The reboot of The Wonder Years has found its new version of Kevin Arnold with original star Fred Savage passing the torch to child actor Elisha “EJ” Williams. On Monday, it was revealed that Williams has signed on to star as “Dean,” the central character of the reboot series that essentially serves as the new Kevin. Savage, who serves as director on the new series, can be seen informing Williams he’s gotten the role in a video from ABC.
“We got you on this Zoom because we wanted to welcome you to the family, and tell you that it’s your turn to be the star of The Wonder Years,” Fred Savage tells Williams.
Writer and executive producer Saladin K. Patterson added: “It’s kind of like the passing of the torch, right? From one generation of The Wonder Years to another one. I cannot tell you how blessed we are that you are going to be part of this one.”
Williams is the second cast member announced for The Wonder Years reboot, joining Saycon Sengbloh who was also revealed to play Dean’s mom. Dean, Williams’ character, is an “inquisitive and hopeful 12-year-old kid coming of age in a turbulent time. It’s 1968 in Montgomery, Alabama – and Dean is trying to figure out his place within his Black family and the world at large. Though a little insecure, a tad awkward and a bit self-conscious, he is determined to make his mark on the world around him.”
The reboot will be similarly be set in the late 1960s but from the point of view of a Black middle-class family living in Montgomery, Alabama. In the original version, Savage played Kevin Arnold, a young boy growing up in a suburban middle-class family during the same time period. The series co-starred Dan Lauria as Jack Arnold, Alley Mills as Norma, Olivia d’Abo as Karen, Jason Hervey as Wayne, Josh Saviano as Paul Pfeiffer, and Danica McKellar as Winnie Cooper. Home Alone star Daniel Stern narrated the series as an adult version of Kevin.
An instant hit, the original Wonder Years won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series after its first six episodes had aired. Savage was also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor, becoming the youngest actor ever nominated for the award. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest TV shows of all time with a tremendous impact on the television industry, influencing the format of many other shows for years to come.
We’ve previously seen Williams co-starring in Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger and Danger Force. The young actor also provides the voice of Bingo in the Disney Jr. animated series Puppy Dog Pals. He is the son of basketball legend Harold “Lefty” Williams, founder of the Harlem Dreams show basketball team.
The new incarnation of The Wonder Years is written by Patterson and directed by Savage, with the two executive producing alongside Lee Daniels and Marc Velez of Lee Daniels Entertainment. Original Wonder Years co-creator Neal Marlens serves as a creative consultant and 20th Television is the studio behind the project. This news comes to us from Deadline.
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