Baptise actress Talisa Garcia has become the first known openly trans actress to be cast by Disney in a Lucasfilm project, Deadline has learned.
Garcia has been cast in the upcoming Disney+ Willow sequel series, which is now in post-production, a princess assembles a party to join her on a quest to rescue her twin brother. Garcia will play a Queen and the mother to Tony Revolori’s character who takes part in the quest. Garcia’s role is a small speaking part and the actress may ultimately only appear in one episode.
What is really is special is the trade is reporting the casting also marks the first known time a trans actor has portrayed a cis character in a Disney+ film or series. During the shoot, we hear there was pride and support among many of Garcia’s colleagues about her casting. To clear up any uproar, Garcia was cast long before the storm developed surrounding Disney’s response to the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill and new wave of concerns emerged about on-screen representation in Disney productions.
Last year, Raya And The Last Dragon actress Patti Harrison became the first known trans actor to voice a character in a Disney animated movie. More recently, non-binary trans actor iris menas portrayed Anybodys in 20th Century Studios’ West Side Story. Last year, Chloe Zhao’s film Eternals featured the first-ever gay superhero in a MCU movie – with Brian Tyree Henry taking on the role of Eternal and inventor Phastos.
Directed by Stephen Woolfenden (Outlander) series will see the return of Warwick Davis as Willow Ufgood in the 1988 fantasy classic. Also set to star is Ellie Bamber (The Nutcracker and the Four Realms), Ruby Cruz (Mare of Easttown), Erin Kellyman (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier), Amer Chadha-Patel (Aladdin), and Tony Revolori (Spider-Man: Far From Home)
As of now, details on the follow up are being kept under wraps. Though based on various production grids, the series will follow a group on a mission to save a kidnapped prince. The members of the team include Dove (Bamber), an unassuming kitchen maid who proves she is the “chosen one” as she embarks on the journey. She is joined by Kit (Cruz), the princess whose twin brother was abducted. Kit is destined to be a leader and ultimately the queen. Kellyman plays Jade, a servant who is Kit’s best friend and moral compass. Chadha-Patel will play the fourth member of the group, Boorman, who echoes Val Kilmer’s character in the movie. Boorman is a thief and liar who joins the quest in exchange for getting out of prison.
Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Jonathan Kasdan, Wendy Mericle, Ron Howard and Imagine Television will also serve as executive producers, with Roopesh Parekh and Hannah Friedman as co-executive producers. Additionally, Bob Dolman will serve as consulting producer with Julia Cooperman as producer.