Disney’s live-action Peter Pan & Wendy adaptation is on the way, and much has already been revealed about the movie’s story, cast, and release date. The studio began developing the project in 2016 as a take on the animated 1953 Peter Pan film. That feature itself is based on the same original material of J. M. Barrie’s 1911 novel Peter and Wendy, which has other names in addition to a 1904 play. Disney announced the official title for Peter Pan & Wendy back in January 2020, and since then there’s been a steady trickle of news coming from the studio.
As one of the most beloved stories of all time, there have been several Peter Pan adaptations over the years, including books, comics, and dozens of stage productions. On the movie side, notable works include Steven Spielberg’s 1991 film Hook, the 2003 Peter Pan novel adaptation, the origin story Pan, and Wendy, a 2020 reimagining from the title character’s perspective. All told, it’s clear that interest in Peter Pan and its characters endures. Disney’s Peter Pan and Wendy is due soon, and the live-action Peter Pan remake is sure to breathe fresh life into the Disney version of the tale.
The Latest Peter Pan & Wendy News
Disney has been expected to update the original Peter Pan story for modern sensibilities, like making the Lost Boys also have girls in their ranks. In addition to that, Peter Pan & Wendy will also eliminate many of the racist stereotypes present in the source material that made their way into Disney’s original animated movie. Tinkerbell actress Yara Shahidi has seen a cut of the movie before it lands on Disney+ and has spoken about just those changes. Shahidi explained:
I think remakes have to prove why they are worth being remade in the first place, and having had a chance to watch the film, I think [David Lowery] updates it in such a natural way.
[He updates it] in a way that feels like it adds to the canon of Peter Pan and also subtly corrects the kinds of stereotypes that are unfortunately passed along through those fairy tales. Correcting the Indigenous representation that was mistaken…
That’s good news for Peter Pan fans who have been looking forward to the movie. Another Peter Pan & Wendy update of significance is the series of posters released by Disney+ that include Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys, and the Darling siblings. These have been the best look so far at the cast and characters of Peter Pan & Wendy, and alongside the live-action Peter Pan trailer released in mid-April there’s now been plenty revealed of how this latest Disney+ movie will reinvent — both aesthetically and narratively — the classic-yet-controversial animated version.
Peter Pan & Wendy Release Date
2023 marks the 70th anniversary of Disney’s animated Peter Pan, so it’s only fitting that Disney’s live-action adaptation releases the same year. Peter Pan & Wendy releases on Disney+ on April 28, 2023. The film was originally slated to be a theatrical release, but with delays in filming over the course of two years, it was moved to the streaming service instead.
Peter Pan & Wendy Cast
When it comes to the cast for Peter Pan & Wendy, it’s of course a star-studded one. Yara Shahidi (Black-ish) will play the magical Tinkerbell. Jim Gaffigan (Bob’s Burgers) will bring a dose of humor to the pirate ship as Smee. Alan Tudyk (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and Molly Parker (House of Cards) will play the Darling parents.
The younger roles all go to newcomers on the scene, and very little is known about them. Alyssa Wapanatâhk, a First Nations actor from Canada, is set to play Tiger Lily. American actress Ever Anderson (and daughter of actor Milla Jovovich), who played a young Natasha Romanoff in Black Widow, will play Wendy, and Alexander Molony, who has mainly featured in UK commercials so far, will play Peter Pan.
Those curious about how Peter Pan & Wendy will be brought to life will find this news about the latest live-action adaptation interesting. While the bulk of the cast for Peter Pan & Wendy filmed on location in Vancouver, Canada as a stand-in for the fantasy world of Neverland, live-action Tinkerbell (Peter Pan’s pixie sidekick) actress Shahidi didn’t have the same experience.
Instead, the actress filmed largely on her own in a garage in Burbank, California opposite stands with pictures of the other cast members on them to approximate where she would direct her lines. According to Shahidi, if she really needed to perform opposite someone, there was a life-size Kermit the Frog for her to act opposite, likely because he was green and could be edited out like CGI on a green screen.
Interestingly, Jude Law (Fantastic Beasts 3) is set to bring his dashing villainy to the character of Captain Hook. Long-time Peter Pan fans will know that traditionally, especially in the stage adaptations, Captain Hook and Mr. Darling are played by the same actor. It allows the audience to see both the fantasy of a villain in Neverland and the perceived villain in Wendy’s life (the person pushing her to grow up) as one and the same. This new Peter Pan movie might break more traditions than just Captain Hook’s portrayal.
Peter Pan & Wendy Story Details
The creative team behind Peter Pan & Wendy is deeply tied to the Peter Pan story. David Lowery has been attached as director from the very start of the project along with co-writer Toby Halbrooks. They’ve worked together before on Disney’s live-action remake of Pete’s Dragon and seem to have a great creative partnership. As co-writer and director, Lowery has said that the Peter Pan story is very close to his heart and that he wants to do everything he can to do right by it. This has meant numerous script versions and attention to every little detail.
The many revisions to adapt both the novel and the 1953 animated movie are part of what has kept the movie in development for so long. In particular, they will be revisiting the racist stereotypes around Indigenous people from the original Peter Pan film and updating them for the present day. Not many details about the changes have been revealed, but casting a First Nations actor, Alyssa Wapanatâhk is certainly a step in the right direction with Tiger Lily.
Peter Pan & Wendy Trailer
Though Peter Pan & Wendy began its long development process in 2016, filming didn’t commence until 2021, with reshoots happening in 2022, so a trailer wasn’t available to the public until March 2023. That trailer does confirm a few changes to the source material, like the casting decisions for Mr. Darling and Captain Hook. It also reveals that the Lost Boys is more of a title for the children Peter Pan surrounds himself with in Neverland rather than a point of fact. Several members of his friend group are lost girls instead. This is in direct contrast with J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan novel that decides girls are “too smart” to become lost in Neverland.
The most recent Peter Pan & Wendy trailer showcases more of the previously established plot points. However, it gives much greater focus on one character in particular — Jude Law’s Captain Hook. The full-length live-action Peter Pan trailer places the epic duel and rivalry between Pan and Hook front and center, bringing home that this Disney reimagining won’t lose one of the most endearing elements of the original tale. What’s seen of Jude Law shows why he was selected too, as he’s clearly taken the character of Captain Hook and made it his own.
Does Disney Have Other Peter Pan Projects On The Way?
Because J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is in the public domain, adaptations of Peter Pan don’t have to come from Disney. There is a horror adaptation, Peter Pan: Neverland Nightmare, in development from the same team that brought Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey to theaters, for example. As of 2021, however, Disney did have a project in development centering around Tinkerbell.
Tinkerbell has actually become one of Disney’s most popular characters. Not only is she present for meet-and-greets in theme parks, but she’s also the titular character in quite a series of spinoffs. Though Tinkerbell has her own animated movies centered on her life as a fairy rather than her adventures with Peter Pan, Tink is expected to be about her time in Neverland before Peter meets Wendy. Early rumors about the story suggested Tinkerbell would be the reason Peter never grows up, as she makes a deal to save his life (via DisInsider). Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine was set to produce in 2021, but since then, there has been no additional news on the project, or whether Disney wants it to connect to their new live-action movie Peter Pan & Wendy.