In Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man Homecoming Peter Parkers’ girlfriend will be portrayed by actress Zendaya a Black woman. That’s right, Like Iris West Mary Jane is gonna be a Black woman.
Damn. Just Damn.
Here we go again. First Iris West was made Black. Then Jimmy Olsen was made Black. Now Mary Jane Watson. Enough of the damn diversity casting. Let these characters stay true to what ethnicity their original creators made them.
Yeah, I get that these concepts were all-White when they came out. But stop trying to shoehorn actors of color in roles where they don’t fit.
If the execs making Superhero movies want to give Zendaya a role, How about Tesla Strong? Tom Strong is PERFECT for her, and Tom Strong has diversity built into its storytelling. Tesla is a GREAT character who deserves her time to shine onscreen. Yeah, She’s a DC Character, but Tom Strong shows us how diversity can be meshed into a story organically.
Many in the Black community are thinking they hit the jackpot because Zendaya portraying Mary Jane. That it’s a groundbreaking moment for diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, I see it as a step back. When we saw THREE Black Superheroes in Captain America: Civil War getting major screen time this year that was major progress and a serious step towards diversity. That was a step in the right direction.
Zendaya as Mary Jane is a passive-aggressive attempt to eliminate real diversity from the Spider-Man corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a play taken from Berlanti productions flawed playbook for the DC TV Universe. There, they make a major characters like Iris West and Wally West a minorities, and then ignore the real characters of color who had a serious impact on a hero like the Flash’s backstory. It’s a backhanded slap to Black people and a step in the wrong direction for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Spider-Man has a large cast filled with minority characters that could have been pushed to the forefront. Remember Robbie Robertson and Glory Grant who worked at the Daily Bugle? Giving them major screen time would have been a way to show real diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But instead we get chocolate covered Mary Jane instead of those important characters.
So Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is Just gonna be the Marvel version of Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen A Simp Capn’ Save em begging behind the skirt of the Black girl next door who’s probably gonna be swirling with Flash Thompson.
I find it interesting that these White male heroes can have Black female love interests and it’s considered a step in the right direction. However, when people thought Finn was going to even think about kissing Rey or Supergirl was lusting after the piece of Hot Chocolate James Olson, many comic fans lost their minds. Some talked about boycotts, others made racist rants on social media and comic message boards. But the response clearly showed me there was a double standard when it came to this diversity and interracial romances in these superhero movies.
I’m not a fan of diversity casting. If it works like James Olson on Supergirl did in the first few episodes I’m cool with it. But I know what’ll happen in most cases when they add these diversity characters like James Olson. They’re just gonna get pushed to the background like James Olson was and a White character like Cat Grant’s son will be pushed to the foreground later on. Again, a passive aggressive attempt at diversity that prevents viewers from getting the best version of a character’s story onscreen.
Yeah, Superheroes are a Whitebread world made up mostly by White Men. And comic books and the worlds of Superheroes are one of the last bastions of White Supremacy. But you can’t just change a characters color in established stories to make them diverse. I wouldn’t want major Black characters made White just for the sake of diversity. It’d compromise the integrity of the creators’ original story.
As a creator, I believe in doing unto other creators work like I would want done unto mine. Just like I wouldn’t want a Black Mary Jane in Spider-Man’s world, I wouldn’t want some producer taking major Black characters in the SJS DIRECT Universe and making them White. I wouldn’t allow anyone to make an Isis movie with a White Dr. Edna Flowers. The whole idea of a White woman advising a Nubian Goddess like Isis about Black Culture in critical historical periods like Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement and leading a BLACK sorority like The Thetas is absolutely ridiculous.
Nor would I let anyone make a movie with a White Spinsterella. Matilda Crowley’s mixed race heritage is core to her characters’ foundation. The whole idea of a White Spinsterella would ruin the story and make a major plot twist in the second act fall completely apart.
I understand that a character has a history. However, sometimes race plays a key role in that story and the ethnicity of a character is core to a story. Yes, we need more diversity in Superhero films. But the best way to do that is to try to find new concepts created by Black creators and bring them to the forefront. Instead of changing the color of established characters, film studios need to be contacting Black creators for new content.