Disney announced a critical piece of casting for the next wave in its inevitable tide of live-action movie remakes today, with Deadline reporting that Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi has signed on to play Tinker Bell in the company’s upcoming Peter Pan And Wendy. Shahidi has spent the last six years playing the character of Zoey Johnson on ABC’s Black-ish (and then again on the sitcom’s Freeform spin-off), although she has also had time to work in a handful of film roles, including starring in last year’s The Sun Is Also A Star, and voicing Brenda in 2018's Smallfoot. (Zendaya was Meechee.)
Per Deadline, Shahidi is the first Black woman to play the cinematic part of Pan’s mischievous fairy sidekick, who, depending on the adaptation, has typically been portrayed as a flickering stage light, a teensy blonde-haired blue-eyed white lady, or Julia Roberts. Given that J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is noted for being pretty “written in Victorian England” in regards to its attitudes on race—most notably in its overwhelmingly stereotypical and derogatory treatment of the character of Tiger Lily and her tribe—it’s great to see a performer as talented and charming as Shahidi have a chance to take over such a high-profile role.
Peter Pan And Wendy is being directed by David Lowery, who previously handled Disney’s Pete’s Dragon remake. Alexander Molony is Peter, while Ever Anderson plays Wendy. Jude Law, meanwhile, will be taking on the role of that crook, Captain Hook. Given how wobbly Disney’s release schedule is right now, there’s no real indication of when the film might see theaters, although it’ll presumably be after Emma Stone’s Cruella, and the Halle Berry-starring Little Mermaid remake.