Yara Shahidi Fans Blast ‘Race Swap’ Criticism After Actress Debuts As Tinker Bell In Peter Pan Trailer

Tinker Bell fans are blasting the 'race swap' criticism surrounding Yara Shahidi following her debut as Tinker Bell in the Peter Pan trailer. 
Credit: Disney+

Tinker Bell fans are blasting the ‘race swap’ criticism surrounding actress Yara Shahidi following her debut in the Peter Pan trailer

Peter Pan & Wendy is a live-action adaption of Disney’s iconic 1953 film Peter Pan.

It follows Wendy Darling and her two younger brothers as they travel to Neverland, a place where you can be young forever.

The trailer is going viral and is being talked about all over social media, however, it’s also facing a backlash.

Watch the official trailer for Peter Pan & Wendy below…

Some viewers are outraged that Black actress Yara Shahidi, 23, is portraying the beloved fairy Tinker Bell.

In the original animated movie, the character is portrayed as white and blonde – which has become associated with the character over the years.

Criticising the casting decision, one person fumes: “Just doing a race swap is lazy, I appreciate it but I’d rather you take the time and dedication to create a new story with new characters and a new plot that can have different races in them, not just copy and paste.”

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While somebody else comments: “Disney needs to stop with these live remakes. And if they really want to include diversity, make original stories with original characters.

“But no, all they care about is live remakes.”

A third person says: “Disney is doing this on purpose now. There is literally already a Black fairy y’all didn’t need to race-swap Tinker Bell.”

Following the criticism, Shahidi’s fans have spoken out in defence of the star.

Defending her, one writes: “Yara Shahidi looks really stunning and cute as Tinker Bell in Peter Pan & Wendy.

Tinker Bell in Peter Pan & Wendy (2023).
Tinker Bell fans are blasting the ‘race swap’ criticism surrounding actress Yara Shahidi following her debut in the Peter Pan trailer. Credit: Disney+

“It bugs me so much that older racist folks are making a such big deal that a young beautiful Black actress is playing an iconic fairytale character for a new generation knowing their childhood is over.”

In agreement, another person adds: “Yara Shahidi is beautiful. She’s perfect as Tinker Bell.”

“Yara Shahidi is gonna be the most beautiful as Tinker Bell,” another viewer comments.

While one fan pens: “She’s [Shahadi] BEAUTIFUL and I have seen some of her work and she’s such a good actress.

“We should be talking about her acting skills instead of her skin colour. Can’t wait to watch her doing her job!”

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Shahidi first gained recognition through her role as Zoey Johnson on the sitcom Black-ish, and its spinoff show, Grown-ish.

She’s appeared in films such as Imagine That (2009) and Smallfoot (2018).

While in 2016, Shahidi was included in Time’s ’30 Most Influential Teens of 2016′ due to her activism in real life.

In an interview with Teen Vogue, she says: “If a child grows up never seeing themselves represented as successful or as the hero then they are the anomaly if they succeed and the expectation if they fail.”

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Written by Aimee Walker

Aimee is a senior content editor at IGV who specialises in finding the best original stories, trending topics and entertainment news. She graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Media and Communications.