Black actors cast in historically white roles cause controversy

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Photo courtesy of consequence.net

Idris Elba has become the subject of controversy after rumors spread of him taking over the historically white role of James Bond.

Rohan Iyer, Staff Writer

Representation has always been a problem for people of different ethnicities and races, especially in the film industry, with massive controversy rising because of the lack of jobs for people of color in the market.

Strangely enough, the opposite problem seems to be occurring now, with people offended by the new ways the film industry has been putting a wider degree of representation into their movies.

This started all the way back in 2019 when actor Idris Elba expressed his interest in playing James Bond, after 007’s previous actor, Daniel Craig, announced that he would be quitting. There was nothing confirmed yet and everything was up in the air, but many fans became enraged by the idea of a black actor playing a character that was historically white.

When asked about this matter, Elba expressed his dismay at the hate messages and harassment rabid fans directed at him. He stated that he did not volunteer for the role solely to become the first “black” Bond, but simply out of respect to the role and his wish to play such an iconic character.

Recently there have been more rumors about Elba replacing Craig and like before, there was more outcry against this. The response has still been consistently against the replacement, but some of the backlash has quieted down. It seemed this incident would pass until recently when it was revealed that a black actor could potentially be replacing Henry Cavill in the role of Superman.

The idea of such a replacement once again started a wave of backlash as Superman fans everywhere were clambering to try and have this decision rescinded. On Twitter, the issue became one of the top on the trending tab, which contains a compiled list of all major relevant topics.

While a lot of this outrage does stem from a disappointment of fans having their favorite characters changed or altered in some way, others have argued against the type of representation that’s being shown in these replacements.

The movie industry has not had the best reputation when it comes to representation in their films, but now with equality movements reaching their stride, the movies are being pressured to get any kind of representation they can, regardless of its value.

Specifically with the Superman situation, some fans believe that the representation offered by a black Superman pales in comparison to what they could do if they actually cared about representation. As most people know the Superman movies stem from DC Comics, which contains a fan favorite character who is also of darker skin color. Fans believe that it would have been better and more impactful for there to be an actual form of representation in the form of an entirely new character being crafted for this purpose, not simply changing an existing character to cash in on the publicity.