ABC’s The Wonder Years has set Don Cheadle as the adult Dean Williams and narrator of the upcoming reboot series.
Leading The Wonder Years reboot as the young Dean Williams is Elisha ‘EJ’ Williams, who was cast earlier this month. Dean is described as an inquisitive and hopeful 12-year-old who’s coming of age in a turbulent time and trying to figure out his place both within his family and in the larger world. Dean is a little insecure, a tad awkward, and a bit self-conscious, but he is determined to make his mark on the world around him. The new series focuses on a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama, during the heightened times of the late 1960’s — the same era as the original series.
The coming-of-age comedy hails from Dave executive producer Saladin K. Patterson, Empire co-creator Lee Daniels, the star of the original series, Fred Savage, and 20th Century Fox TV. Savage, who played the lead role in the original Wonder Years, is set to direct the pilot episode.
Other stars include Dulé Hill and Saycon Sengbloh as Dean’s parents, with Laura Kariuki playing Kim Williams, Dean’s teenage sister.
Patterson will executive produce alongside Daniels, Savage, and Marc Velez, via Lee Daniels Entertainment. Neal Marlens, the co-creator of the original series, will serve as a consultant.
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The original Wonder Years aired from 1988 to 1993 on ABC for six seasons and over 100 episodes. It revolved around the Arnold family, with Savage starring as the youngest child Kevin. As a part of the show’s unique way of presenting its story, Daniel Stern provided the voice of Kevin as an adult, with the show serving as a look back on his childhood growing up in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The show tackled many of the issues that plague the mind of a young man looking to survive adolescence, such as first love, difficult lessons learned, and how to remain hopeful in times that are harsh and unpredictable. Throughout its time on the air, The Wonder Years had been awarded a Peabody Award, multiple Humanitas Prizes, four Emmy Awards, and a Golden Globe for its comedic excellence and desire to deliver a timely series with a lot of heart.
You can currently catch Don Cheadle reprising his role as James “Rhodey” Rhodes in Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series on Disney+. He’s also set to play the villain Al-G Rhythm in Space Jam: A New Legacy.