 15, 2022
Originally published on May 9, 2022

Joe Locke
Joe Locke  (Source:Joe Locke/Twitter)

Could Joe Locke one day play a gay Disney prince? The 18-year-old star of the hit Netflix series "Heartstopper" says it's an ambition. Are you listening, House of Mouse?

Locke gave voice to his dream during an interview with UK newspaper the Independent, which noted that "Heartstopper" — about a high school romance between an openly gay teen and a popular athlete just starting to figure out his sexuality — has "been dubbed the 'anti-Euphoria,' swapping drugs and sex for milkshakes and snow angels."

Locke addressed this aspect of the series, telling the Independent that "Our story is not so based on sex, because our characters are turning 15 and 16 in the series, so it's more about relationships and love."

Viewers have responded, making the show a breakout hit from day one and making Locke, along with his castmates, stars. As People Magazine noted, "Since premiering last month on Netflix, 'Heartstopper' has held a rare 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes."

Locke put his finger on why.

"It shows the really nice things about being queer," he told the newspaper. "I think a lot of queer people growing up feel like they don't deserve love, because they don't have access to the same dating pool or support as straight people do. And so 'Heartstopper' is so lovely in that it gives that to queer characters."

People Magazine, reporting on the story, zeroed in on one of Locke's most intriguing comments. "I would love to play the first gay Disney prince," Locke told the Independent. "That would be a dream."

After the Independent published the interview, Locke doubled down with a tweet.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.