Kristen Bell returns to Central Park

Kristen Bell will be making her return to Central Park during the show’s third season. The show, which was created, written, and executive produced by Josh Gad, Tituss Burgess, and Daveed Diggs, is an animated musical comedy that follows the Tillerman family. It is set to return on September 9th to Apple TV+.

The third season of the show will see entrepreneur Bitsy (Stanley Tucci) continue her relentless pursuit to purchase New York’s Central Park for the purpose of turning the space into condos and retail space. To stop those plans, park manager Owen Tillerman (Leslie Odom Jr.) will begin a promotional campaign to make more people fall in love with the space. At the same time, his wife Paige (Kathryn Hahn) will be busier than ever after she lands her first book deal.

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The show also stars Gad as Birdie, the show’s narrator, Diggs as Helen, Bitsy’s assistant, and Titus Burgess as Cole Tillerman, Paige and Owen’s son. Guest stars in the upcoming season 3 include Sam Richardson, Ike Barinholtz, Ben Schwartz, Zoë Chao, Ron Funches, Jack McBrayer, Amber Ruffin, Yvette Nicole Brown, Craig Robinson, Tim Meadows, and David Alan Grier.

Central Park: Then and Now

Bell will portray Paige’s younger sister Abby, which makes her the aunt of Bell’s original character, Molly. Molly is the biracial daughter of the family who loves sketching comic books that feature herself as a superhero. In 2020, Bell and the rest of the creative team decided to recast the character with a black or mixed-race actress. The news came hours after it was announced that Jenny Slate would be doing the same on Big Mough for her biracial character.

“Playing the character of Molly on Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege. Casting a mixed race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience. It was wrong and we, on the Central Park team, are pledging to make it right. I am happy to relinquish this role to someone who can give a much more accurate portrayal and I will commit to learning, growing and doing my part for equality and inclusion.” Bell wrote in an Instagram post.

Starting in season two, the role of Molly would be played by Emmy Raver-Lampman, who previously portrayed an actual superhero on The Umbrella Academy. Besides that, Raver-Lampman has quite a singing resume, having done live performances on stage for big such as Hair, Hamilton, and Wicked.

“It was a chance to, in real-time, do what you can to be on the right side of history,” Leslie Odom Jr. said to Entertainment Weekly prior to the season 2 premiere. “The world is going to change right under your feet. And as the world changes, if you want to evolve with it, if you want to grow, sometimes it requires new decisions to be made and letting certain things go and reimagining who you are and who you could be.”

“I applauded the decision,” Odom continued. “I thought it was one of those decisions of when you know better, do better. I welcomed my new baby girl. And I applauded the brilliant Kristen Bell. And we kept it rolling.”