Casting Controversy, Story Updates & Everything We Know About Disney’s Live-Action Remake

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Disney is hard at work on a live-action Snow White remake following the lead of previous revamps like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. In some ways, it is a bit surprising that Disney waited as long as it has to do a remake of Snow White. After all, the original 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was Disney’s very first animated feature, and thus it casts a long shadow over the company’s output ever since. Then again, perhaps Snow White’s status as perhaps the textbooks Disney Princess fairytale is why Disney has been hesitant to bring it to live-action.


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The original Snow White is a landmark entry in the world of animated movies and is perhaps Disney’s signature production. So many aspects of Snow White influenced Disney movies that followed, so living up to its legacy will be challenging. Yet, that is exactly what today’s Disney team will now attempt to do with its upcoming live-action Snow White remake, a project that already looks set to both pay tribute to the classic tale while also making notable alterations. While the Disney live-action Snow White remake retains much of the original story and has costumes inspired by the animated classic, there will be some modern updates for Snow White herself.

Related: How Rachel Zegler’s Live-Action Snow White Costume Compares To Animation


The Latest Live-Action Snow White News: Rachel Zegler Speaks Out On The Casting Controversy

Blended image of Snow White singing with the birds and Rachel Zegler as Anthea in Shazam Fury of Gods

Disney had remained relatively quiet about progress on the live-action Snow White. The most recent live-action Snow White remake news surrounds a handful of images making their way around the internet. Images that were taken by press during the filming of the movie have kicked off some live-action Snow White casting controversy as many of those who have seen the images were less than happy. The pictures, which featured what looked like Snow White and the seven dwarfs, were not what people expected. Disney has been quick to point out that they are not official pictures from the movie.

The images actually featured Rachel Zegler’s stand-in as Snow White and seven actors of various genders and ethnic backgrounds as Snow White’s seven dwarfs. The live-action remake was previously criticized because the Snow White story itself has been criticized for its treatment of the dwarf characters, and the pictures do indicate that Disney decided to attempt to listen to those concerns, though the outcome might not please all audience members.

Disney is making an effort to embrace diversity in both ethnicities and genders in its recent remakes, which has also prompted even more criticism from some. The “lost boys” in the Peter Pan & Wendy movie released on Disney Plus features girls, children of color, and a boy with Down’s Syndrome among their ranks. The Little Mermaid, of course, is played by actress Halle Bailey (who dealt with criticism as well), and now the live-action Snow White casting backlash is out in full force as Disney is being criticized for not all seven dwarfs being played by dwarf actors as well as Zegler, who is of Colombian descent, being cast as Snow White.

The comments aimed at Zegler typically regard her not having “skin white as snow.” Zegler has responded to those criticisms by encouraging her fans not to tag her on social media when defending her casting against the racist backlash. She’s likely been inundated with comments from fans and critics alike since being cast in the role. Instead, she’s shared images of herself in princess costumes as a child, including Snow White, telling those that come across the posts, “I hope every child knows they can be a princess, no matter what.”

The first official look at Show White was presented at D23 Expo later that year, but it wasn’t released outside the convention. Viewers were treated to a look at Snow White, her cottage, the Evil Queen, and the woods that form the primary setting for the movie. General audiences will have to wait to see the cast in action though.

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Live-Action Snow White Release Date

A blended image features Rachel Zegler in West Side Story and Disney's animated Snow White

In late 2022, Disney announced a slew of release dates for their upcoming movies over the next few years, including multiple live-action remakes. While Mufasa: The Lion King will hit theaters in July 2024, Snow White will land in theaters before that, and is scheduled for release on March 22, 2024. Filming wrapped in July 2022 just before Rachel Zegler began filming Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, so it’s unlikely that the live-action Snow White remake’s release date will be affected by striking unions in Hollywood.

Disney’s Live-Action Snow White Cast

A blended image features Rachel Zegler in front of two views of the Disney animated Snow White.

