I have to say that I’m disturbed by the announcement of Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo.
Follow my thought process:
In the 1980’s, black men were either disposable or emasculated. If it was a horror movie, we didn’t make it out alive. If it was a regular movie or a television show, then we were gay. That’s if we had a speaking part at all. If we didn’t have a speaking part, we were often a henchman.
Fast forward thirty years. There were hard-fought battles for equality in both film and television. We have LL Cool J on NCIS: Las Vegas. We have Denzel Washington winning the Academy Award for Best Actor. (Okay, that was about 10 years ago or so.) We have Samuel Jackson, who started out as a B-list character actor, making it to the big time and appearing in nearly everything.
How do I think Marvel is sending us to the 80s? Vondie Curtis Hall.
Like I said previously, Vondie Curtis Hall was cast in Daredevil as Ben Urich. For those who don’t know, Ben Urich, in the comics, is a white man. As soon as I saw the character’s race had changed for the Netflix show, I knew he was going to die.
I wasn’t disappointed.
It’s been reported that Tilda Swinton is going to be The Ancient One in the Dr. Strange film. I understand that she’s somewhat androgynous, but she’s not an ancient Asian man. (Yes, it’s a cliché. Remember, we’re dealing with characters that were created in the 60s.) If this is true, I’ll let Asians be outraged if they so desire.
I’m seeing this as a reversion of what we’ve fought for, of equality and for how far we’ve come in the past 30 years.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy that black people are getting starring and co-starring roles. I understand that if it weren’t for some change in race, comic book adaptations would be full of nothing but straight white men. So I get it, and I’m pleased at the fact that we’re getting work.
However, at the same time, I’m considering skipping this movie because instead of casting either a white guy or a mixed Asian guy (Mordo has had a couple of looks) to be the villain, they cast a black man.
My problem isn’t that a black man was cast; my problem is that the race of the character was changed to that of a race of people who has been ill-used in every form, both real and imagined.
I’m not happy. I haven’t made up my mind yet, like I have for both the Fantastic Four reboot and Deadpool (I’m skipping them both), but I’d be much, much happier if I didn’t feel that Marvel Studios was taking us back to the 80s.