Confirmed: Disney Will Remove Offensive Stereotypes In Peter Pan Story

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Native American representation in 'Peter Pan'

Credit: Disney

Next month, Disney will right a 70-year-old wrong in its next adaptation of the Peter Pan story, Peter Pan & Wendy (2023).

Peter Pan with knife in mouth
Credit: Disney

Peter Pan (1953) is perhaps one of Disney’s most beloved stories. The tale of a boy who never grew up and his adventures with the Darling siblings in Never Land has captured audiences for 70 years — even the menacing Captain Hook has stood the test of time as one of the most interesting and enduring Disney Villains.

And seven decades after the original animated film was released, Never Land will once again return to screens in the form of Peter Pan & Wendy, Disney’s latest live-action remake. Starring Alexander Molony as Peter Pan in his feature film debut and Ever Anderson (Black Widow) as Wendy Darling, the new live-action adaptation will release exclusively on Disney+. Jude Law (Fantastic Beasts) appears as the evil pirate Captain Hook, and Yara Shahidi (The Sun Is Also A Star) as Tinker Bell, Peter Pan’s tiny fairy sidekick.

Jude Law as Captain Hook, Peter Pan & Wendy
Credit: Disney

Many fans adore the charming tale of Peter and the Darlings and the fight against pirates in the world of Never Land, but that does not mean Peter Pan hasn’t been the subject of heavy retroactive criticism.

Peter Pan is just one of many animated classics with racist and problematic depictions of people. In the last couple of years, The Walt Disney Company made a more explicit effort to acknowledge its misdeeds by adding content advisory warnings to certain movies like Dumbo (1941), The Aristocats (1970), and Peter Pan. This came after a more subtle approach in 2019.

Now, if someone were to view Peter Pan, for example, on Disney+, they would be met with a warning which reads, in part, that the “program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.” Disney+ goes on to say that rather than remove the content, they intend to use it to ignite conversations of diversity and inclusivity.

Native American representation in 'Peter Pan'
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Now Claims Tinker Bell and Captain Hook Are “Potentially Problematic”

While the animated Disney film retains the negative depictions of Native Americans, the new feature from director David Lowery is set to remove, revise, and update the Peter Pan narrative to create a more culturally appropriate rendition of the classic J.M. Barrie tale.

Speaking on her upcoming role in Peter Pan & Wendy, Shahidi said that Lowery managed to successfully “update” the story, proving that this remake needs to be made. The Black-ish actress added (via Comic Book Movie):

“[Lowery updates it] in a way that feels like it adds to the canon of Peter Pan and also subtly corrects the kinds of stereotypes that are unfortunately passed along through those fairy tales. Correcting the indigenous representation that was mistaken in the animated and in some of the past versions.”

Peter Pan & Wendy (2023), Tinkerbell closeup
Credit: Disney

Correcting the harmful portrayals of indigenous people is a massive step forward in the legacy of Peter Pan on screen, at least at the Disney studio.

This confirmation that Disney will update Peter Pan through its Peter Pan & Wendy live-action remake is not unusual. Just recently, star of Rob Marshall’s upcoming The Little Mermaid (2023), Halle Bailey (Ariel), spoke about how the blockbuster remake will address some of the more eyebrow-raising elements of the beloved story. Most likely in the form of Ariel’s agency and her desire to only give up her voice for a man and not for any reason surrounding herself.

Halle Bailey as Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' live-action remake
Credit: Disney

Of course, any change in subject matter always sparks debate, and the trailer release of Peter Pan & Wendy was certainly no different. Some “fans” took to social media to call out the “woke disaster,” taking aim at Yara Shahidi’s Tinker Bell — Shahidi is a Black woman playing a character that was portrayed as white in their animated life; something Halle Bailey knows all too well after her casting as Ariel a few years ago.

Tiger Lily in Peter Pan & Wendy with white horse
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney+ Will Completely Change In 2024

Peter Pan & Wendy releases exclusively on Disney+ on April 28, 2023. David Lowery’s movie stars Alexander Molony as Peter Pan, Ever Anderson as Wendy Darling, Jude Law as Captain Hook, Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell, Joshua Pickering as John Darling, Jacobi Jupe as Michael Darling, Alyssa Wapanatâhk as Tiger Lily, Jim Gaffigan as Mr. Smee, Molly Parker as Mary Darling, Alan Tudyk as George Darling, Noah Matthews Matofsky as Slightly, Sebastian Billingsley-Rodriguez as Nibs,
Skyler and Kelsey Yates as Tudy and Rudy, Florence Bensberg as Curly, Caelan Edie as Tootles, Diana Tsoy as Birdie, and Felix De Sousa as Bellweather.

What do you think about Disney removing the offensive stereotypes in Peter Pan & Wendy? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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