So I'm sure you all know by now that the new Fantastic Four film will feature a black actor portraying the part of Johnny storm, a character who has been white in the comics since his creation over 50 years ago. Similarly odd casting choices such as the casting of Dwayne the Rock Johnson as the Greek demi-god Hercules, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and Jamie Fox as Electro have left many fans feeling betrayed, confused, or just downright angry. Leading one to wonder what could be the driving factor behind this sudden inexplicable phenomenon. Two possible theories come to mind when I consider this question.
- Money- Hollywood simply understands that in the realm of cbm's (comicbook movies) there is a shocking lack of diversity and that this lack of diversity may limit the potential audience for a franchise. By taking a risk and tinkering with a lesser known character or villain, Hollywood is able to offer up more diversity and bring in those extra dollars from viewers who may have previously lacked a character that they could relate to .
- Politics- Awesome Black, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American characters such as Blade, Sunspot, Warpath, Black Panther, Blue Beetle, Luke Cage, Black lightning, Jon Stewart, Sunfire, Storm, Bishop, Mr. Terrific, Falcon, Vixen, and Cyborg are few and far between. Furthermore these names are nowhere near as universally recognized as names like Superman, Batman, spider-man, Wolverine, Wonder Woman, Iron-man, Captain America...etc. Mainly because most of the classic iconic characters were created during the "golden/silver age of comic-books" (1930-1970) and most of the more racially diverse characters didnt start popping up until the bronze/modern age of comics (1970-current). This makes sense considering that most classic superheroes were created at a time pre-dating the civil rights act and that the vast majority of comic-book readers/writers/and artists were white males.One need only look at modern comicbooks to see examples of characters having their identities messed with in some cheap ploy for political correctness. Cheap gimmicks like the occasional death of a hero, or alternate universe often create scenarios where a character can be re-imagined as a different race, gender, or sexual orientation. Such as gay Colossus (Marvel's Ultimate X-men), gay Northstar, gay Alan Scott the original green lantern (DC's new 52), Black Nick Fury (marvel cinematic universe), gay and black Mile Morales the new spider-man(Ultimate spider-man), female Thor (Marvel Now), black Captain America (Marvel Now)...etc. Perhaps the studio heads got together and decided that there just weren't enough quality ethnic roles available in the now massive cbm genre. So they looked to the example already being set by the comic-book industry, and are now trying to even out this vast disparity by race-swapping some of the characters.
Now some may say that a characters race, gender, or sexual orientation are not important and that only the characters personality, morals, attitude, and values are what make that character unique and specific. I personally disagree with that argument. To me, by changing a characters' race, gender, and or sexual orientation you also then must change the way that character views and interacts with the world, so in fact you've actually made that character into someone else entirely.