By Da CogNegro
With the release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron around the corner, everyone is being whipped into a frenzy about any tidbit of news related to the future of comic book adaptations. However, recent surfacing of pictures of Jason Momoa as Aquaman ,the announcement of Will Smith as the villainous Deadshot and other murmurings of traditionally white characters possibly being played by actors of color, have resulted in some vehement and vitriolic feedback. Recently, Michelle Rodriguez, of Fast and Furious fame, was questioned about circulating rumors regarding her role in the upcoming Green Lantern movie. After scoffing at the question, she proceeded to state that "minorities need to stop stealing white super hero roles!"
I find this to be quite odd that Michelle would have this complaint being that she is of Latino descent herself. Anyway, she attempted to clear the air by posting an apology video on Facebook explaining that she meant no harm with her perceived, inflammatory statements. Rather, she just wants Hollywood to stop being "lazy" and for minorities to create their own "mythology" when it comes to superhero lore. I agree...to an extent!
As an avid comic book fan for the past twenty-seven years , I am a stickler for authenticity when it comes to adapting the material for the silver screen. These stories and characters have worked for decades and have a faithful following. Switching the mythology of these characters for the sake of being radical, "PC" or drawing in a new crowd is nothing more than diluting and butchering the source material that we have grown to love! I understand that slight "retconing" may be needed in order to feel a tad bit more contemporary. For example, the original setting of Iron Man's origin was the Vietnam War not War in the Afghanistan as depicted in the movie. However, some changes are being done simply for shock and controversy under the guise of "equality"For example, Micheal B. Jordan, who is a fantastic actor, has been cast as Johnny Storm in the upcoming clusterf.....I mean adaption/reboot of the Fantastic Four. Now for those who aren't familiar with the origin of Marvel's first family, Scientist Reed Richards is accompanied by, his then girlfriend, Susan Storm, her BROTHER Johnny Storm and college friend Benjamin Grimm on a mission to space. Of course, things don't go according to plan and they are soon stranded on a strange planet after their ship is bombarded with cosmic rays. As a result, they are all bestowed with fantastic powers. In the Fantastic Four comic, Sue and Johnny Storm are Caucasian siblings. I have no idea how the movie will explain the relationship between a black Johnny Storm and a white Sue Storm and frankly, no explanation will be rational or, in this instance, convoluted enough for me to accept it. I felt the same exact way when the late Micheal Clark Duncan was cast as the villainous Kingpin in Marvel's Daredevil.We get upset when Caucasians are cast as characters of other ethnicities because it's deemed offensive and inaccurate. Therefore, the same ire should be raised when actors and actresses of color are used to portray characters that are originally Caucasian.
However Ms. Rodriguez , there is a plethora of diverse comic book heroes and heroines that Hollywood can adapt into feature films. Therefore, there is no need for a new mythology to be created because it already exist. For example, in 1993, Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan introduced the Milestone Imprint under DC Comics. Milestone featured a cornucopia of characters that included the the heroic Icon, the inventive genius of Hardware, vigilantes known as Blood Syndicate and the most popular hero of the lot : Static!
|Milestone's Debut Line of Comics|
Not conventional enough for your liking? Well how about Marvel's Night Thrasher! By day ,Dwayne Taylor is a philanthropist who runs the charitable Taylor Foundation. By night, he is the armored hero poised to challenge the scourge of urban decay!
What about Living Lighting and Cecilia Reyes? Both have served as either as an X-Men or Avenger and are of Latino heritage!
Even as it relates to sexual orientation, Northstar and Shatterstar are two gay males that have been integral heroes in the mutant community!
So no Michelle, it's is not a fact that actors of color are "stealing" these particular roles. The true issue is that Hollywood fails to utilize the surplus of diverse characters for its' projects. If this was done, there would be no need to cast "minorities" as characters already established as being Caucasian. You can simply just use these actors for characters that already exist!
Fortunately, it seems that Hollywood, or at least Marvel Studios, is listening to the fans' pleas to showcase more diverse heroes with the planned release of both Black Panther and Ms. Marvel. It definitely shows a true effort to explore the various facets of the comic universe and allows those who believe that they are not presented in such a heroic capacity to truly be represented by characters that were originally meant for them. Besides, I can not wait until small suburban children beg their parents to dress up as a "Black Panther" for Halloween!
|Um Jimmy dear, isn't there a nice Spiderman costume that mommy can buy for you instead?|