Spectrum News: Disney premieres brand new trailer for 'Peter Pan & Wendy'

Remake of the classic tale benefits young viewers, says UC’s Nancy Jennings

“Peter Pan & Wendy”, the film, has premiered and will soon be offered on streaming services, but there has been backlash regarding changes made to the cast such as including girls in Peter’s band of “lost boys.”

In April 2023, UC’s Nancy Jennings appeared on “The Morning Rush” to speak to the recent changes to this children’s classic and others such as “The Little Mermaid,” in which the role of Ariel is cast as a Black character.

“As adults we often have fond memories of childhood stories and childhood characters and when those characters are repositioned or told in a different way it can be a little jarring,” says Jennings, a professor in UC’s School of Communication, Film, and Media Studies and director of Children's Education and Entertainment Research.   

Children, however, benefit from the changes when they can see themselves in the characters, she says: “It’s amazing. It melts your heart,” to see the eyes of a child when they see themselves represented, noting “I would agree that there is a need for diversity in the film and television industry.”

Jennings, a sociologist and director of Children's Education and Entertainment Research at UC, studies the impact of media on the lives of children and their families and public policies and practices involved with children’s media.  Her research focuses on children's cognitive and social development and their use of media.  

Watch the interview with Jennings.

Featured image at top of Peter Pan/Bob Coyne/Unsplash

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