Criticism of the upcoming live-action Peter Pan remake from Disney, which cast actor Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell, has been met with resistance from film fans.
Yara, known for her roles in the ABC TV show Black-ish and films such as Salt alongside Angelina Jolie, has been chosen to play the part of Tinker Bell, Peter Pan's fairy companion. The trailer for the 2023 movie was released last month.
You can view the trailer here:
The trailer features the iconic characters from JM Barrie's book, including Peter Pan, Hook, and Tinker Bell in her trademark green attire.
Some fans of the book and previous adaptations have criticized Disney's decision to cast Yara, who identifies as mixed race, as Tinker Bell. They argue that instead of changing the race of an established character, the company should have created an original Black character.
In previous adaptations of Peter Pan, the role of Tinker Bell has traditionally been portrayed by white actors.
One social media user commented in response to the trailer: "I'm black and I'm all about inclusion but making a character black for the sake of it isn't it but props to her hope she kills it."
Another social media user expressed their agreement by tweeting: "Please for the love of God stop with the race switching it's cheap. Just make new characters or use existing ones to represent us instead of using cheap pop outs and replacing people's races."
Another criticized: "Iger's Disney be like: 'How about we take a beloved classic, race swap all the characters (except the villans) and make it look as bland, cheap and soulless as possible?'"
Others argued that the character in question is a fairy, and therefore, for some, Yara's race was inconsequential.
"All I am going to say is Tinkerbell is a fairy…. Changing her race when she is a fairy has absolutely no affect on me! Hope Yara kills it," said one comment.
Another agreed: "It's an imaginary fairy creature."
Peter Pan and Wendy, the 2023 adaptation of the classic story, is scheduled for release later this year. The film features Jude Law as Captain Hook, Ever Gabo Anderson as Wendy, Alexander Molony as Peter Pan, and Jim Gaffigan as Mr. Smee.
Director David Lowery commented on the new adaptation, stating: "In making Peter Pan & Wendy, we set out to craft a film that honors both the original J.M. Barrie text and Walt Disney's animated adaptation; we wanted to invigorate our retelling with emotional sincerity, an open heart, and a grand yearning for adventure."
"Hundreds of incredible artists spent many years bringing this film to the screen; I'm excited for audiences to see their work, to go on this ride, and to rediscover an evergreen tale from a new perspective."
Last year, Disney faced similar criticism when it cast Black actor Halle Bailey in the lead role of Ariel, changing the character's previous depiction as having red hair and white skin in the animated version.
Peter Pan & Wendy is set to be released on Disney Plus on Friday, April 28.