I agree with you. Movies don't need a white lead to be successful or to appeal to white people. My favorite movie, Precious, has a black female lead.
The Last Airbender was a trainwreck. The race changes were the worst, but trying to cram an entire season into one movie is well-nigh impossible. The exposition only made it worse. The cartoon was already doing great - they didn't need a movie.
Oh my gosh yes. Aang would've been the only person they could've gotten away with casting as white. But characters like Toph and Zuko were obviously meant to be Northern Chinese. That pissed me off too.
In fairness, I probably sound more bitter about it because I hate pointless deaths and reboots period. I think I complained for three months after the last time they killed Nightcrawler just because they obviously didn't know what to do with him anymore. And I'm still bitter that they brought Jean Grey back the second time, let alone the sixth, etc.
It also seems to me that when they want to create new minority characters, they often overdo it and create too many characters (including caucasians), don't develop any of their personalities well for lack of "screentime" and end up calling the book a failure and canning it. I believe New X-Men (the Academy one) ran for slightly more than three years, had a nice melting pot of characters (Dust, a Muslim, being one of my favorites) then drove itself into the ground by killing probably 12 of the 24 heroes they created and replacing them with 6 more. Around that time, they also did Avengers Academy, with a NEW motley crew of young heroes, and drove that book into the ground with little character development after less than two years.
I'm just saying, if they want to create minority characters with the standing power of, say, Spider-Man, they need to create NEW loveable, complex minority characters, invest TIME in them and develop their characters, and keep them in stories long and often enough to allow readers to know and love them. I mean really, even Wolverine wasn't popular at first. Instead of looking for an overnight sensation or an "easy" fix, like replacing an already-established character with a character that is not them, which creates reader backlash.
Your first point makes it sound as if Marvel and DC are only killing characters to replace them with ~minorities~. Given that comic book characters die/are rebooted ALL THE DAMN TIME, it's a bit of a fallacy to suggest that the few times they're replaced with PoC/other minorities are just like REPRESENTATIVE of the phenomenon.
I sort of both agree and disagree with you on this.
- Maybe it's because I've been a fan for more than half my life, but it bothers me when characters I know and love are given a/replaced with a minority for the sake of having a minority. For instance, in a movie of Marvel's (non-Ultimate) Spider-Man, I was very much against making him black because to me Peter Parker is a well-developed character and I don't think he'd be the same person if he was black any more than my life would be perfectly the same if I were a different race. Your culture is a part of you, and does have an influence, so I don't like random swapping. I'm also upset with DCs trend of taking well-established characters and just making them minorities in what seems more like a marketing campaign than a well thought out plan. The Question was one of my favorite heroes, but they killed him and replaced him with a Latino-lesbian character, Renee Montoya, who I liked in Batman Beyond, but when you kill a well-established hero and expect me to just be like "yeah, I like the Question, I'll keep following this person who isn't the character I like," it causes resentment. I also don't like that they "rebooted" Alan Scott, who traditionally had a wife and children, to be gay now. If they created new characters, or let new minority versions work alongside the traditional versions (I'd be OK with two Questions), I'd be much happier.
-Likewise, I'm all for creating strong minority characters in their own right. It boggles my mind when Hollywood disregards color (because, as I said, it influences the character tremendously). Bane wasn't Bane in Batman to me because Scottish and South American are *not* the same thing. And though I didn't see Airbender (I heard it was horrible) it boggled my mind that all the characters were white in a show with such strong Asian influence. John Stewart, who is black, is a fine Green Lantern and strong character in his own right, but with all of DC's worries about representing minorities, he's underplayed in the movies and comics (Even though DC seems to be on a binge of killing or rebooting white heroes to replace them with minorities). Likewise, there are a number of strong black characters in G.I. Joe, but they felt a need to make white characters black instead of just using the available (good!) black characters for the movie.... although that movie wasn't so hot, either.... Ah, Hollywood.
I write PoC characters all the time and would really despise it if some hypothetical Hollywood producer whitewashed them. Fortunately most of my PoC characters are straight-out black (as in dark-skinned African) instead of ethnically ambiguous, so it would take a lot more effort to whitewash them.
okay first off the Avatar movie was a bad example of everything. Its just a God Awful abomination made by a director who has never made a good movie and the movies he received credit for were strictly controlled by the people who owned the story. Not the case in the Avatar movie. Secondly who honestly gives a fuck about the race of actors in movies when the movies themselves are awfull. Now i can understand how someone could be offended if a white person is playing the role of a persian prince or even the whole Bane thing but seriously getting pissy over a person being cast into a role for a fictional race people. Oh and i was upset about the Donald Glover thing two.
insta-minority! that made me LOL XD it's really a shame that white is the basic when it comes to casting :/ it's even worst if the movie is based off a (comic) book and the character is not supposed to be white =______= if you create a story and imagine everyone white, that's one thing (a lame thing though). but if it's not your story but you still decide to take a white actor I'm just like "what? even though it was written that the character is dark skinned you still pictured them white???? >.< how fucking dumb and narrow minded are you?"
