Yara Shahidi Was Cast as Tinker Bell in the New "Peter Pan" Live-Action Movie

Elena Nicolaou
·5 mins read
Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

From Oprah Magazine

  • The animated 1953 Disney classic Peter Pan is being turned into a live-action movie.

  • Peter Pan & Wendy's cast has been announced, with Yara Shahidi set to play Tinker Bell and Alyssa Wapanatâhk to play Tiger Lily.

  • Here's what we know about the upcoming Peter Pan movie—including when to expect it, despite coronavirus-related delays.

Peter Pan & Wendy, Disney's upcoming live-action adaptation of J.M. Barrie's novel Peter Pan, will take you to Neverland—no pixie dust necessary. Peter Pan joins The Little Mermaid, Hercules, and Mulan in the club of Disney classics to be given the live-action reboot treatment, reintroducing audiences to beloved tales.

These remakes have the opportunity to be more inclusive than the classics. Case in point? In the upcoming Little Mermaid and Peter Pan live-action versions, Black women have been cast to play characters originally portrayed as white. Halle Bailey of the music group Chloe x Halle was cast to play Ariel in The Little Mermaid, and Yara Shahidi of Black-ish will don Tinker Bell's wings. (Coincidentally, both Bailey and Shahidi co-star in the college sitcom Grown-ish).

"I’m excited for this next adventure!" Shahidi wrote on Instagram, alongside a fan's reimagining of her in the role. "Thank you for all of the love. It, truly, means so much to me."

Shahidi is just the start of Peter Pan's star-studded cast. David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon) is on board to direct the movie, with Toby Halbrooks, who also wrote Pete's Dragon, writing and Jude Law playing Captain Hook. Here's what you need to know about the upcoming movie including when it will likely premiere.

Don't expect Peter Pan & Wendy to come out anytime soon.

Yes, the movie is coming. No, we don't know when. Peter Pan & Wendy was initially meant to film in Vancouver in 2020, and hit theaters in 2021. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, filming has been delayed a year. If all goes to plan, Peter Pan & Wendy will arrive in 2022—but for now, everything is as up in the air as Peter Pan himself.

Peter Pan and Wendy will be played by Hollywood newcomers.

Enter: Ever Anderson and Alexander Molony, pop culture's latest Wendy and Peter. Anderson, 12, is the daughter of the actress Milla Jovovich and the British director Paul W.S. Anderson. The English actress has appeared in Resident Evil movies alongside her mother, and will reportedly play a young Natasha Romanoff in the upcoming Black Widow movie.

Molony, also 12, will make his big-screen debut as the boy who never grew up. The London native previously appeared in Sky One’s The Reluctant Landlord.

Yara Shahidi's casting as Tinkerbell is already inspiring fan art.

Yara Shahidi is a 20-year-old actress best known for playing Zoey Johnson on the sitcom Black-ish and its spin-off series Grown-ish. News of her casting as the famous fairy has already inspired fan art, celebrating the first Black Tinkerbell.

Candian actress Alyssa Wapanatâhk will play Tiger Lily.

Peter Pan has long been criticized for its characterization of Tiger Lily and the Native American tribe of Neverland. In fact, Disney+ recently added a content advisory to the animated Peter Pan, due to that film’s racist imagery.

It's not clear how the new Peter Pan will approach this aspect of the story—though it definitely will be included. Tiger Lily will be played by Native American actress Alyssa Wapanatâhk, The Wrap reports. She is a member of Cree First Nation, and changed her name from Alyssa Alook to Alyssa Wapanatâhk not long before the casting announcement, per her Instagram.

Jude Law will play the notorious Captain Hook.

Many an A-List actor has donned the feathered hat of the iconic pirate villain, Captain Hook—and Jude Law is the latest. Dustin Hoffman, Jason Isaacs, and Tom Hiddleston have previously portrayed the pirate.

Photo credit: Getty/Disney
Photo credit: Getty/Disney

This is hardly the first live-action take on Peter Pan.

Peter Pan has had multiple live-action movies and spin-offs—including a movie about the making of Peter Pan, called Finding Neverland. The classic novel was first adapted into a silent film in 1924, available to watch in full on YouTube.

Many of these movies that came afterward offer a reimagining of Barrie's novel. There was the 1960 TV special featuring Mary Martin. Steven Spielberg's hit movie Hook came out in 1991, and follows a grown-up Lost Boy returning to Neverland. Pan, out in 2015, offers an origin story for how Peter, a London orphan, ended up in Neverland. Wendy, released in 2020, imagines if Wendy was a girl in rural Louisiana.

The upcoming Peter Pan & Wendy will likely be most similar to the 2003 movie Peter Pan, not made by Disney, in that it's expected to stick to the book.

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