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Supergirl - To Refit or Create New Characters

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#21 Christopher

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 06:27 PM

View PostBklnScott, on 02 June 2015 - 12:32 PM, said:

In the year 2015, all white, all hetero, almost exclusively male movie casts don't look or feel like the world I live in… or like a world I want to spend money to visit. Casts like that don't tell me that people like me are included - or even invited.

And certainly being absolutely faithful to the original gender/ethnic make-up of these casts has the effect of boxing out the vast majority of the acting pool from being able to compete for these jobs. Yes, jobs. These are actual people, not just beloved IPs.

Exactly. Adaptations are under no obligation to keep everything from the source, including the mistakes. They're supposed to update and modify them to fit new audiences. The word "adapt" means "change for a new context." Changing things is what an adaptation is supposed to do. New adaptations of old things modernize them, and that means modernizing the demographics as well as modernizing the technology and the fashions.

And you're right about the audience. What some people will never understand is that hetero white males like them -- like me, as a matter of fact -- are no longer the majority audience in this country, or if we are, we won't be for much longer. They want things to stay the way they were because it's what appeals to them, but they're not the only ones who count. They never should've been.

And yes, absolutely, it is about jobs and fairness in hiring. It is ridiculous to value an imaginary character's superficial traits more than a real human being's ability to compete fairly for employment.



View PostQueenTiye, on 02 June 2015 - 03:55 PM, said:

Well, I'm with Scott, unsurprisingly, and with Christopher.  The idea that such and such character is "white, period" is just silly in my opinion.

Yup. Jimmy Olsen is a redhead, period, but he's never been one in live action (at least not in color). Claiming that a difference in hair color is a trivial change but a difference in skin color makes him a completely different character is a nonsensical double standard. The things we use to define "races" are arbitrary to begin with. Why should we draw the line based on skin color but not hair or eye color? Why don't we refer to short people as a different race than tall people, or baritones a different race than tenors?


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To step outside of the race issue - one of the most successful and well done shows on tv today is Elementary where "Watson" is now named "Joan" and Mrs. Hudson is transgender.  Is it being "politically correct" or "creating diversity for diversity's sake" or is it opening up a new window to new storytelling dynamics? How about the fact that this Holmes and Watson is the least romantic pairing of them all (yes, I tend to see a bit of subtext in more traditional on-screen presentations).

And Watson is not only female, but Chinese-American. And isn't even a practicing doctor. I'm sure RJ would say she isn't Watson at all because of those things that don't fit the checklist of surface characteristics. But what makes a character is their personality and their relationships. Joan is Watson because she's Holmes's stalwart companion and the person he respects most in the world. She's a variation on Watson in many ways, but again, the whole purpose of adaptation is to explore different variations on a work. If they were all exactly alike, what would be the point?

Elementary does have a very diverse cast, and no, that isn't "political correctness," it's demographic accuracy. A show set in New York City in the present day would be unrealistic if it had a cast dominated by white people. That's just not the reality of New York City anymore. Or of many major American cities.

This is something that bothered me about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. It was set in San Francisco, which does not have a non-Hispanic white majority, and yet the cast was nearly all white except for Kirk Acevedo (Puerto Rican-Chinese, although he's never played an Asian character) and a couple of minor black guys. Where was everyone else? If you took a representative sample of the San Francisco population, it wouldn't look like that. Meanwhile, Big Hero 6 posited an alternate "San Fransokyo" that differed from ours due to a large wave of Japanese immigration, and the percentage of nonwhite characters in its cast was almost as high as the percentage in the real SF population, albeit with the Asian contingent being entirely Japanese instead of largely Chinese as in reality. It's sad that when a Hollywood version of a major American city tries to be more multiethnic, it only manages to be almost as diverse as the real thing. I'm glad that so much of TV is finally catching up to reality, but movies still have a way to go.


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Can the reverse question be asked?  Why can't Jimmy Olsen be black?

I can't think of a reason, not in this day and age. If Metropolis is an analog for New York City, then non-Hispanic whites should be a minority. There would be plenty of young people of all ethnicities trying to break into journalism.

It's worth pointing out that the program that created Jimmy Olsen, the Adventures of Superman radio series, was a very strong promoter of racial equality at a time when that was fairly uncommon. From 1946 onward, it did quite a few stories where the villains were racists and hatemongers, and spoke out emphatically against the follies of racial and religious intolerance and in favor of the equality of all peoples. Jimmy himself was actively involved in fighting those racist groups on several occasions.


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Personally - I don't get why Jimmy Olsen is in this story at all.  He's not a character I associate with Supergirl.

He was the only Superman character who appeared in the '84 Supergirl movie, for what it's worth. And I think the various Superman Family comics in the Silver Age shared much the same ensemble. Jimmy and Supergirl were both teen characters, and they were of the opposite sexes, so I wouldn't be surprised if Jimmy had often been portrayed as a potential love interest for Supergirl or vice-versa.


