Alyssa Wapanatâhk on Indigenous Representation and Reimagining Tiger Lily

It’s time to grab your pixie dust and head back to Neverland. Peter Pan & Wendy premieres on Disney+ on April 28. In it, Disney reimagines Tiger Lily, the warrior princess of Neverland’s Indigenous tribe. To celebrate Peter Pan & Wendy‘s upcoming release, The Nerds of Color sat down with actress Alyssa Wapanatâhk to chat about all things Tiger Lily.

A live-action reimagining of Disney’s 1953 animated movie (adapted from the novel by J.M. Barrie), the film “introduces Wendy Darling (Ever Anderson), a young girl afraid to leave her childhood home behind, who meets Peter Pan (Alexander Molony), a boy who refuses to grow up.”

In addition to Wapanatâhk, Molony, and Anderson, Peter Pan & Wendy stars Jude Law as Captain Hook, Yara Shahidi as Tinkerbell, Joshua Pickering as John Darling, Jacobi Jupe as Michael Darling, Jim Gaffigan as Mr. Smee, and Alan Tudyk and Molly Parker as Mr. and Mrs. Darling. The movie was directed by David Lowery, who wrote the screenplay along with Toby Halbrooks.

Photo by Eric Zachanowich. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

The 1953 Peter Pan is controversial for its racist stereotypes and offensive songs like “What Made the Red Man Red.” In 2020, Disney added a content advisory warning to the film on Disney+, writing that the movie “portrays Native people in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions.”

Now, Wapanatâhk discusses what it was like stepping into the shoes of such a famous character, the importance of authentic Indigenous representation, and how she incorporated the culture of her tribe (Bigstone Cree First Nation) into the role.

Check out the full interview below!

Peter Pan & Wendy begins streaming exclusively on Disney+ on April 28.