Official: Jenna Ortega Replaces ‘Snow White’ Star Rachel Zegler

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jenna ortega and rachel zegler

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

In the fast-paced world of Hollywood, the spotlight can shift rapidly from one rising star to another.

Rachel Zegler’s ascent to stardom was nothing short of meteoric. She first captured public attention with her viral audition for the role of Maria in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story (2021). Her performance in the film showcased her exceptional singing talent and on-screen presence, earning her widespread acclaim and positioning her as a formidable talent in Hollywood. However, Zegler’s rise has not been without its challenges and controversies.

Rachel Zegler looking shocked in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
Credit: Lionsgate

Zegler’s recent comments about the live-action adaptation of Snow White have stirred considerable debate. She criticized aspects of the original 1937 animated classic, describing the story as “strange” and emphasizing that the new adaptation would diverge significantly from its source material.

According to Zegler, the new Snow White will not be saved by a prince and will focus on her ambitions of becoming a leader rather than dreaming of true love. This modern reinterpretation has been polarizing, with some fans appreciating the progressive angle, while others lament the departure from the cherished classic narrative.

These remarks, coupled with significant changes to the film’s storyline—such as the absence of the iconic dwarfs, replaced by “seven magical creatures”—have fueled rumors for months and speculations about Zegler’s future with Disney.

The backlash over these deviations from the original story has led to numerous rumors about Zegler being replaced or dropped from other projects. For instance, her confirmed departure from Paddington 3 led to widespread but mistaken beliefs that she had been cut from Snow White.

Of course, as of late, Zegler has sung a different tune when speaking about the movie. In an interview with Variety’s Angelique Jackson, she said that she had put a lot of pressure on herself to make sure the live-action film was a hit among Disney’s fans.

“The cartoon is so beloved. It was the first feature-length cartoon movie. It won honorary Oscars. And all these amazing things that happened for that film are the reason that you and I get to sit here today, because it made Disney what it is. Obviously, that’s come with a lot of pressure that I’ve put on myself,” Zegler said.“Much like Hunger Games, there’s a very dedicated group of people who love Disney cartoons. I’m one of them. I love everything that the Disney Co. has put out in the past 100 years.”

Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams, with Thing on her shoulder
Credit: Netflix

How Jenna Ortega replaced Rachel Zegler in Hollywood

Enter Jenna Ortega, a name that has been trending upward with remarkable velocity. Ortega, who first gained recognition through her role in the Disney Channel sitcom Stuck in the Middle and more recently starred in Netflix’s hit series Wednesday, has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most talked-about young actresses. Wednesday Season 2 is already set to begin filming soon. Her performance as Wednesday Addams received critical acclaim and further cemented her status as a rising star.

The outstanding lead actress’s involvement in the highly anticipated Beetlejuice 2, slated for release in 2024, has only added to her burgeoning popularity. This project, alongside her previous successes, has positioned Ortega as a formidable competitor in the industry. In various fan polls and rankings of anticipated films, Beetlejuice 2 has consistently ranked higher than the live-action Snow White, indicating early looks at what we might expect at the box office.

The contrast between Zegler and Ortega’s career trajectories is stark. While Zegler’s comments about Snow White and her departure from Paddington 3 have sparked controversy and speculation, Ortega’s career seems to be on an uninterrupted upward trajectory. The rumor mill has even suggested that Ortega might replace Zegler in the Snow White project, although these claims were found to be untrue.

Disney’s strategy of reimagining its classic films has also contributed to these dynamics. The company’s recent live-action adaptations are part of a broader effort to modernize its stories and appeal to contemporary audiences, but it hasn’t been without controversy.

Jenna Ortega smiling eerily as Wednesday Addams
Credit: Netflix

Films like The Lion King (2019), The Jungle Book (2016), and Cinderella (2015) have all seen varying degrees of success. However, these reimaginings have not been without controversy, especially when they diverge significantly from the original narratives, as is the case with the new Snow White.

The backlash against the changes in Snow White reflects a broader tension within Disney’s audience. On one hand, there is a desire for progress and inclusivity, which has driven many of the recent changes in Disney’s storytelling. On the other hand, there is a strong attachment to the nostalgia and traditional narratives that defined Disney’s earlier works. Zegler’s comments and the film’s significant deviations have placed her at the center of this cultural clash.

Melissa Barrerra and Jenna Ortega on the street in 'Scream 6'
Credit: Paramount Pictures / Spyglass Media Group / Radio Silence Productions

Meanwhile, Jenna Ortega’s appeal seems to lie in her ability to balance modern sensibilities with a respect for the past. Her role in Wednesday managed to capture the essence of the beloved Addams Family character in Tim Burton’s series while bringing a fresh and contemporary twist to the story. This ability to navigate both new and old storytelling traditions has made her a favorite among fans and a safer bet for studios looking to appeal to a wide audience.

Though Ortega has suffered some social media backlash over her controversial new film Miller’s Girl (2024), which stars her alongside Martin Freeman, the movie quickly ascended up the Netflix charts when it was picked up by the streaming platform. In addition, she has been compared to that of Johnny Depp for her ability to take on many different roles, including Tara Carpenter in the Scream franchise, Wednesday Addams, and lending her voice to Netflix’s Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous.

As we look toward the rest of 2024 and beyond, it appears that Jenna Ortega is poised to continue her ascent in Hollywood. Her involvement in high-profile projects and her growing fan base suggest that she will remain a dominant figure in the industry. In contrast, Rachel Zegler may need to navigate the fallout from her controversial comments and the shifting public sentiment regarding her roles.

What do you think of the stark contrast between the two actresses? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

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