‘Little Mermaid’ Round Two? Disney’s Casting Decision Sparks Outrage

yara shahidi tinker bell
Credit: Disney

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.

peter pan wendy trailer

Related: Disney Just Dropped a New Trailer For the Live-Action Remake of This Classic Movie

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.

yara shahidi tinker bell peter pan wendy

Yara Shahidi plays Tinker Bell in the upcoming feature Peter Pan & Wendy/ Courtesy of Jacopo Raule/WireImage / Walt Disney Productions

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:

Another user also expressed frustration, but in a slightly different vein, when they shared that Disney wasn’t considering enough ethnicities and races:

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.


Halle Bailey plays Ariel, the little mermaid, in the upcoming live-action adaptation of the 1989 film/Courtesy of Disney

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.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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