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On the other hand, the conversation does not inspire any confidence in me that a black superman or batman would get the viewership it deserved - rather, I would expect the same arguments against to be trudged out.  One could hope that's wrong... but...

Take heart. Yes, the few who care about such things always make a lot of noise, but the filmmakers and TV producers keep on casting diversely anyway. Like Scott said, what matters is money, and today's audience is diverse (well, it always was, but even more so now).

On the other hand, Marvel's shortlist of Spider-Man candidates for the MCU consists entirely of young white actors. Like I said, TV has made more progress than movies.
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#22 Themis

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 09:26 AM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 02 June 2015 - 06:14 PM, said:

No, the reverse question is the one I asked:  Why can't they create new characters?  If Jimmy Olson was created for the express purpose of giving teenagers a character to identify with, why can't they create a character for Blacks to identify with?  Don't women and minorities in the 21st century deserve the same consideration as teenagers in the 1950s?

Exactly.  OTOH, I'm waaaaaay out of the demographics they want to attract.  Also, the comics have made many changes since I was reading them.  But I've always wanted screen Jimmy and screen Lana to have red hair...  

Elementary is basically what I suggested about changing the universe.  Besides a female Watson, it's also set in New York in the present day.  So it's a total revamp.  As opposed to Sherlock, which is present day but keeps the characters.  (No, I've never read the books or seen the old movies.)

I do want diversity on the screen; I'd just rather see it in new characters.  Indeed, why Jimmy Olsen in Supergirl at all?  Maybe he's the tie-in to Metropolis?  They could have invented a black character for that.

All that said, a black Iris West isn't ruining Flash for me (though I'm not fond of the actress) and a dark-haired Lana didn't ruin Smallville for me.   I can accept the casting.  Maybe it's just that I miss the characters I grew up with.
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#23 QueenTiye

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 09:34 AM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 29 May 2015 - 06:08 PM, said:

Well, I didn't know he was Toyman. That doesn't bode well.  And giving Black actors hand-me-down characters is patronizing, not progressive.

The protest raised suggests that the characters are important, and their inclusion by the writers ALSO suggests that the characters are important in some way.  PROBABLY name recognition.  Hardly "hand me down" but rather, as has been said, an opportunity to play an important character that others would love to play.  From the pov of an actor - getting to be "THE JIMMY OLSEN" is not a "hand-me down" opportunity, and it could be easily considered patronizing and condenscending to describe it as such when a black actor gets the role.

RJDiogenes said:

View PostBklnScott, on 02 June 2015 - 12:32 PM, said:

In the year 2015, all white, all hetero, almost exclusively male movie casts don't look or feel like the world I live in…
Exactly. That's why we need new characters to reflect that.

In an adaptation from source material "new" characters is not actually the goal, is not what anyone is looking for, and judging from this conversation, missing original characters will be off putting to the fans adaptations are intending to win over. Which doesn't mean there can't be "new" characters.  But it does mean that artifically limiting a character to the original skin color, hair color, eye color, height, weight, gender - is shutting off story telling opportunities within the context of adaptation. UNLESS there is some specific reason the superficial traits matter (first black president should probably not be played by a white guy in blackface for instance... although much could be made of a first black president played by a WHITE actor, then leading to the question "what is black" as part of storytelling), then they don't matter, and are subject to change as long as the fundamentals of the character are still there.  Is there something about being white that makes Jimmy Olsen the "aw shucks" kind of character that he is, or is that his personality regardless of skin tone? Or does someone immediately stop being the "aw shucks" guy when their skin is brown? Because his "aw shucks" character and his role as a photographer, and Superman's pal are the only things that stand out to me as essential.

For that matter. who says that this "brown-complected" guy isn't white?

RJDiogenes said:

View PostQueenTiye, on 02 June 2015 - 03:55 PM, said:

Can the reverse question be asked?  Why can't Jimmy Olsen be black?  
No, the reverse question is the one I asked:  Why can't they create new characters?  If Jimmy Olson was created for the express purpose of giving teenagers a character to identify with, why can't they create a character for Blacks to identify with?  Don't women and minorities in the 21st century deserve the same consideration as teenagers in the 1950s?

No one says they can't, which is why that' isn't the "reverse" question.  The existence of a brown Jimmy Olsen doesn't preclude the creation of a new black character we don't know yet. The premise put forward is "Jimmy Olsen is white." so as to say, why can't he stay white?  And the reverse question remains, why must he?  Why can't he be other than white?

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Edited by QueenTiye, 03 June 2015 - 09:36 AM.

