The Wonder Years reboot finds its young star in Elisha 'EJ' Williams
Williams got the life-changing news on a Zoom call with original Wonder Years star Fred Savage.
On Monday, the star of the '80s and '90s coming-of-age dramedy hopped on a Zoom call to break the news to young actor Elisha "EJ" Williams that he landed the lead role in ABC's upcoming The Wonder Years reboot.
"We got you on this Zoom because we wanted to welcome you to the family and tell you that it's your turn to be the star of The Wonder Years," Savage said. "It's your part, man."
"Oh my God, thank you," an overjoyed Williams replied. Though he couldn't help but comment on Savage's internet collection: "I would be enjoying this a whole lot more if you did not just lag. It lagged just a little bit."
Set in Montgomery, Ala., in 1968, the reboot will star Williams as Dean, "an inquisitive and hopeful 12-year-old who is trying to figure out his place within his Black family and the world at large," according to a news release. Although Dean is "a little insecure, a tad awkward, and a bit self-conscious," he's also "determined to make his mark on the world around him."
The original Wonder Years, which ran from 1988 to 1993, starred Savage as Kevin Arnold, a middle-class suburban teenager growing up during the late 1960s and early '70s. Savage is serving as an executive producer on the reboot, and directing the pilot.
Executive producer and pilot writer Saladin K. Patterson also snuck onto the Zoom call to congratulate Williams. "This is the first of many many great days we're doing to have with you," he said.
Williams' previous credits include 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.
Back in 2019, Savage opened up on PeopleTV's Couch Surfing about how he secured his Wonder Years role.
"They went back and forth on it for a long time," Savage said, noting that his parents were concerned about how their lives, and Savage's, would change if the show became a success. But ultimately, "My mom told me that my dad was like, 'If we see this on TV and some other kid is doing that part, could we live with that?' And they're like, 'No.'"
Check out our daily must-see picks — plus news, celeb interviews, trivia, and more — in EW's What to Watch podcast, hosted by Gerrad Hall.