Fans Outraged as Disney Cuts Iconic Character From ‘Lilo & Stitch’ Remake

in Disney

Lily and Stitch Characters Collage

Credit: Inside the Magic

Disney’s passion for remakes is controversial, to say the least.

From creepy CGI (shoutout to Pinocchio) and shoddy accents (another shoutout, this time to Ewan McGregor) to cut songs (RIP “I’ll Make A Man Out of You”), its animation-to-live-action pipeline doesn’t have the best track record with audiences.

But that hasn’t put the studio off trying. In 2023 alone, Guests can expect to see new versions of Peter Pan (1953) and The Little Mermaid (1989) on the big screen, while remakes of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Hercules (1997), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Moana (2016), and basically Disney’s entire back catalog are on their way.

Stitch screams with lilo
Credit: Disney

That adaptation to-do list also includes Lilo & Stitch (2002). Like the original, Lilo & Stitch will revolve around a young girl named Lilo, who lives with her older sister Nani and adopts the extraterrestrial creature Experiment 626 – who she names Stitch – as her pet.

Announced in 2018, the project went quiet until earlier this year when casting announcements started flooding in. The first was Zach Galifianakis as Pleakley, then Maia Kealoha as Lilo, Sydney Agudong as Nani, and Kahiau Machado as David, while Chris Sanders is set to return as the iconic voice of Stitch.

Lilo and Stitch Remake
Credit: Twitter (left); Disney (right)

As with every Disney live-action remake, fan reactions to these castings have been mixed. Some have accused Disney of colorism by casting Agudong – who is considerably lighter-skinned than Nani is portrayed in the original film – while others have praised the studio for hiring actresses of native Hawaiian descent.

Now, Disney is facing even more criticism for its casting choices. On April 17, it announced that Jolene Purdy, known for her roles in The White Lotus and WandaVision, will play child services agent Mrs. Kekoa.

The problem? There is no Mrs. Kekoa in Lilo & Stitch.

While a social worker is indeed called on Nani and Lilo – and investigates them throughout the movie while they try to deal with the upheaval that comes with inadvertently adopting an alien – it is instead a male, former CIA agent known as Cobra Bubbles.

Cobra Bubbles lowers his sunglasses
Credit: Disney

Beloved by audiences, the apparent replacement of Bubbles hasn’t gone down well. Fans soon took to Twitter to share their displeasure. User @FullTransplant wrote, “Wait? There’s no Bubbles in this? Why the F would I pay to see Lilo and Stitch without the best character?”

Another user, @SuReLozza commented, “I know I’m dumb silly girl on the internet with no right to make criticisms on films however, the new live action Lilo and Stitch movie is making me so MAD HOW CAN YOU CUT OUT BUBBLES?!?!!! THAT WAS THE LAST STRAW.”

The biggest issue fans seem to have with the change is that it comes with no rhyme or reason. While there’s already the question of why Disney chooses to remake movies that audiences feel can’t be bettered, changing the things that make them so beloved in the first place just seems like self-sabotage.

A Bubbles-free Lilo & Stitch is due for release in 2024.

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