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#24 Omega

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 11:36 AM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 02 June 2015 - 06:14 PM, said:

View PostQueenTiye, on 02 June 2015 - 03:55 PM, said:

Can the reverse question be asked?  Why can't Jimmy Olsen be black?  
No, the reverse question is the one I asked:  Why can't they create new characters?  If Jimmy Olson was created for the express purpose of giving teenagers a character to identify with, why can't they create a character for Blacks to identify with?  Don't women and minorities in the 21st century deserve the same consideration as teenagers in the 1950s?

I'm not sure why creating a new character vs. altering an existing one does more to give those groups consideration.

I mean, are we saying here that rather than try to make (oh) Superman more inclusive as a fictional world, we should ditch the entire story and create a new one with other characters? That doesn't mean the current one will cease to exist! It sounds like it would create a divisive world, with "white people" myths and "colored people" myths. I'd much rather see our cultural myths belong to everyone equally.

#25 Christopher

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 12:10 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 02 June 2015 - 06:14 PM, said:

No, the reverse question is the one I asked:  Why can't they create new characters?  If Jimmy Olson was created for the express purpose of giving teenagers a character to identify with, why can't they create a character for Blacks to identify with?

First off, many teenagers are black. And Asian, and Hispanic, and gay, and everything else. They are not mutually exclusive categories. Everyone spends part of their life as a teenager, so everyone can identify with Jimmy.

Second, there are plenty of black characters in comics today. It's a nonsense argument to claim they don't exist, or that their existence somehow precludes casting other characters diversely. Creating new diverse characters and diversifying the old characters are both facets of the same process, not contradictory goals as you keep falsely insisting.

Third -- they're not "blacks." They're black people. It's the "people" part that's important.



View PostThemis, on 03 June 2015 - 09:26 AM, said:

But I've always wanted screen Jimmy and screen Lana to have red hair...

Three of the live-action screen Lanas have been redheads -- Diane Sherry Case in Superman: The Movie, Annette O'Toole in Superman III, and Stacy Haiduk in Superboy. (Well, technically that's two Lanas, since Case and O'Toole were playing the same one at different ages.) That's versus two blondes -- Bunny Henning in the failed 1961 Adventures of Superboy pilot (as far as I can tell) and Emily Proctor in a Lois and Clark episode -- and two brunettes -- Kristin Kreuk in Smallville and Jadin Gould in Man of Steel.


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Elementary is basically what I suggested about changing the universe.  Besides a female Watson, it's also set in New York in the present day.  So it's a total revamp.  As opposed to Sherlock, which is present day but keeps the characters.

Although I think that Elementary is truer to the characters and spirit in many ways. Sherlock turns them into caricatures, emphasizing their negative qualities. Holmes goes from detached and calculating to an outright sociopath, Watson becomes a danger junkie who enables him and constantly fights with him, and oh, is probably denying a latent gay attraction to him. They're just as changed, even if the superficial elements are more similar.


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I do want diversity on the screen; I'd just rather see it in new characters.

Again, though, that's like saying that nonwhites should be forbidden forever from playing the most iconic and classic characters, and that is deeply unfair. What is so horrible about sharing our toys?


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All that said, a black Iris West isn't ruining Flash for me (though I'm not fond of the actress) and a dark-haired Lana didn't ruin Smallville for me.   I can accept the casting.  Maybe it's just that I miss the characters I grew up with.

Did you actually read stories about them, or did you just look at pictures of them? If you grew up with them, then surely what you'd care about most is their personalities, their actions, their feelings and relationships. Changing the amount of pigment in their skin or hair cells changes none of that. So how are they actually different characters?

It's not like comic-book characters never change appearance in the comics. Bob Kane's Bruce Wayne had distinctly different facial features from Dick Sprang's or Neal Adams's or Frank Miller's or Frank Quitely's. John Romita, Jr.'s Peter Parker looks very different from his father's Peter Parker (because JR Jr. gives every character the same face, grumble grumble). Changing what a character looks like doesn't change who they are.



View PostQueenTiye, on 03 June 2015 - 09:34 AM, said:

In an adaptation from source material "new" characters is not actually the goal, is not what anyone is looking for, and judging from this conversation, missing original characters will be off putting to the fans adaptations are intending to win over. Which doesn't mean there can't be "new" characters.  But it does mean that artifically limiting a character to the original skin color, hair color, eye color, height, weight, gender - is shutting off story telling opportunities within the context of adaptation.

Indeed. It's an artificial distinction. An adapted character is new, in a sense -- a new interpretation, a fresh take. Robert Downey, Jr.'s Tony Stark is a different character from the comics version, because he's informed and modified by RDJ's own personality and reputation, not to mention by RDJ's improvisations. Bill Bixby's David Banner was a very different character from the comics' Bruce Banner, and not just because of the name change. Lois and Clark's Elvis-loving Perry White was a more radical reinterpretation than Laurence Fishburne's Perry White, despite being the same ethnicity as the original.


