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Will America ever be ready for diversity among iconic characters in the movies?

By Derpetta V. Greene

When it was announced that actor Michael B. Jordan is set to take on the role of Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four reboot, the earth nearly stopped spinning. There was so much outrage from movie goers and comic readers alike, I though the project was close to being canceled. While I’m not sure how the movie is going to turn out, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to where Hollywood could make some real changes. So I applaud the casting directors of this film for taking a big risk. It is very possible that this could open the floodgates to diversifying other iconic roles in cinema. This has become a well-trod topic among comic book geeks and movie goers alike and will continue to persist until attitudes change. Casting is about, or, should be about the person that is the best fit for the job shouldn’t it?


Would it have really been that painful to imagine Wonder Woman being played by one of these actresses?

Paula Patton and Katrina Law

Would you decide to skip out on viewing the new James Bond film just because this actor is cast?


Idris Elba is the perfect replacement for Daniel Craig

Robert Downey Jr. Is not going to be playing Iron Man forever. Maybe one of these men would be a suitable replacement.


Will Smith or Benjamin Bratt? Either could work in my opinion.

Forget about black and white. All I want to see are talented, capable actors. The naysayers will shout:

  • “No, don’t change the character’s race! It will change EVERYTHING!”
  • “Theses characters are already established as Caucasian!”
  • “What if we change the race of characters that are already established as black to white!”

I have heard all of this and more. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, these are not strong arguments if you are looking at the bigger picture. Here is why:

These characters are already established as Caucasian. Why change them?! Saying this may mean that an individual has got accustomed to sameness. Remember, perception is everything. Think about how things would gave turned out if your favorite cinematic character’s origin stories were written differently. Think about what attracted you to the character in the first place. Was it because you related to the character and their looks? Or something else?

Well, take already established minority characters, and make them Caucasian. Fair is fair! Understand that the caveat to this is Hollywood tends to whitewash enough realms of entertainment as it is. This is not just my opinion, this is fact. If you are a movie buff and interested in movie history you will know what I’m referring to.

A Film like that would flop at the box office. Every movie no matter who the star is, has potential to be a financial failure. Good actors are subject to poorly written scripts, or bad marketing campaigns, among other things. Luckily with the iconic film characters, the very name of the character can carry a film to financial success. Fans will see a Batman film, because it’s freakin’ BATMAN. Love or hate the actor, people will see it. The bottom line is the only thing that should matter is that the essence of the character is kept intact, nothing more.

Minority comic book characters aren’t noticed enough. Why not release films on some these already established characters of color, instead of recasting familiar characters? Understand there are a lot of popular Caucasian characters that exist, many of whom I like. Unfortunately, these characters far outweigh the number of popular characters of color in the mainstream film industry. This is why we need more heroes of color (and females) on the big screen! The point is to diversify across the board for complete and total inclusion.

To make things clear, I’m simply pointing out two things: the lack of diversity and risk taking within Hollywood.   I don’t suggest casting minorities for the sake of filling some type of quota, however, I’m question why they are not presented with more opportunities. This is not something that will happen overnight. These things are going to take time. If the ‘big wigs’ in Tinseltown could ever afford to be little open minded to the possibilities of change maybe things will get better for EVERYONE!

About Armand (1270 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill

3 Comments on Will America ever be ready for diversity among iconic characters in the movies?

  1. Oh good Lord! Is this discussion really needed again? Just make good movies and quit with all the PC worries.


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