Topic: DIVERSITY IN THE MARVEL UNIVERSE
Anthony Mackie: We’re in a day and age where kids deserve someone they can look up to. I’m very proud of Scarlett with what she’s been able to do with Black Widow, and how little girls can sit back and see that she doesn’t have to have superpowers, she’s just a badass. While being cool and a chick. And I like the fact that little brown kids can say, ‘hey, the Falcon is there now’, and little green kids can say, ‘the Hulk’s there’. Don’t want to leave out the Martians. I think it’s very important, and I think Marvel has been at the forefront of that, giving people the opportunity to represent every aspect of culture. It’s definitely something that was on the table, and on my mind when I decided to sign on to this project.
Topic: FANS COMPLAINING ABOUT CASTING ON GROUNDS OF RACE
Anthony Mackie: Superman, black would be the coolest dude in the world. Imagine Sam Jackson in a cape. Running around. That would be a good movie.
I think what a lot of people don’t get is, these people aren’t real. If you cast a black dude as John F Kennedy, that’s wrong. If you cast a white dude as Martin Luther King, that’s wrong. These people aren’t real. The suits aren’t real. There aren’t really superheroes in the world.
At some point in time, you have to steep yourself in reality and say, ‘hey, it’s not about what they look like, it’s about casting a good actor in the role. If you’re sitting at home and you can’t see a black guy as Nick Fury, maybe there’s something wrong with you.
I would argue here that MCU Nick Fury is very much based on Ultimate Nick Fury in which he is exactly SLJ. The character was drawn to be Sam Jackson. Not that I completely disagree with the point. On the other hand, Marvel has an incredibly diverse cast of character from all walks of life you can pick and choose to have representation if that’s what you’re after. DC is also chock full of every flavor of human. My thing with casting someone like, say, Johnny Storm/Human Torch, who has always been a white guy in every incarnation of him in his comics, with a black guy, I feel like you’re messing with the source material. Basically I’m saying that if you’re making an adaptation of something, stick as close to the source material as possible. If you want to make sure you’re representing everyone, throw in the guys that are actually of those flavors. Want an African superhero? Bam, you got Black Panther. Want a female Muslim superhero? Throw in Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel(2014).
These characters may not be real but that doesn’t mean their properties can be switched around when someone goes to adapt them to a movie. They have been established as they are and they are who they are. If a director goes and says “Instead of Black Panther being an African man, we’re going to cast an Asian actor because we have a really good Asian actor” I, as the creator, would be upset that someone is changing what I made so they can cut corners. And therein lies the biggest problem with adaptations. I’m not saying it makes all the difference but it does mess up the integrity of the original creation to change around things like a character’s race or religion or what costume they wear or if they live in Cleaveland versus Chicago.