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Is there something about being white that makes Jimmy Olsen the "aw shucks" kind of character that he is, or is that his personality regardless of skin tone? Or does someone immediately stop being the "aw shucks" guy when their skin is brown? Because his "aw shucks" character and his role as a photographer, and Superman's pal are the only things that stand out to me as essential.

And Jimmy hasn't always been an "aw shucks" character. In Lois and Clark's first season, he was streetwise and hip. Smallville's Jimmy was understatedly cool in an Aaron Ashmore-y kind of way. Heck, in his own comic, and in Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman which paid tribute to the Silver Age, Jimmy was a fearless, daredevil reporter who'd do anything to get a scoop and got into all kinds of crazy adventures.



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The existence of a brown Jimmy Olsen doesn't preclude the creation of a new black character we don't know yet. The premise put forward is "Jimmy Olsen is white." so as to say, why can't he stay white?  And the reverse question remains, why must he?  Why can't he be other than white?

No reason at all. Jimmy was created by the radio show to be a "typical" teenager that audiences could identify with. In 1940, a typical American teenager was probably white. These days, that isn't necessarily so, certainly not in a major metropolis.

Although it's worth pointing out that Supergirl's Jimmy isn't a teenager anymore. He's a mature adult, further along in his career. He's a Pulitzer-winning, accomplished photojournalist when we first meet him. He's no longer living in Metropolis and working for the Daily Planet. So he's already a modified version of the character in a lot of ways. Why is a modification of his ethnicity the one thing out of all those changes that garners a protest?



View PostOmega, on 03 June 2015 - 11:36 AM, said:

I'm not sure why creating a new character vs. altering an existing one does more to give those groups consideration.

Quite right. Again, it's not about the characters, but about the real people who seek employment as actors. Both creating new characters and opening up the casting of existing characters give more job opportunities to nonwhite actors and thereby improve fairness in hiring. And they both give diverse audiences more opportunities to see people like themselves represented in the media, rather than marginalized or excluded. So there is no "vs." They both achieve the same goal, so neither one hurts the other.


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It sounds like it would create a divisive world, with "white people" myths and "colored people" myths. I'd much rather see our cultural myths belong to everyone equally.

Yes. This. Exactly. Let's all be free to drink from the same cultural fountain.

Edited by Christopher, 03 June 2015 - 12:14 PM.

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#26 BklnScott

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 01:10 PM

View PostOmega, on 03 June 2015 - 11:36 AM, said:

I mean, are we saying here that rather than try to make (oh) Superman more inclusive as a fictional world, we should ditch the entire story and create a new one with other characters? That doesn't mean the current one will cease to exist! It sounds like it would create a divisive world, with "white people" myths and "colored people" myths. I'd much rather see our cultural myths belong to everyone equally.

An excellent point and I think it's true. Why shouldn't all americans have equal access to the deep cultural resonance possessed by _these_ stories, which in a very real sense do comprise our shared American mythology?

Also, maybe this has been mentioned up thread, but it bears repeating that these sorts of stories have always always always changed with the telling. I mean, obviously. They're updated for the times or to tease out different elements, or just to reflect the particular vision of each storyteller. In that context, I don't see why gender/ethnicity/orientation swaps should somehow be deemed a bridge too far.

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#27 G-man

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 02:25 PM

It shouldn't.

However, changing the classic elements shouldn't preclude adding new elements to a work as well.  And if one is launching a whole new property from an establish universe, the question arises about how much and how soon should the familiar elements be introduced, versus trying to flesh out the property as its own entity before bringing in the familiar touchstones.

My own preference is that I'd rather a property try to stand on its own before it starts to bring in the familiar elements of the establish universe.  But I also know that my preference runs counter to many a comic fan who wishes to see those familiar elements incorporated early and often.

e.g. DC's Legion of Superheroes, I was perfectly content reading about their adventures in the 30th century, and didn't need to see Superboy amongst them at all.  By the same token I could accept that the likes of OMAC, Kamandi, Atomic Knights, Atari Force, Enemy Ace and Jonah Hex all occurred in their own self-contained realities, that I saw no justification to attempt to weave everything into one big DCU.  If I wanted that, I'd would've been reading Marvel back in the 1970's/80's.

Admittedly, I do like the whole interconnectedness of the MCU and what they've done to bring it to the big (and little) screen, even if I don't get all the nods and refs.

