Last week, Warner Brothers announced the addition of a solo Nightwing film with LEGO Batman director Chris Mckay to their DC film slate. The news sent fans into an excited tizzy and resulted in a slew of potential fan-chosen actors who could play the title role.
It’s been almost 20 years since Dick Grayson last appeared on the big screen in Batman and Robin as portrayed by Chris O’Donnell. Previous actors who have played Dick Grayson — or the Robin character — have been Douglas Croft, Johnny Duncan, and Burt Ward. There have also been two television shows, The Graysons and Titans, that were meant to feature Dick Grayson as the central character. Both, unfortunately, were scraped by their respective networks.
So there’s been a lot of fan interest in a Nightwing/Dick Grayson-centric media property for a long while. Now with Warner Bros. making it official, fans are eagerly awaiting to see who will put on the black and blue suit as our hero. All the talk about who can, and should, play Dick Grayson on the big screen has also brought up the truth behind Dick’s heritage in comics canon.
Firstly, as an almost disclaimer of sorts, I’ve never been a fan of Arrow. Even in the show’s heyday of seasons one and two when it was praised and lauded as a great show and comic book adaptation. Though it bares moderate similarities to Green Arrow: Year One overall, it just wasn’t for me. However, I can look back on the show’s beginning seasons and see a clear pattern of character arcs that were leading to a greater picture. A picture that would create an adapted vision of the classic Green Arrow comics mythology.
Needless to say, that from season three onward, Arrow did not only continuously strive away from that proposed picture, but did so almost gleefully. It often felt at times that the show was more interested in using the brand names of “Green Arrow” and the original materials (or should I say Batman’s original materials) for the sake of hollowed out Easter eggs, than truly adapting them in interesting and creative ways. One of the best examples of this is the show’s depiction — and mishandling — of the Black Canary, aka Dinah Laurel Lance.
Two on-going criticisms of the show, however, was the overall lack of women of color in what was supposedly a feminist superhero show, and the usage of coming out metaphors within the show’s narrative. Both criticisms were addressed during the season two promotional tour. The showrunners revealed that there would be an introduction — or rather a coming out — of a major LGBTIQA character on the show, along with the inclusion of Maggie Sawyer (a known lesbian in the DCU) and Sharon Leal as Miss Martian.
By now the events of Peter David’s NYCC anti-Romani rant is all wrapped up, with David writing a series of personal blog posts including an apology to the Romani community. Whether the Romani community — and the Romani activist involved in the incident, along with fans who were both at the panel and have seen the video — forgive David is a separate issue. Rather than focus on the merits of an apology, the opportunity presents itself to instead focus on the actual issue of lack of Romani representation in our media.
To first understand why the lack of Romani representation is an important issue, we have to understand who the Romani people are. For many — including myself — because of this overall lack of representation, there comes an overall prevalence of ignorance regarding who the Romani people are, what their struggles are, and what their actual culture is.
There’s a new fan movement in the works that is determined to get Ryan Potter cast as Tim Drake in the DCEU films. Who is Ryan Potter? Potter, 20, is a young half-Japanese actor who’s best known as the voice of Hiro from Disney’s Big Hero 6. A martial artist himself, Potter has quickly risen to be a fan-favorite choice for Tim Drake amongst DC fans. And it all started with a tweet.
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for a while now. Growing up snatching up whatever scraps of Latinx representation I could even if it meant settling for stereotypes, whitewashing, secondary character status (if lucky), and their stories ending in death. This is a plight many fans of color and other marginalized peoples can relate to. In comics, Latinx characters are often Latinx in name only, Spanish characters being positioned or promoted as Latinx characters, whitewashed, or having their Latinx identities erased.
Captain America has been revealed to be a HYDRA agent all along and doesn’t this emphasize everything wrong with superhero comics today?
When The Outhousers releasedthe spoilers for Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 the night before its release last week, fans clamored to discredit the website citing it as “unreliable,” “the comic version of The Onion,” and “satire” in an effort to brush aside the original spoiler panel of Steve in full Captain American uniform saying, “Hail HYDRA.” Understandable, this is a huge retcon of Steve Roger’s overall character and the name of Captain America. A legacy of a name built up over 75 years — in fact, Captain America just celebrated his 75th anniversary recently — and fans feel rightly protective.
The Doctor Strange controversy — combined with thepush to cast an Asian American actor as the title character Danny Rand aka Iron Fist — has been buzzing for the last couple months. With the release of the first official trailer for Doctor Strange, Marvel’s next would-be blockbuster movie after Captain America: Civil War, the controversy has reached an all time high. So much so that a Marvel spokesperson gave this statement to Mashable regarding the casting of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange:
Marvel has a very strong record of diversity in its casting of films and regularly departs from stereotypes and source material to bring its MCU to life. The Ancient One is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic. We are very proud to have the enormously talented Tilda Swinton portray this unique and complex character alongside our richly diverse cast.
Is this statement true though? Has Marvel Studios really pushed diversity in their movies? Have they increased the visibility of marginalized peoples in their film franchise or television properties? Has Marvel Studios subverted stereotypes? Enough to supposedly excuse recent controversies surrounding Doctor Strange and Iron Fist?