It appears Disney fans are not happy with the latest casting choice from Disney… again. Just yesterday, the Walt Disney Company shared the first trailer for the upcoming live-action adaptation of Peter Pan, the 1953 animated fan-favorite based on the classic children’s story “Peter Pan” by J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan & Wendy. While many fans were thrilled to note their favorite characters come to life in this new way and were hit with bouts of nostalgia, many took issue with one particular decision made by Disney—the one to cast Black-ish actress Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell.
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In 2020, it was announced that Yara Shahidi, a Black actress, would be playing Tinker Bell in an upcoming live-action adaptation of “Peter Pan and Wendy” for Disney. While many fans were excited about the news, some fans criticized Disney for casting a person of color as Tinker Bell, recalling that the original animated character was white with blonde hair.
While the choice to cast Shahidi in the role of Tinker Bell seems to be in good faith on the part of the Mouse House to include more diverse casting, it appears not all fans are pleased with this choice. Some continue to criticize the Mouse House for unnecessarily pandering to “woke ideals.”
One fan shared:
So instead of giving poc their own movies or making new movies with poc characters, they decided to just make white characters black for some reason to be like heey we are so accepting we support everyone.. this is so weird, other then princess and the frog there isnt any other
— Flo💬 (@scarletWitch729) February 28, 2023
Another user also expressed frustration, but in a slightly different vein, when they shared that Disney wasn’t considering enough ethnicities and races:
ngl i’ve been seeing a lot of race swapping white characters to black but how come we never see them swap them to an asian character or a middle eastern one? a latin one or polynesian ?? like it’s not just white or black 💀
— papi (@marvelsmoon) February 28, 2023
While this criticism has been levied at the Mouse House, others have praised it as a positive step toward diversity and representation in Hollywood. Many fans pointed out that Tinker Bell is fictional and doesn’t necessarily have to be of any particular race or ethnicity. Much of this backlash comes after similar commentary that the Walt Disney Company saw when it cast Halle Bailey as Ariel in the upcoming feature, the Little Mermaid.
Related: OpEd: ‘Little Mermaid’ will be Amazing, But ‘Diversity’ Talk is Ruining It!
Peter Pan & Wendy will see Yara Shahidi playing Tinker Bell, the iconic fairy who serves as Peter Pan’s companion and guide in Neverland. Others in the cast include Jude Law as Captain Hook, Ever Anderson as Wendy Darling, and Alexander Molony as Peter Pan. It’s directed by David Lowery, the man behind Pete’s Dragon.