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#28 RJDiogenes

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 06:36 PM

View PostThemis, on 03 June 2015 - 09:26 AM, said:

Elementary is basically what I suggested about changing the universe.  Besides a female Watson, it's also set in New York in the present day.  So it's a total revamp.  As opposed to Sherlock, which is present day but keeps the characters.  (No, I've never read the books or seen the old movies.)  
Oh, don't get me started on the silliness of Sherlock Holmes in the 21st century.  And two of them yet.  :lol:

View PostQueenTiye, on 03 June 2015 - 09:34 AM, said:

Hardly "hand me down" but rather, as has been said, an opportunity to play an important character that others would love to play.  From the pov of an actor - getting to be "THE JIMMY OLSEN" is not a "hand-me down" opportunity, and it could be easily considered patronizing and condenscending to describe it as such when a black actor gets the role.
For example: We have Benjamin Sisko, significant for being the first Black captain on a Trek show. Because of that, an icon and very meaningful to many people. Now suppose that instead they had done one of their re-imagining re-boot re-branding gimmicks and cast Avery Brooks as James T Kirk.  Suddenly he's not an icon, but a novelty.  "Look, they made Captain Kirk Black in this one. How politically correct."  I'm sure (or hope) you'll agree that we're far better off with Sisko.

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Is there something about being white that makes Jimmy Olsen the "aw shucks" kind of character that he is, or is that his personality regardless of skin tone? Or does someone immediately stop being the "aw shucks" guy when their skin is brown? Because his "aw shucks" character and his role as a photographer, and Superman's pal are the only things that stand out to me as essential.  
This guy isn't "aw shucks."  He's a middle-aged, established professional.  He's not Jimmy Olson.  He's a brand-new character stuck with a recycled name.

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No one says they can't, which is why that' isn't the "reverse" question.  The existence of a brown Jimmy Olsen doesn't preclude the creation of a new black character we don't know yet. The premise put forward is "Jimmy Olsen is white." so as to say, why can't he stay white?  And the reverse question remains, why must he?  Why can't he be other than white?  
If the existence of a Black Jimmy Olsen doesn't preclude the creation of a new Black character, then the answer is "What's the point?"

View PostOmega, on 03 June 2015 - 11:36 AM, said:

I'm not sure why creating a new character vs. altering an existing one does more to give those groups consideration.
It's like regifting. It's when you have to get something for somebody but don't really care.  Not cool.

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I mean, are we saying here that rather than try to make (oh) Superman more inclusive as a fictional world, we should ditch the entire story and create a new one with other characters? That doesn't mean the current one will cease to exist! It sounds like it would create a divisive world, with "white people" myths and "colored people" myths. I'd much rather see our cultural myths belong to everyone equally.  
Which is the whole point.  As Scott is about to say, American mythology should be for all Americans. So instead of screwing around and recycling existing characters just to throw somebody a bone, they should be adding Blacks and Asians and Hispanics and all other types of Americans to the mix.  Let's see an iconic Black character in the Superman family who can stand beside Jimmy and Lois, not be segregated from them.

View PostBklnScott, on 03 June 2015 - 01:10 PM, said:

An excellent point and I think it's true. Why shouldn't all americans have equal access to the deep cultural resonance possessed by _these_ stories, which in a very real sense do comprise our shared American mythology?  
That's it exactly.  It's American mythology.  And what is an American?  Anybody who happens to be an American.

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I don't see why gender/ethnicity/orientation swaps should somehow be deemed a bridge too far.  
More like a bridge too lame.  :lol:
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#29 sierraleone

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 08:00 PM

I don't think I can make my points quite as eloquently as others have made, but anyways... ;)

View PostRJDiogenes, on 03 June 2015 - 06:36 PM, said:

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No one says they can't, which is why that' isn't the "reverse" question.  The existence of a brown Jimmy Olsen doesn't preclude the creation of a new black character we don't know yet. The premise put forward is "Jimmy Olsen is white." so as to say, why can't he stay white?  And the reverse question remains, why must he?  Why can't he be other than white?  
If the existence of a Black Jimmy Olsen doesn't preclude the creation of a new Black character, then the answer is "What's the point?"

View PostQueenTiye, on 03 June 2015 - 09:34 AM, said:

Hardly "hand me down" but rather, as has been said, an opportunity to play an important character that others would love to play.  From the pov of an actor - getting to be "THE JIMMY OLSEN" is not a "hand-me down" opportunity, and it could be easily considered patronizing and condenscending to describe it as such when a black actor gets the role.
For example: We have Benjamin Sisko, significant for being the first Black captain on a Trek show. Because of that, an icon and very meaningful to many people. Now suppose that instead they had done one of their re-imagining re-boot re-branding gimmicks and cast Avery Brooks as James T Kirk.  Suddenly he's not an icon, but a novelty.  "Look, they made Captain Kirk Black in this one. How politically correct."  I'm sure (or hope) you'll agree that we're far better off with Sisko.

