Rachel Zegler Finally Weighs in on “Woke” ‘Snow White’ Change

in Movies & TV

Walt Disney in the foreground with Snow White and lightning in the background

Credit: Inside the Magic

The Walt Disney Company’s upcoming Snow White live-action remake has dominated headlines in recent months, thanks, in part, to star Rachel Zegler’s resurfaced comments about the changes being made to the reboot. Now, the actress has weighed in on one divisive change coming in the 2025 movie.

Disney's Snow White looking terrified against a background of green eyes
Credit: Disney

Disney’s live-action canon is an ever-growing franchise. There have always been live-action adaptations of classic animated movies (think Glenn Close in 101 Dalmatians back in 1996), but in the last decade, the House of Mouse has severely ramped up production of these new efforts, so much so that fans are getting tired of familiar stories being adapted.

From Maleficent (2014) to Beauty and the Beast (2017), Aladdin (2019) to The Lion King (2019), Disney has spent billions on bringing the beloved world of animation back to screens in a whole new light. There have been successes, like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King, which all amassed over $1 billion at the global box office. But then there have been those that have made less of a splash, such as this year’s The Little Mermaid (2023).

Ariel (Halle Bailey) resting on jellyfish and talking to Sebastian
Credit: Disney

Rob Marshall’s underwater musical adventure starred Halle Bailey as the titular mermaid, Ariel, focusing on her agency to be part of a world that is not her own. The Little Mermaid navigated a difficult path through production, with toxic fans condemning Bailey’s casting as the flame-haired Disney princess. Something the actress spoke about during the production process.

Despite the mixed reviews for the live-action movies, Disney is not slowing down with its development of more. Coming some time down the line will be adaptations of things like Bambi (1942), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Hercules (1997), and Lilo & Stitch (2002). Rumors have recently stirred, claiming that Tangled (2010) will be getting the treatment soon, with Florence Pugh (Don’t Worry, Darling; Dune: Part Two) reportedly attached to star as Rapunzel in the musical.

Bambi exploring the woods with friends
Credit: Disney

But looking to the immediate future, Disney has two movies ready for release. First up will be Mufasa: The Lion King (2024) — a prequel to The Lion King (1994) focusing on Simba’s father, Mufasa. the Barry Jenkins-directed movie is slated to be released during the Christmas period on December 20, 2024.

What should have been released next is the live-action remake of Walt Disney’s first-ever animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Titled Disney’s Snow White (2025), the film that was once set to open in March of next year has been pushed to March 21, 2025.

Dwarfs marching in 'Snow White'
Credit: Disney

There is no clear reason for the delay, but speculations include the offset of promotion due to the recently-ended Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes and also because of the heated controversy surrounding the production of the live-action remake.

Rachel Zegler Controversy

Earlier this year, resurfaced footage went viral that showed star Rachel Zegler speaking about the changes to the classic story. She said, in part, that it’s not 1937 anymore, and the version of Snow White they have created is one who was meant to lead, not just fall in love. The West Side Story actress even went on to state that the prince character from the movie, who “stalks” her, would not be appearing. It has since been shared that Andrew Burnap will be playing a character called Jonathan, who replaces the prince.

Rachel Zegler as Maria
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Related: Government Gets Involved in Controversial Live-Action ‘Snow White’ Remake

The controversy surrounding Disney’s Snow White also surpasses its leading lady. At the start of 2022, it was revealed that Disney had listened to concerns about the dwarf characters, which were sparked by Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage’s distaste for the adaptation, and that “magical creatures” would be a replacement for the group in the movie.

This change caused Snow White to be tagged as “woke” — something Zegler’s comments on her own character only further ignited.

Rachel Zegler as Snow White in Disney's live-action version of Snow White
Credit: Disney

However, in a shock, Disney revealed that Snow White would be shifting an entire year, going into 2025. Along with this, they revealed a first-look image that showcased CGI dwarfs. Disney will have a hard time recouping excitement for the movie, which has seemingly taken another hit after a new “anti-woke” version was announced by conservative news outlet The Daily Wire. Jeremy Boering will direct Snow White and the Evil Queen (2024), with commentator and actress Brett Cooper playing the lead.

Now that the strike has ended, Zegler has returned to the industry to promote her new film, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023), and talk about Snow White. Speaking to Collider, Zegler has weighed in on the controversial statements she previously made about her princess in Marc Webb’s upcoming film.

Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird in 'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes'
Credit: Lionsgate

“Then something that kind of emerged was this leader within her that I was so happy that the writers wanted her to be, and the fact that it’s born out of her upbringing, but she finds it within herself throughout the course of the film and throughout the people that love her in the film and show their love for her,” Zegler said.

“Marc Webb and I kind of called it her third eye-opening. There are a couple of scenes in there where she’s speaking like someone who’s been alive for much longer than she has, and that’s something that I relate to, something that I’ve been told all my life. So, getting to bring that to a character that I love so deeply and that I’ve spent so much time with now it’s a really amazing thing as an actor and as a performer, and I can’t wait for people to get to see it.”

Gal Gadot in a silver dress in 'Death on the Nile'
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Related: Disney Looks Set To Cast Michael B. Jordan as Lead in Live-Action ‘Hercules’

Zegler’s comments on Snow White being a character that she loves “deeply” should hopefully resonate with those who have presumed the actress hates the original based on her earlier comments.

Rachel Zegler stars alongside Gal Gadot, who plays the Evil Queen, in Disney’s Snow White.

What do you think of Rachel Zegler’s comments on Disney’s Snow White? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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