Stepping into the director’s chair for Disney’s live-action Snow White remake is Marc Webb, known for the Amazing Spider-Man movies starring Andrew Garfield. Penning the script is Greta Gerwig, who also co-wrote Margot Robbie’s upcoming Barbie movie, along with Erin Cressida Wilson, who wrote the Julianne Moore thriller Chloe.

Disney’s live-action Snow White remake cast wasn’t fully announced, but key roles were, including the lead. Rachel Zegler, who played Maria in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, will star as Snow White. Zegler has admitted she was initially terrified to take on the role of playing Disney’s first animated princess in live-action because “the blueprint of all Disney’s princesses comes from 1937’s Snow White,” but she took on the role despite the pressure.

While Zegler is still a rising name, adding some bigger star power to the Snow White cast is Gal Gadot, who is set to play the dastardly villain the Evil Queen, also commonly referred to as the Wicked Queen. Playing a villain inspired by an animated character, and being a villain, has allowed Gadot to play around with her acting style more than usual. Gadot has even explained in interviews that she’s changed her voice for the role.

Broadway star Andrew Burnap will portray a new love interest character named Jonathan, who is described as Robin Hood-esque. Finally, Martin Klebba —a veteran of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise — will play Grumpy.

Martin Klebba has actually appeared in multiple Snow White adaptations in the past. He appeared in 2012’s Mirror, Mirror, and 2001’s Snow White: The Fairest Of Them All. Though he was announced as cast as Grumpy, following Peter Dinklage’s criticism of Snow White’s treatment of the seven dwarves being backward in the many adaptations that came before, Klebba is now also listed as a technical advisor for the movie instead of an actor. Klebba, however, confirmed his casting himself at Denver Expo in 2022 and had already finished filming his scenes at the time.

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Snow White Story: How The Live-Action Remake Will Update Disney’s Classic

The prince deliver's true love's kiss to awaken Snow White in the Disney Classic

In the original story of Snow White, the princess is targeted by her stepmother because of her vanity. Snow White is beloved and termed “the fairest of them all” by a magic mirror. The Evil Queen sends a huntsman after Snow White, who ends up escaping into the woods and living with seven dwarfs who mine gemstones. When the queen eventually tracks her down, a poisoned apple sends Snow White into an enchanted sleep that can only be awakened by true love’s kiss. Much of that story is expected to make it into the Snow White live-action remake, but there will be some changes to Snow White.

As one might expect, the Snow White story will be made much more in line with modern sensibilities for Disney’s live-action remake. Snow White will no longer be a helpless damsel in distress needing to be saved by a handsome prince’s kiss. In fact, she will go to battle alongside Jonathan, her love interest for the movie. There is not much currently revealed about the story, but many of its more iconic Disney princess movie aspects are expected to remain largely the same. However, following the criticism of past portrayals of dwarfism in Snow White adaptations by Peter Dinklage, Disney said the seven dwarfs will be getting an overhaul.

The Live-Action Snow White Is Still A Musical

Original animated Snow White talkings to an old lady in Snow White

Because the live-action Snow White adaptation is based on the original Disney animated movie, it will also be a musical. The original film features Snow White’s standouts “Whistle While You Work” and “Someday My Prince Will Come.” The music of the original movie is expected to be featured in the new film as well, but there will also be new songs created just for the live-action adaptation. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul worked on music for the movie. Their previous credits include Dear Evan Hansen, The Greatest Showman, La La Land, and Spirited.

Related: Why Snow White Is Still The Best Disney Princess Movie

There’s No Live-Action Snow White Trailer Yet

A blended image features Gal Gadot in front of Disney animated character the Evil Queen and her Old Witch counterpart in Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.

Though brief footage was shared at D23, fans are a long way off from getting to see a trailer for the movie. It’s likely a teaser will drop for the movie in about the same time frame that Disney utilized to tease their The Little Mermaid adaptation. A teaser trailer for the movie debuted eight months before the theatrical release date. That means August 2023 is a good bet for a Snow White trailer.