Disney is taking every step to avoid accusations of cultural insensitivity toward Native Americans in “Peter Pan & Wendy,” their newest remake of Peter Pan. The movie will come directly to the streaming platform Disney+ in April, and the actress who plays Tiger Lily revealed that the production hired a “cultural consultant team” to omit any stereotypical depictions of Native Americans in the film. The actress, Alyssa Wapanatâhk, who is of Cree descent, told NativeViewpoint.com that “the crew tried to remain culturally sensitive, especially since many fans saw the original animated version as problematic.”
In the 1953 Disney classic, Tiger Lily’s father, the chief, speaks in broken English. He calls Peter Pan his “pale face brother” and refers to himself as a “red man.”
Wapanatâhk told the outlet, “My thoughts on Disney’s past is that I hope they leave it where it is … and I think they will. I watched all the Peter Pan films. There were some films that did not do us justice for sure.”
The actress also noted how the movie’s director, David Lowery, was very supportive of the team throughout filming.
“I received an email from [Lowery] and he wrote, ‘Hey, I know that you’re Cree. Why don’t you bring your Cree background into this character? I was like, ‘Wow, Yeah, I’m there.’ That was at the point where I thought, ‘Okay this needs to be done perfectly,’” Wapanatâhk said.
“All of these different films and TV shows are coming out now that are done so well,” the actress continued. “I’m seeing all these Native producers and Native directors, Native writers, and Native actors and they are all giving us their best work.”
The new “Peter & Wendy” trailer has received mixed reactions online. While many Disney fans are excited about the latest retelling, others question Jude Law being cast as the villainous pirate Captain Hook. There are also complaints about the movie being sent directly to streaming rather than having a theatrical release.