‘Lilo & Stitch’ Fans Can Put Down the Pitchforks After the Live-Action Remake Casts Cobra Bubbles

Ving Rhames as Cobra Bubbles in Lilo & Stitch

Image via Walt Disney

Any live-action adaptation of a beloved animated Disney classic will rub certain fans of the original the wrong way, no matter how good it promises to be. Disney’s resurrection of Lilo & Stitch in particular, though, has caused a nasty case of razor burn, one which doesn’t seem to be soothed by the recent casting announcement of Courtney B. Vance as the fan-favorite character Cobra Bubbles. 

It was previously assumed that Cobra Bubbles was axed from the movie after actress Jolene Purdy was rumored to play a child services-type character, a role that Cobra Bubbles occupied in the original. The reaction to that was as swift as it was fiery. 

Despite not being the case — and despite being arguably the most accurate casting decision the adaptation has seen thus far — Vance’s casting as the CIA agent turned social worker, which was reported by Deadline, still has many in the fandom questioning why we’re at this juncture yet again; why does Disney continue to produce live-action remakes of films that stand perfectly fine on their own?

The adaptation has been plagued by complaints that Hollywood has nothing else to offer other than regurgitated reboots. In addition to Lilo & Stitch, Disney is also breathing new life into a Moana live-action adaptation starring none other than Dwayne Johnson, and Warner Bros. Disney confirmed the serialized reboot of Harry Potter on HBO. On top of that, Twilight was greenlit for a serialized reboot just today.

Indeed, moviegoers are growing both weary and irritated with the endless pursuit of unoriginal content.

Known for his Emmy awards for both Lovecraft Country and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Vance’s ability to bring the character of Cobra Bubbles to life, which was originally voiced by Ving Rhames, is without question. That’s not the issue. 

The issue at present — in addition to being yet another live-action adaptation — involves accusations from fans that Disney is whitewashing this dark-skinned Hawaiian cast with actors whose skin tones are paler than their animated counterparts. Just last week Disney cast Lilo’s older sister Nani with actress Sydney Elizabeth Agudong, and fans were quick to point out the obvious whitewashing.

Then, days later, actor Kahiau Machado was cast as Nani’s love interest, and a similar conversion erupted online. Although Vance’s casting does not add fodder to this conversation, it nevertheless reaches a fandom that is all but at its wits’ end.  

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