Whitewashing is gross, ahhhh. I'm REALLY glad I never saw that Last Airbender movie. I'm hesitant to watch Korra, too, from what I hear of the way her character is portrayed (and voiced by a white lady). :C
Also, I love the Norse pantheon, and while the Thor movie was entirely goofy, I was pretty stoked that the guy who played him wasn't white. White people were all pissed off about a black guy in this white-person movie (and really, the ONLY black guy), but he ended up being by far the most like his character should be. Thor guy was kind of a doofus. Anthony Hopkins is awesome, but makes a lousy Odin. Loki just sat around simpering and looking like a porcelain doll. Heimdall though? Huge badass, and actually accurate to the character. He was probably the only aspect about that movie I liked, honestly. There's a really excellent racebent drawing of the Marvel Thor and Loki, I wish I could find it now...
Being white, I have my own racism to sort out, and learning about whitewashing and racebending has been pretty important. I've never done the whitewashing, but in the past I've drawn PoC characters as white, and didn't even think about how it could be bad. Although, I have seen people try to racebend white characters into PoC, but fail miserably mostly because they only do it to the villain or something and keep the main character white. :/
That last image. I never saw TLA because I was so angry that they ruined one of my favourite shows but I can't believe they'd be so ... I don't even have a word for the amount of rage I am feeling. Thank you for making this. I think everyone should read it.
So much win. It's absurd they're still this retrograde and racist, it's stupid from every point of view, even from their beloved marketing standpoint: people - all people - pay attention to this stuff. Companies give themselves a bad name by whitewashing everything that comes their way. Example, I didn't go see the last airbender because of the whitewashing, and I'm white. Granted, they didn't go bankrupt because of this, but just wait. This kind of thing is just not acceptable anymore, especially because movies and tv make up a great part of kid's education.
OH THE TRAGEDY that we might LOSE SOME OF OUR PRECIOUS WHITE CLASSIC CHARACTERS to these these
it's just hypocritical to suggest updating fantasy narratives to reflect anything but the mores of the 50s - 70s. Anything else is a nightmare of essential wrongness. Black norse gods? Why ~ that's UNREALISTIC!!!
I mean it's not like Peter Parker could be anything like a black guy, right? Am I right? Because black dudes don't have problems in high school due to the innate athleticism, yes? It's just common knowledge.
Will Smith as James West means the Nazis actually won WWII because of
What bothers me about this is that if a poc role appears to the be subject of debate, you need to stay true to the source material, but if a whitie role is in danger you shouldn't. That's.. hypocritical. Yes yes, I read the "spoiler alert" part and I could agree with it, if we all agreed that roles should be handed out based purely on talent (which, in my opinion, is how it ought to be) rather than on whether or not you resemble the intended ethnicity.
One needs, however, to decide where one hangs one hat. What is most important? Handing out roles to those of the best talent /regardless/ of colour, or respecting the source material? I could accept both, if kept separate. Going "oh, whichever one works in favour of an aspiring poc actor" just doesn't work very well. No one should be entitled to anything based on their skin colour, unless it went for all colours (even the none pink one that whities have), just like no one should be entitled to anything based purely on their gender. (In my country, for example, there's being made a big thing out of reserving leading positions within companies for women. This means, essentially, that more competent men may not be offered a position, just because 'getting more women in leading positions is probably the right thing to do'. I'm a woman, and I think that is bloody stupid. Nothing should ever be reserved for anyone else than the one most capable of doing it. I don't care if that means there'll only be one woman in a high position i a certain company, as long as the reason the men are there is because they're better at what they do. The same, I believe, needs to apply to films).
If based solemnly on talent, I am convinced there'd be far more pocs featured in leading roles, in generic films. That is; films that does not have an already predetermined ethnicity. I definitely do not buy that the best suited actor somehow always happens to be some whitie. It's statistically illogical.
In short, I really think that whatever one focuses on needs to go both ways. Want to respect source material? Great! Have poc actors for The last airbender and Prince of Persia. But make it go both ways and have the bloody Norse god look like he did in the comic. Want to hand out roles based on talent alone? Even better! In my opinion, that's what happened in the case of Idris Elba. The man is a brilliant actor and does a fantastic job. He's perfect for the role. But that also means it has to go the other way. I'm all for equality, no matter which option one goes for, but special treatment is something I can never support.
Maybe the idiots saying "racism doesn't exist" will get this now because it's in an easy to read comic book format. Wishful thinking, I know. But you are fabulous and all kinds of wonderful for making this.