It's always exciting to see a piece of work that I love and admire adapted into the silver screen and with the improvement of technology, CGI and the movie industry as a whole we're started to see more and more great stories, that we could only imagine, come to life before our very own eyes. There have been a lot of literature and comic book adaptations in Hollywood over the years and the successful ones shared one simple characteristic: accuracy.
The studios like Warner Bros. and Disney have proven that the more you are accurate to your base material the more successful your movie can be... I understand that the massive blockbuster movies can't exactly be same as the comic books as it would not fit the idea of cinema. But this studios have been accurate to their material and succeeded in the box office, as fans enjoy seeing accurate depictions of their favorite characters. So when you see any person from any nationality saying that they didn't like the race changed version of his/her favorite character, don't be so quick to label him/her as a racist. They are more likely just upset the characters they have been waiting for years adapted into a live action movie isn't as accurate as they dreamed. It's about casting the right actor to the role whether it be Batman, Superman, Abraham Lincoln or Malcolm X. Whoever they need to cast would be who looks, feels and acts like their literature counterpart. In today’s world major studios do that with changing the characters race.
I can accept this racial change if only that decision makes the movie, the plot and the character better, more appealing. Recently, there has been a lot of talk about diversity in Hollywood mainly in the superhero movies, the most money-making films today. There has been talks of gender diversity as well as race diversity and so on... I couldn't agree more that we need diversity, especially in the blockbuster movies and actually we're getting that diversity slowly. But here is where it starts to crack down; when this becomes a money-making scheme and loses all its true meaning. The studios don't see any color except for green, they just want the money and the reason why we started to get diversity is because there is demand for it. It's all about studios image, it has become a race amongst studios that which one will have the most diverse cast.
You can see this in all the comic book related mediums; they started to write Afro-American Captain America story arcs, they casted a non-accurate Flash in "Batman v Superman" and a more non-accurate version of the Kid Flash in the Flash TV series, the all-female charactered Spider-Man universe movie that Sony plans to do are not actually trying to be diverse they are just cheap tricks to pass on society's demands as well as fulling their pockets. The first example of this fake diversity was casting of Michael B. Jordan in the last Fantastic Four movie. People argued that you can change a characters race as long as it doesn't affect the storyline, plot or the characters relationship with others and I agree with that idea. But the fact that Joe Storm and Sue Storm are siblings has a huge importance for the story and it's a insult to the original material. But it is not because that I don't love Michael B. Jordan or I think he is not a good actor. I was against it too because that was a fake diversity attempt.
If those studios really want to have diversity in their movies it should make perfect sense or be the perfect choice for the role like Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury or Michael Clarke Duncan's Kingpin even Lawrence Fishbourne's Perry White in the Man of Steel, these are real attempts for diversity and change. When an actor is perfect for the role it isn't faked diversity and I must say I'm pretty hopeful for Jason Momoa's Aquaman.
But some characters are legends, they are so engraved in the pop culture as their own characteristics that they may ever exist as real people in real life history. Just like you can't cast a fat or bald person as Superman you can't change his race in order to gain viewers attention. If the studios wants to bring a true diversity to Hollywood I really want these characters not to be called Superman, Batman or Spider-Man, they should be unique and original characters. They should be unknown and original, these characters need to engrave themselves into the pop culture the way Guardians of the Galaxy did. Changing a characters gender, race or characteristics but keeping the name not only laziness but also degrading in all ways as it will be insulting to the writer, artist and even the character as it will always be remembered as the second best or "that version" of the character. It's just taking advantage of that characters popularity...
If the movie industry wants true diversity they should give original characters to shine and create more opportunities to young artists in the business. There are countless great characters with unique stories. Let us see Blue Beetle, Static Shock, Ms. Marvel or Namor on the big screen. We need more diversity of course but not for studios to show off. We need true, meaningful diversity and I have great hope for this to happen as the world we live in has become more globalized than ever and I believe that it has become a must that every person, race, nationality should be represented equally and accurately on the big screen.
Leo Can Caner
Meeting Director of Agora Leo Club, Turkey (118-R)
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