The Wonder Years has found its new Kevin Arnold. Elisha “EJ” Williams has been tapped to star as Dean, the new Kevin in ABC’s The Wonder Years single-camera comedy reboot pilot, from Dave exec producer Saladin Patterson, Fred Savage and Empire co-creator Lee Daniels.
Savage, who played Kevin in the original dramedy series, has officially passed the torch to a new generation. You can watch of clip of Savage and Patterson delivering the good news to Williams below.
Written by Patterson and directed by Savage, the reboot of the classic 1980s family comedy-drama is set in the same era as the original. It looks at how the Williamses, a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, AL, in the turbulent late 1960s made sure it was the Wonder Years for them too.
Williams’ Dean 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.
Williams joins previously announced Saycon Sengbloh, who will play Dean’s mom.
Patterson and Savage executive produce along with Daniels and Marc Velez via Lee Daniels Entertainment. The original series’ co-creator Neal Marlens serves as a consultant. 20th Television is the studio.
Williams co-starred in Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger and Danger Force. He is also the voice of “Bingo”, the lead character in Disney Jr.’s hit animated series, Puppy Dog Pals. Born in the small town of Dunn, NC, Williams is the son of basketball legend, Harold “Lefty” Williams, founder of the world renowned Harlem Dreams show basketball team, and author and entrepreneur Shyneefa Williams. EJ Williams is repped by The Osbrink Agency and attorney, John Meigs.