Talking strictly television -
I think it is great that Star Trek had so many spin-offs and was able to do Sisko, and other diverse characters. Star Trek is still unparalleled in its success, the closest thing there is is Doctor Who. So most often when our cherished stories and characters have a chance to be retold it actually ends up being a retelling/reimagining with mostly the same character, instead of a spin-off, which allows you to create completely new characters. For many reasons most media executives will not take chances on spin-offs.

I personally wouldn't see a compelling reason to have Kirk cast with a differently complected actor, but that is partly because we have many great characters in Star Trek from the other series. If you are creating a spin-off you can create a dozen new characters, or more, as Star Trek has done. When you are doing a re-boot there is less room for new characters, especially among the core characters.

That said, I wouldn't be against it, just I wouldn't see as compelling a reason as in the situation we were doing a reboot of some other iconic established story that hasn't had multiple spin-offs.

View PostRJDiogenes, on 03 June 2015 - 06:36 PM, said:

View PostOmega, on 03 June 2015 - 11:36 AM, said:

I'm not sure why creating a new character vs. altering an existing one does more to give those groups consideration.
It's like regifting. It's when you have to get something for somebody but don't really care.  Not cool.

"Re-gifting" can be done right, you are assuming the regifter doesn't care, and that the person receiving the gift doesn't appreciate it. As the amount of passion in this thread shows, many people appreciate it.

When you regift something you don't need or want anymore for yourself, to somebody that would appreciate it, there is nothing wrong with it.

You are assuming the producers/writers/actors and other creators behind these decisions are doing it because they don't care. I suspect they do care, and that is why they are doing it.

View PostRJDiogenes, on 03 June 2015 - 06:36 PM, said:

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I don't see why gender/ethnicity/orientation swaps should somehow be deemed a bridge too far.  
More like a bridge too lame.  :lol:

Is it because it seems gimicky to you? I used to wonder if it was, and feel somewhat skeptical over such changes, first seeing and hearing about them in stories I already didn't care about. But then I hate having to be told I have to buy into something, I can appreciate that sentiment greatly ;) Over time, hearing/reading other diverse people's appreciation of such changes, and being personally exposed to it in re-telling of stories I love, I now just don't see why I would have cared at all to begin with.


Speaking of Doctor Who... There is always a big roar about changing Doctors, but last time there was push back against people just suggesting that this time that maybe they should make the Doctor be different, as in letting an actor (or actress) from a different background play the Doctor. Other than being very much attached to the alien Doctor being a white dude who sounds like he is from the U.K. (who changes his appearance in every other way, and his personality in most ways), I couldn't understand why people were so opposed to a Doctor with some more melanin or  estrogen (or their equivalents in TimeLord physiology ;) ). You would think this character, of all characters, would be the most amendable to such a change, or to audiences accepting such a change.

To think it should never change and be reasonable, in-story, the only explanations I can come up with is you either have to think that the Doctor has a very strong preference for being a white, male figure (but not much else), and/or the Doctor is working with the prejudices of the population of his favourite sandboxes in time/space, and uses white male privilege to his advantage. That just makes me snort. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Though, I suppose that factor arguably makes it easier for the writers. I would hope that is not the intent behind the screening of talent pool being assessed for future Doctors.
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#30 BklnScott

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 09:30 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 03 June 2015 - 06:36 PM, said:

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I mean, are we saying here that rather than try to make (oh) Superman more inclusive as a fictional world, we should ditch the entire story and create a new one with other characters? That doesn't mean the current one will cease to exist! It sounds like it would create a divisive world, with "white people" myths and "colored people" myths. I'd much rather see our cultural myths belong to everyone equally.  
Which is the whole point.  As Scott is about to say, American mythology should be for all Americans. So instead of screwing around and recycling existing characters just to throw somebody a bone, they should be adding Blacks and Asians and Hispanics and all other types of Americans to the mix.  Let's see an iconic Black character in the Superman family who can stand beside Jimmy and Lois, not be segregated from them.

Maybe we can even start suspending disbelief for a world where Superman's Best Friend ™ is a nonwhite Jimmy Olsen who actually ends up being better friends with Superman's female cousin...? There have been stranger plot twists in Superman's three-quarters of a century.

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I don't see why gender/ethnicity/orientation swaps should somehow be deemed a bridge too far.  
More like a bridge too lame.  :lol:

Well, as long as you've afforded a subject that is sensitive to many the thought and compassion it is due. :lol:

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#31 Cardie

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 10:40 PM

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This guy isn't "aw shucks."  He's a middle-aged, established professional.

I'm sure 35-year-old Mehcad Brooks will be thrilled you consider him middle-aged.
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#32 Christopher

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 07:11 AM

View Postsierraleone, on 03 June 2015 - 08:00 PM, said:

I personally wouldn't see a compelling reason to have Kirk cast with a differently complected actor, but that is partly because we have many great characters in Star Trek from the other series.

