More minorities in lead roles


IIllustration by Sophie Bacher

Hollywood is accepting the idea that minorities as superheros can make successful movies.

Holden Curtis , Staff Writer

If you were to flip through the pages of a comic book today, you would quickly find that a majority of the heroes inside these pages are as white as the speech bubbles from which they speak. 

This becomes only more apparent as the phenomenon of superhero blockbusters continues to grow. With nearly 75 major superhero movies having been released from 1978 to present day, only five of these films were led by an actor of color. 

That means there are only four more superhero movies led by a person of color than there are superhero movies led by a puppeteered alien duck (“Howard the Duck,” 1986). That is a very disheartening reality considering the immensely talented and diverse group of filmmakers that populate Hollywood.

While this may not seem like a big deal, being able to see someone who looks like you on screen allows an audience member to better connect to these characters. These characters can then become positive role models for those they relate to, and seeing them makes people proud of their heritage.

When I was growing up, I held my superhero idols in equally high regards as my parents. 

I was able to relate to a nearly endless amount of larger-than-life beings who stood to teach me and other children the values of respect and selflessness. And while these lessons were accessible by anyone, the people who preached were not.

I know how invaluable it can be to have these heroes to look up to, as many children don’t have positive role models in their everyday life. Superheroes can fill this void. Filmmakers must begin to diversify the faces under the masks.

No matter if they are black, white, Hispanic, or Asian; every child should have a role model that represents them.I think being able to see heroes of different backgrounds would not only teach kids more about themselves, but about others as well, making them more open to every type of people.

It has become default to produce a white superhero for the big screen since the very start of superhero movies.But we may see a welcome change to this trend in the near future due to the recent success of Ryan Coogler’s film “Black Panther.”

With a near perfect 97 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, and grossing more than a $700 million globally by it’s second week in theaters, “Black Panther” sits, for now, as the fifth highest grossing Marvel movie ever made. 

With the smash-hit success of “Black Panther,” I expect to see more action taken on including superheroes of all races on the big screen. Movie studios respond well to success and will try to replicate it at every turn. 

Seeing “Black Panther,” which has a black director and a nearly all-black cast, will kick the door wide open for more people of color to take their long overdue seat at the table in A-list Hollywood films.

There is a large pool of heroes in the comics that are from all over the world. For example, Sunspot from the X-Men is Japanese, Blue Beetle from DC is of Hispanic descent, and there is now even a new Superman from China. 

All of these and more would be great options to further diversify the faces of the big screen.

I think it is extremely important for more representation not only in the heroes portrayed, but in the filmmakers who help bring them to life.

There are endlessly talented directors, writers, actors, and producers in Hollywood who are people of color. It is far beyond time for them to take their rightful place in the limelight.

I am a firm believer in the notion that filmmakers should always be hired on the merit of their work and nothing else.

Not only are these talented people, but having more diversity within the creation process of a film will allow for an introduction to new ideas and themes we haven’t seen before. 

For example, “Black Panther” utilized many traditional African customs in it’s costume design that much of the world had never seen before.

Superheroes are depicted as larger-than-life beings who protect the innocent from evil. So why can’t we better represent them in our films? 

Times are changing as society becomes more aware that we are so diverse in our heritage, beliefs, and ideas. 

If superheroes are supposed to represent the very best of our society, then why not truly represent all of our society?