Rachel Zegler is the latest actress to play the fairest of them all — and now, we have our first look at the West Side Story star as Disney's first princess.
Disney released the first image from its upcoming live-action reimagining of Snow White. It's the first time we've officially seen Zegler in the princess' iconic blue-and-yellow dress, as well as our first glimpse at the seven dwarfs. The film, directed by Marc Webb and co-starring Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen, is now set to release on March 21, 2025 — almost a year after its previous release date, March 22, 2024.
The image features Zegler's Snow White in what appears to be the dwarfs' cottage, surrounded by all seven of her diminutive companions: Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, and Sneezy.
Disney Rachel Zegler in 'Snow White'
Despite this being our first official look at the film, Snow White has already been subject to substantial criticism. Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage expressed his disapproval for the film last year. "You're still making that f---ing backwards story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together, what the f--- are you doing, man? Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soap box? I guess I'm not loud enough," he said in an interview with Marc Maron. All love and respect to the actress and all the people who thought they were doing the right thing. But I'm just like, what are you doing?"
Disney responded to Dinklage's criticism with a statement provided to EW. "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," a Disney spokesperson said. "We look forward to sharing more as the film heads into production after a lengthy development period."
Now, it looks as though the dwarfs in the upcoming film are fairly faithful visual translations of the characters from the 1937 animated film, with significant CGI assistance to emphasize the dwarfs' exaggerated features.
In an interview with EW at D23 in 2022, Zegler addressed the elements of the original animated movie that now seem dated. "The reality is that the cartoon was made 85 years ago, and therefore is extremely dated when it comes to the ideas of women being in roles of power and what a woman is fit for in the world," Zegler told EW. "And so when we came to reimagining the actual role of Snow White, it became about 'the fairest of them all' meaning who is the most just, and who can become a fantastic leader."
Zegler's comments went viral this summer, prompting extreme pushback from skeptics online, as well as a disapproving statement from David Hale Hand, the son of the original film's supervising director David Dodd Hand. "I mean, it's a whole different concept, and I just totally disagree with it, and I know my dad and Walt would also very much disagree with it," the 91-year-old told The Telegraph.
The studio is honoring the legacy of its first animated feature in a number of ways this year. Disney recently released a new 4K restoration of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Disney+ to celebrate the studio's 100th anniversary.
Additionally, the filmmakers behind the studio's upcoming animated film Wish told EW that their film is heavily inspired by the 1937 movie. "When the idea came up of [Asha, the main character,] having a group of friends, we thought, 'Well, it's the 100th anniversary. Could we do seven friends? Can we actually do this?'" co-director Chris Buck told EW. The creative team crafted seven new characters that each physically resemble one of the dwarfs — and each of the characters' names shares a first initial with their dwarf counterpart.
Snow White hits theaters March 21, 2025.
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