William Shatner: 5'10", hazel eyes, tenor voice.
Chris Pine: 6'0", blue eyes, baritone voice.

If those differences are unworthy of comment, why should skin color be a dealbreaker?



Quote

Speaking of Doctor Who... There is always a big roar about changing Doctors, but last time there was push back against people just suggesting that this time that maybe they should make the Doctor be different, as in letting an actor (or actress) from a different background play the Doctor. Other than being very much attached to the alien Doctor being a white dude who sounds like he is from the U.K. (who changes his appearance in every other way, and his personality in most ways), I couldn't understand why people were so opposed to a Doctor with some more melanin or  estrogen (or their equivalents in TimeLord physiology ;) ). You would think this character, of all characters, would be the most amendable to such a change, or to audiences accepting such a change.

Although I never had a problem with the idea of a female Doctor in principle, I used to find it unlikely based on the fact that we had no evidence a Time Lord or Lady could change sex. (What I wanted to see was the Thirteenth Doctor taking on a regenerated Susan or Romana as a companion, then at the end of his life, handing her the TARDIS key and saying, "You are the Doctor now." And then we would've had 11 or 12 female Doctors in a row.) But now we know that the Corsair changed sex and have seen the Master do so; therefore it's on the table, and it no longer makes sense to rule out the possibility of a female Doctor.


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To think it should never change and be reasonable, in-story, the only explanations I can come up with is you either have to think that the Doctor has a very strong preference for being a white, male figure (but not much else), and/or the Doctor is working with the prejudices of the population of his favourite sandboxes in time/space, and uses white male privilege to his advantage.

Except it's always been clear that the Doctor has no conscious control over his regenerations. He's always surprised by what he gets. Several times, he's expressed disappointment at not regenerating into a ginger (redhead) -- which, it should be noted, is a group that's long been subject to a lot of discrimination and negative stereotyping in the UK. But it's something he'd like to be. When and if he finally does regenerate into a different ethnicity, I'm sure he'll find it a refreshing change.
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#33 Omega

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 08:33 AM

^Personally, I find it odd the Doctor would even notice, but I suppose it's consistent. I like the Third Rock From the Sun interpretation of race, where they genuinely can't tell what human is what. "All you people look a like to me." Or being unable to remember, and thus writing "NINA IS BLACK" on a post-it and sticking it to her shoulder...

That show was brilliant.

#34 Sci-Fi Girl

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 08:42 AM

^^ YEP!!  :howling: :howling: :howling:

View PostChristopher, on 04 June 2015 - 07:11 AM, said:

But now we know that the Corsair changed sex and have seen the Master do so; therefore it's on the table, and it no longer makes sense to rule out the possibility of a female Doctor.

Right, they mentioned it with the Corsair, then finally showed it with Missy.

Likewise, they they stated on The Sarah Jane Adventures that it was possible to change race.  (The Doctor mentioned it to Clyde IIRC.) And then of course they showed it with River / Mels!  :cool:

So the groundwork has been laid as it were.  Though I wonder if these were done to feel out audience reaction to such things.  Or even just to get people used to the idea, so it will be less surprising?  :)


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Except it's always been clear that the Doctor has no conscious control over his regenerations. He's always surprised by what he gets. Several times, he's expressed disappointment at not regenerating into a ginger (redhead) -- which, it should be noted, is a group that's long been subject to a lot of discrimination and negative stereotyping in the UK. But it's something he'd like to be. When and if he finally does regenerate into a different ethnicity, I'm sure he'll find it a refreshing change.

And as Omega pointed out, I think it most likely that the Doctor wouldn't even notice if he became black.  He'd just remark on his height or something, and then be puzzled by the surprised looks he gets!  :lol:

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#35 Christopher

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 08:48 AM

View PostSci-Fi Girl, on 04 June 2015 - 08:42 AM, said:

And as Omega pointed out, I think it most likely that the Doctor wouldn't even notice if he became black.  He'd just remark on his height or something, and then be puzzled by the surprised looks he gets!

That could work -- except he does notice hair color, i.e. still not being ginger. I think he'd notice skin color too; he just wouldn't ascribe it any more importance than hair or eye color. (Colour, that is.) Which is what I've been trying to say all along.
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#36 G-man

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 09:32 AM

Actually, I'd think it'd be hilarious if the one time the Doctor ended up as a ginger, he is an Irish Setter :p

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#37 RJDiogenes

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 06:21 PM

View Postsierraleone, on 03 June 2015 - 08:00 PM, said:

I personally wouldn't see a compelling reason to have Kirk cast with a differently complected actor, but that is partly because we have many great characters in Star Trek from the other series.
True, but I was just giving an obvious example.  When Dianne Carroll became the first Black woman to star in a sitcom, would it have been better to call her Lucy instead of Julia?  When Teresa Graves became the first Black woman to star in an adventure series, would it have been better to call her Honey West instead of Christie Love?  It's all the same thing.

