Figuring out how to make a live-action Peter Pan story that abandons the racist tropes of the original text and the 1953 Disney film while still keeping “the legacy” of Disney’s “Peter Pan” in mind was was difficult. Ultimately, Lowery explained, they completely rewrote Tiger Lily’s story to include elements from the culture of Cree actress Alyssa Wapanatâhk, who plays the character:
“The challenge for us was: how do we take this character, who, going back to the original text, was problematic and give her a role that’s not just supportive, but integral to the whole film? There was nothing from the past.” We had to stick to Tiger Lily. The version of the character in the film being so strong and alive is incredible. There should be a Tiger Lily movie!”
The early drafts drew closely on Barrie’s original works, but Lowery felt the books had already been “perfectly” adapted into the 2003 live-action film Peter Pan, directed by PJ Hogan. They then watched the Disney animated film and realized that combining both sources resulted in something new and more interesting. Although “Peter Pan & Wendy” will have many familiar landmarks (“I would often say, if it’s in the ride at Disneyland, it has to be in the movie”), Lowery also wanted to preserve the “anarchic, grown-up spirit” of Barrie’s writing .
In an interview with Native Viewpoint last month, Wapanatâhk said Lowery encouraged her to bring her own Cree background to the role. She in turn consulted her grandmother, who was raised in Cree and speaks the language fluently, and her grandfather, who is an elder and medicine man.
“My thoughts on Disney’s past are that I hope they leave it where it is,” Wapanatâhk said. “And I think they will … I really felt like they were trying.”
Peter Pan & Wendy premieres on Disney+ on April 28, 2023.
https://www.slashfilm.com/1239294/disneys-peter-pan-wendy-completely-rewrites-tiger-lily-ditching-the-racist-stereotypes/ Disney’s Peter Pan & Wendy completely rewrites Tiger Lily, debunking the racist stereotypes