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Disney Found a Way To Make Us Care About Peter Pan Again

Clap if you believe!

Wendy from Disney+'s Peter Pan & Wendy

To say that Peter Pan adaptions have a rocky cinematic history would be an understatement — despite being one of the most beloved children’s books of all time and the inspiration of an animated Disney classic, the films that have followed since have all struggled to recapture the magic. The latest swing at a Peter Pan interpretation is David Lowery’s Peter Pan & Wendy, which got a first look trailer, poster, and release date earlier this week.

Though word on the upcoming reimagining has been quiet since the initial announcement of development all the way back in 2016, Disney has finally released an official first-look trailer, sparking plenty of chatter online:

Starring Alexander Molony as Peter Pan and Ever Gabo Anderson as Wendy, the appropriately titled Peter Pan & Wendy is Disney’s newest attempt at rekindling the magic around the classic animated film: but where recent attempts like 2015’s Pan and NBC’s endlessly meme-able tv musical Peter Pan: Live! have floundered, this new reimagining of the story looks like it could finally be a winner.

What makes this Peter Pan adaptation especially exciting?

Where does our faith in Peter Pan & Wendy come from? Two words: David Lowery. Admittedly, Lowery might not be the knee-jerk pick to direct an adaption of a wholesome Disney classic, considering his most recent and most successful film, The Green Knight, was a gritty, violent reimagining of Arthurian legend. But while the subject matter of Green Knight may not line up neatly with Peter Pan & Wendy, Lowery’s craft as a filmmaker and sense for adapting classics for the screen is undeniable, and more than bolsters his credibility to helm this project.

A still from the 2016 live-action remake of Pete's Dragon

Another feather in Lowery’s cap is the fact that he already has a Disney live-action remake under his belt: 2016’s Pete’s Dragon. While it’s true that Pete’s Dragon mostly flew under the radar and didn’t make the financial splash at the box office Disney was hoping it might, the film is still without question one of the strongest live-action remakes Disney’s produced so far. It’s also encouraging that instead of simply being placed at the helm, Lowery is also credited as a co-writer for Peter Pan & Wendy, sharing responsibilities with frequent writing collaborator Toby Halbrooks, who’s previously worked with Lowery on films like A Ghost Story, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, and, yes, Green Knight.

Peter Pan & Wendy‘s cast is another cause for optimism—Alexander Molony will be making his feature film debut as Peter Pan, which brings a new and exciting energy to a project peppered with familiar faces. The Wendy to Molony’s Peter will be Ever Anderson, who eagle-eyed Marvel fans might remember as young Natasha Romanoff in Black Widow. Rounding out the cast is a set of more established stars: Jude Law as Captain Hook, Jim Gaffigan as Smee, Alan Tudyk as Mr. Darling, and Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell.

While Peter Pan & Wendy may already be facing some skepticism on social media for its color grading, that’s not necessarily a reason to write off what could turn out to be one of Disney’s most interesting and ambitious live-action reimagining to date. Though it may not be getting a theatrical release like its predecessors, Peter Pan & Wendy‘s cast and creative team could help it find success where so many Peter Pan adaptions have failed.

(images: Disney+ and Walt Disney Studios)

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Lauren Coates (she/her)is a freelance film/tv critic and entertainment journalist, who has been working in digital media since 2019. In addition to her writing at The Mary Sue, her other bylines include Nerdist, Paste, The A.V. Club, and The Playlist. In addition to all things sci-fi and horror, she has particular interest in queer and female-led stories. When she's not writing, she's exploring Chicago, binge-watching Star Trek, or planning her next trip to the Disney parks. You can follow her on twitter @laurenjcoates.