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Hawaiian Locals Share a First Look at the ‘Lilo & Stitch’ Live-Action Remake Set

liloandstitch
Credit: Disney

On the beach near the Hale Koa Hotel, Disney fans reeled in an unexpected glimpse of Disney’s latest live-action remake: Lilo & Stitch. Newcomer Maia Kealoha, the star playing Lilo, was seen gallivanting on the beach, with speculation that her on-screen sister, Nani (Sydney Agudong), was also onsite.

Lilo and Stitch Remake Disney+

Credit: Disney

Related: Something’s Fishy: Twitter Reacts to the Latest Clip From ‘The Little Mermaid’ Live-Action Remake

No sign of alien life, i.e., Stitch, was reported by onlookers, but this was the first look at the beloved film’s star, Lilo. The 2002 film of the same name made a splash with Disney fans when they were introduced to a tiny, blue, disgruntled alien hiding from an intergalactic witch hunt.

When Stitch lands on Kauai, a native Hawaiian, Lilo Pelekai (Maia Kealoha), takes the alien under her wing. Their friendship is a (Hawaiian) roller coaster ride of ups and downs before Stitch learns the true meaning of Ohana: family.

On Twitter, @reelnewshawaii and @hawai_iisla808 posted a taste of what fans can expect Kealoha, the live-action Lilo, to bring to the reimagined classic. The tweet from @hawaii_isla008 shows Kealoha wearing goggles as she steps from the ocean to the beach.

In the post from @reelnewshawaii, there was speculation that this remake won’t reflect the same scenes fans came to adore from the original:

Found an interesting video of “Lilo and Stitch” filming. -Director Dean Fleischer Camp (Aloha shirt and Jeans) -“The Ice Cream Guy” in a black tank top???? -Some big black thing “Climbing” down the tree. So far this movie isn’t looking like a shot for shot remake of the cartoon.

 

Another Controversial Live-Action Remake

This initial window into the Lilo & Stitch live remake could add fuel to the fire already surrounding the highly-anticipated film. The reimagined Disney classic joins The Little Mermaid in modernizing Disney favorites with CGI animation—and in a racial controversy.

The casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid live remake was met with backlash from the public, protesting how Halle didn’t reflect the original Ariel’s appearance. As the Lilo & Stitch remake’s cast has been announced, critics have shared similar criticisms—this time for the stars’ skin tones being lighter than the original animated characters.

Lin Manuel-Miranda on producing 'Little Mermaid'

Credit: Disney

Related: “I Wanted Nani To Look Like Me”: Fans Call Out Disney for ‘Whitewashing’ Lilo & Stitch Character

The cast features Kealoha as Lilo, Sydney Agudong as Nani, the original film’s Chris Sanders behind the voice of Stitch, Zach Galifianakis voicing mad scientist Dr. Jumba Jookiba, Billy Magnussen portraying United Galactic Federation’s Agent Pleakley, and Kaipo Dudoit replacing originally-cast Kahiau Machado as David Kawena.

Adding to the racial discrepancies were past social media posts from Machado, and Disney parted ways with the actor after uncovering them during its vetting process.

Since Disney’s live remake train took off with Alice in Wonderland in 2010, the subsequent films—Maleficent, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Lion King, Jungle Book, The Lady and the Tramp, Cruella, Aladdin, Mulan, Cruella, and The Little Mermaid, among others—have all received similar criticism. It’s been debated whether or not the nostalgic characters of the past translate to their modernized counterparts on screen.

It remains to be seen whether or not Lilo & Stitch delivers what fans are looking for in the live remake, but we won’t see more than this first look until at least Summer 2024.

About Kaitlin Morelli

A Disney World Guest since before she could walk, Kaitlin is a Jersey girl and former Virginia Tech Hokie. When she's not listening to the 'Moana' soundtrack on repeat with her baby daughter, she's writing, singing, and strumming the ukulele. Kaitlin is passionate about finding the best Disney Park tips n' tricks and moments when pop culture and Disney collide. She's looking forward to eventually taking her first Disney trip with her favorite fan in the making: her daughter.

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