Disney's live-action version of the classic tale "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is still in production despite the uproar of backlash the film has received and disruptions in production due to the recent SAG-AFTRA strikes.
The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, also known as SAG-AFTRA, unionized in July to fight for better pay and fair contracts.
They also sought to improve working conditions, especially with streaming and artificial intelligence continuously altering the media production landscape.
The strikes halted production on many blockbuster films, including "Deadpool 3," "Wicked," "It Ends with Us" and the live-action adaptation of Disney's "Snow White," which was initially set to release March 22, 2024, but has since been delayed to March 21, 2025.
However, the issues with the film's production are deeper than just the strikes. While some fans are excited to see "Snow White" come to life, many are worried about the creative liberties taken with the beloved story.
The remake is titled "Snow White," dropping the "seven dwarfs" from the title altogether. The film will only feature one actor with dwarfism, Martin Klebba, while the rest of Snow White's crew is composed of "companions," none of whom have dwarfism.
The casting choice immediately sparked backlash, amplified when "Game of Thrones" actor Peter Dinklage, a prominent actor with dwarfism, discussed the casting of the dwarfs in his appearance on a podcast with Marc Maron.
"Literally no offense to anything, but I was sort of taken aback," he said. "They were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White, but you're still telling the story of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' Take a step back and look at what you're doing there. It makes no sense to me. You're progressive in one way, but you're still making that f—-ing backward story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together. Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soapbox? I guess I'm not loud enough."
A Disney spokesperson responded to backlash about the casting choices, hoping to appease the public and Dinklage's concerns.
"To avoid reinforcing stereotypes from the original animated film, we are taking a different approach with these seven characters and have been consulting with members of the dwarfism community," the Disney spokesperson said.
Many fans wish the film could've given opportunities to aspiring actors with dwarfism, an underrepresented group of people, particularly in Hollywood. On top of that, the dwarfs weren't the only casting choice criticized by the public.
When the film was announced, Rachel Zegler received racist backlash from those who believed Zegler's skin was too dark to play Snow White. Zegler, of Colombian and Polish descent, responded to the backlash on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"Extremely appreciative of the love I feel from those defending me online, but please don't tag me in the nonsensical discourse about my casting," Zegler said. "I really, truly do not want to see it. I hope every child knows they can be a princess no matter what."
On the other hand, some found Zegler's comments about the film off-putting, and the actress received flak online. In another interview with Entertainment Weekly, Zegler commented on her previous experiences with the original film.
"I was scared of the original cartoon," Zegler said. "I think I watched it once and then I never picked it up again. I watched it for the first time in probably 16-17 years when I was doing this film."
In another interview with Variety, Zegler discussed changes being made in the live-action from the original film.
"It's no longer 1937 ... (Snow White) is not going to be saved by the prince,” Zegler said. “And she's not going to be dreaming about true love. She's dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be."
Discourse circulated online about Zegler's comments, with many users calling her disrespectful to the original classic tale. Between the casting choices and creative liberties taken, some believe the film is too far gone to be saved.
While some viewers enjoy seeing their favorite classic films come to life, others have grown fatigued by Disney's adaptations. The company has faced backlash in recent years for its uninspired plots, often opting for a remake of an older movie over a fresh storyline.
Many have called out Disney for continuously recycling old characters and storylines and relying on nostalgia for a cash grab instead of producing new and original content to enhance Disney's cinematic universe.
Because of this, Disney's recent movies have been tanking at the box office, and the company is struggling financially. Between the divisive casting choices and ongoing strikes, rumors quickly spread that Disney canceled production of the movie completely, and the company planned to scrap any previous content.
However, as of Nov. 9, a negotiation was reached, effectively ending the SAG-AFTRA strikes and resuming production on the anticipated upcoming releases.
As of now, Disney has not canceled production on "Snow White." The film is set to premiere in 2025, albeit without some features that made the original "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" an enduring Disney masterpiece.