I was reading an article over the weekend that appeared on slashfilm.com, entitled “Disney’s Peter Pan & Wendy Completely Rewrites Tiger Lily, Ditching The Racist Stereotypes.” It was a great read as they looked into the stereotypes that were included in the original Peter Pan story, mainly around the character of Tiger Lily and the differences that have evolved in the newest version of the tale. However, that wasn’t what sparked this article. Instead, it was a quote from the actress that plays the role in the upcoming Peter Pan & Wendy live-action film, Alyssa Wapanatâhk:
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 is not only supporting, but integral to the entire movie? There was nothing from the past that we needed to hang on to when it came to Tiger Lily. The version of the character in the movie, who is so strong and vibrant, it’s incredible. There should be a Tiger Lily movie!slashfilm.com
Instantly, something in my head went, ding! Yes, there absolutely should be a Tiger Lily movie. We’ve seen the back story of Peter Pan more than a few times, and Tinker Bell has been explored extensively. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to see more about Tiger Lily’s story as the entryway into a new culture that has not had much of Disney’s attention so far?
Even though she played a small role in the original, Tiger Lily was the stand-out in Peter Pan when I was a kid, even though I now recognize that to be a stereotyped departure from what the truth of the character would/should be—a truth that I’m ready to learn more about now.
What do you think? Instead of seeing the same stories retold in different formats, would you prefer to see some of the other characters from these classic stories explored?
Disney will be releasing Peter Pan and Wendy on April 28th exclusively on Disney+.
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
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