There are a few movies in Disney’s past that are… problematic. The studio has, for the most part, held off on adapting these films into live-action movies, opting instead to even turn to more recently released films like Moana. The exception is Peter Pan. While the original film has a host of troublesome tropes and stereotypes around Native Americans, the premise of a boy who will never grow up, swashbuckling pirates, and a grand adventure in a far-off land is pretty easy to turn into something not horrendously racist, as the new, official Peter Pan & Wendy trailer shows.
Peter Pan & Wendy may officially be one of Disney’s live-action updates, but on the whole, it appears more akin to the likes of Hook than Disney’s originally released movie, which is more of a collection of scenes than a film in and of itself. There are some key visuals like the teddy bear and Wendy’s blue nightgown, but this is definitely a bigger adventure than the animated classic. It seems to steer far away from Wendy becoming the boys’ mother and far more towards the themes of adulthood and growing up that the book tells. In short, this looks to be a better Peter Pan.
It also helps that the film comes from director David Lowery, who basically directs criminally underrated films like The Green Knight and Disney’s previous live-action adaptation of Pete’s Dragon. The latter film is a masterclass in heartfelt family filmmaking and really shouldn’t be missed before hopefully watching Peter Pan & Wendy and seeing a second one. The cast is strong as well with the obvious inclusion of Jude Law as Captain Hook. Joining him are Yara Shahidi, Ever Anderson, and Alexander Molony.
Disney may not be entirely convinced of the adaptation, however. The film is going directly to Disney+ instead of getting a theatrical release. That was the plan all along for the movie, so it’s not some slight to the quality of the film — but it puts the movie in the not-so-welcome company of Lady and the Tramp.
As its trailer notes, Peter Pan & Wendy will arrive on Disney+ on April 28.