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Lee Daniel's 'Wonder Years' reboot adds Elisha "EJ" Williams to star as series lead

The Wonder Years title.
(Image credit: ABC)

Lee Daniel’s reboot of The Wonder Years has found its lead actor for the main character. Elisha “EJ” Williams will play the central role of Dean in the pilot. The reboot of the original ABC series will be set in the 1960s and will focus on a Black Family in Montgomery, Alabama. The show comes from writer Saladin K. Patterson who previously worked on series like The Big Bang Theory and The Bernie Mac Show. Lee Daniels is the executive producer. 

Elisha "EJ" Williams headshot.

(Image credit: Debi Patton/Flygirl Photography)

Dean is described as a curious 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.

Elisha “EJ” Williams joins In the Dark’s Saycon Sengbloh, who will play Dean’s mother, Lillian. He follows Fred Savage, who played the lead role in the original Wonder Years. Savage is directing the pilot for the new show. 

The original Wonder Years ran for six seasons on ABC from 1988-1993 and focused on the Arnolds, a middle-class white suburban family. Along with Savage, it starred Dan Lauria, Alley Mills, Jason Hervey, Olivia d’Abo, Josh Saviano, and Danica McKellar. Daniel Stern provided the narration as a grown-up Kevin.

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 is no stranger to the industry. He 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