Kumail Nanjiani Tackles Fairy Tale Classics In Indie Feature Sidekicks: EXCLUSIVE

Supporting characters from everyone's favorite fairy tales team up to save the day in Sidekicks, a film in development by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon.

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon are working on a big-budget independent feature about storybook supporting characters, appropriately titled Sidekicks.

Fairy tales never go out of fashion, but the spotlight shines all too rarely on the trusty sidekicks rather than the heroes of lore. Despite the fact that just as many people leave films like Frozen 2 with iconic scenes of Olaf or Sven playing in their mind, there’s no easy way to step out from under a protagonist’s shadow. But what if that towering champion was out of the way for just a moment, or a whole movie?


The Illuminerdi has learned that Chernin Entertainment has set just such a story in motion, and they’ve got some big names in film and fiction to do it. With a proposed start date as early as Summer of 2020 and a proposed budget of $100 million dollars, we are sure to see Hollywood legends and up-and-comers alike joining forces to go on a mythic quest to save their favorite heroes and stop their stories from being rewritten.

Sidekicks appears to already have gone through a few revisions, but is currently being written by the powerhouse husband-wife duo of Nanjiani and Gordon (The Big Sick) and set to be directed by Jeff Tomsic (Tag).

sidekicks characters

The Sidekicks Become The Heroes

Of course, any Marvel fan worth their salt knows that Kumail Nanjiani isn’t just a comedian and screenwriter. He’s also a great actor with a meaty role in The Eternals, for which he bulked up quite nicely.

Sounds like that killer physique will be of use to him here, because he’s attached to play the Woodsman. Fairytale lovers may be more familiar with the Huntsman who failed to kill Snow White, in this iteration they will meet his fun-loving and wacky brother who happens to be in love with…

Tinkerbell, the brave and resilient fairy who leads the ragtag team on the mission to protect their destinies. While Anna Kendrick was previously in talks to play the role, at the moment it’s looking to be Zazie Beetz. The actress has already impressed viewers with her range giver her eclectic roles in Atlanta, Deadpool and Joker – it’s exciting to think of what she can do with a starring turn like this one. Also, it’d be ironic to see two different DC ladies playing the same character, wouldn’t it?


Granted, anywhere those two appear, the Huntsman and Peter Pan are sure to be near. But this ain’t about them, since they’ve been kidnapped by Captain Hook, so instead the merry band of Sidekicks includes Slappy. He may not ring a bell, but it turns out he’s actually one of the Seven Dwarfs who… slaps people for fun. Perhaps they’re a little edgier in this version, no? Currently, Zach Galifianakis is set to play the somewhat violent dwarf.

Every successful D&D campaign could do with a sorcerer, and thankfully this one has Merlin onboard. The once wise old wizard has traded magic spells for ale spills, as he now owns a tavern after retiring from a life of solemn servitude. Will Ferrell seems to be the man in mind for the role, which will be a treat to witness in and of itself.

sidekicks cast

Can There Be A Happily Ever After?

As previously mentioned, there has been a lot of back and forth on this project up to now, so it’s unclear how permanent the current cast is. Nanjiani and Gordon are far from the first writers to take a swing at Sidekicks, and tragically the film already missed out on Daveed Diggs as Captain Hook – can you imagine how perfect that would be?


If all goes well, though, a few months from now fans will see set photos of an answer to Disney’s most famous associates that’s not actually produced by them. Either way, though, The Illuminerdi will keep an eye on developments and report back when there’s news.

Are you loving the idea of Sidekicks, or would you rather Enchanted 2 just hurry up already? Let us know in the comments below.


Picture of Tatiana Hullender

Tatiana Hullender

Tatiana is an editor for The Illuminerdi, as well as a co-host of several podcasts. She is passionate about superheroes and space operas, as well as Jane Austen and kdramas. Visit @myrcellasear on Twitter to follow Tatiana’s articles, interviews and podcasts including: The Flash Podcast, Pop A La Carte and Ladies With Gumption. Subscribe to them on the Podcast app!