Elisha “EJ” Williams will play the central role in the pilot, which is set in the same time 1960s time period as the iconic 1988-93 series but centers on a Black family in Montgomery, Alabama. The show comes from writer Saladin K. Patterson (The Big Bang Theory, The Bernie Mac Show) and executive producer Lee Daniels.
Williams will play Dean, 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.
He joins Saycon Sengbloh (In the Dark), who will play Dean’s mother, Lillian, in the show’s cast.
Fred Savage, who played the lead role in the original Wonder Years and is directing the pilot for the new show, broke the news to Williams that he got the role (watch a video below).
Patterson, Daniels, Savage and Marc Velez, president of Lee Daniels Entertainment, are executive producing The Wonder Years. Neal Marlens, who co-created the original series, is a consultant. Disney’s 20h Television, where both Daniels and Savage have overall deals, is the studio.
Williams voices one of the two lead characters in Disney Junior’s Puppy Dog Pals and has guest starred on Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger and Danger Force. He’s repped by The Osbrink Agency and attorney John Meigs.