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You are assuming the producers/writers/actors and other creators behind these decisions are doing it because they don't care. I suspect they do care, and that is why they are doing it.  
I suspect, like Scott says, that it's all about the Benjamins.  And I don't mean Sisko this time.

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Is it because it seems gimicky to you?
Yeah, it's gimmicky.  At best, it's half hearted.

Quote

Speaking of Doctor Who... There is always a big roar about changing Doctors, but last time there was push back against people just suggesting that this time that maybe they should make the Doctor be different, as in letting an actor (or actress) from a different background play the Doctor. Other than being very much attached to the alien Doctor being a white dude who sounds like he is from the U.K. (who changes his appearance in every other way, and his personality in most ways), I couldn't understand why people were so opposed to a Doctor with some more melanin or  estrogen (or their equivalents in TimeLord physiology ;) ). You would think this character, of all characters, would be the most amendable to such a change, or to audiences accepting such a change.  
Well, with Doctor Who it makes sense.  Changing appearance is an integral part of the concept.  As for changing sex, I assume everyone has seen The Curse of Fatal Death by now.   :lol:

View PostBklnScott, on 03 June 2015 - 09:30 PM, said:

Maybe we can even start suspending disbelief for a world where Superman's Best Friend ™ is a nonwhite Jimmy Olsen who actually ends up being better friends with Superman's female cousin...? There have been stranger plot twists in Superman's three-quarters of a century.  
That actually reminds me of something relevant. Back in the 60s, in a Superman or maybe Lois Lane comic, there was a story that you may have heard of called "I Am Curious, Black" (I swear those DC people were on drugs), in which Lois Lane did a riff on Black Like Me using some sort of SF technology. At the end of the story, when Lois is back to White again, she says to Superman something like, "Could you still love me if I was Black?"  And he answers something like, "I... I don't know. I like to think so."  Now this was back in the days of the Civil RIghts Movement, race riots, the KKK killing people left and right, Life magazine running pictures of Black men holding hands with White women because it was as shocking as Gay marriage is now, and so on-- let it suffice to say that we were fighting a monster that people today cannot truly understand if they weren't there. So this issue of Superman, aimed mostly at kids who were hearing who-knows-what about Blacks from their parents, was intended to be relevant and profound. And it was.  But if you read it today, what do you think? Lame! Come on, Supes, you can do better than that.  And that's exactly what this gimmick is: Lame. Forty years from now, it will be an embarrassment or a curosity, like that issue of Superman.  Worse, because we should be way beyond that now. From Alexander Scott to Christie Love to Benjamin Sisko to Abby Mills-- we pretty much know that there can be awesome Black characters. Same with women or Asians or any other category you can think of.  It's 2015. They should be doing better.

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Well, as long as you've afforded a subject that is sensitive to many the thought and compassion it is due. :lol:
Well, I should hope so.

View PostCardie, on 03 June 2015 - 10:40 PM, said:

I'm sure 35-year-old Mehcad Brooks will be thrilled you consider him middle-aged.  
Good point. I'm nowhere near middle-aged yet, so he must be a child.  :lol:
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#38 Omega

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 06:27 PM

I'm understanding a gimmick to be a change for no reason other than to make something stand out. But that's not necessarily the case. Casting Lawerence Fishburn as Perry White wasn't done to make him stand out, it was done because he was a good actor for the role. Making Superman black could be done as a gimmick, but it could also be done because it allows for new and interesting stories that couldn't exist before, or because a black man happens to be the best actor for the role. Assumptions of gimmickisity sans context are uncharitable at best. As with many new ideas, the best approach is often to wait and see.

#39 BklnScott

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 06:49 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 04 June 2015 - 06:21 PM, said:

View Postsierraleone, on 03 June 2015 - 08:00 PM, said:

I personally wouldn't see a compelling reason to have Kirk cast with a differently complected actor, but that is partly because we have many great characters in Star Trek from the other series.
True, but I was just giving an obvious example.  When Dianne Carroll became the first Black woman to star in a sitcom, would it have been better to call her Lucy instead of Julia?  When Teresa Graves became the first Black woman to star in an adventure series, would it have been better to call her Honey West instead of Christie Love?  It's all the same thing.

Quote

You are assuming the producers/writers/actors and other creators behind these decisions are doing it because they don't care. I suspect they do care, and that is why they are doing it.  
I suspect, like Scott says, that it's all about the Benjamins.  And I don't mean Sisko this time.

That's… not at all what I said, but OK.

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#40 Christopher

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 07:37 PM

Never mind...

Edited by Christopher, 04 June 2015 - 07:39 PM.

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