AAPI Women are Awesome Action Figures

Originally published at NBC Asian America

I am an avid toy collector, and every few years I like to take stock of the number of action figures that feature Asian American and Pacific Islander characters. When I started doing this in 2009, it was difficult coming up with enough figures to fill out a Top Five list. Fortunately, it has become much easier to populate these lists since AAPI visibility in pop culture has dramatically increased in the intervening years. In fact, I actually had a difficult time winnowing down this year’s list since there are so many AAPI action figures from which to choose! Moreover, nearly every slot on the list is populated by female characters, which hopefully puts to rest the fallacy that girls don’t buy action figures.

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Disney’s Live-Action Mulan Launches ‘Global Casting Search’ for Chinese Actress

Disney’s 3-D live-action story of the 1998 animated hit Mulan has officially received a release date: November 2, 2018.

It will be exactly twenty years after the original film was released, with the title character voiced by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star Ming-Na Wen.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney has launched a ‘global casting search for a Chinese actress’ to play the title character. Yes, you read that right. A Chinese Actress.

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Diversity on Fire: Thoughts on the Return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I would not fault anybody for not watching or liking Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to its hot mess of a first season. However, it has improved. Does it still have issues? Indeed it does. But with those issues comes the fact that it still remains one of the most diverse casts on TV. Though aside from showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen, I wonder what that diversity looks like behind the cameras. Anyway, now there is Gabriel Luna. With his head on fire. There was a lot of hype about the Robbie Reyes incarnation of Ghost Rider leading up to the season 4 premiere. By and large, it held up. Here are just a few points I remember and talked about with friends in person and via the internets.

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First Look at Gabriel Luna as Ghost Rider on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

One of the most buzzed about pieces of information to emerge out of San Diego Comic-Con over the summer happened when Marvel dropped a surprise teaser that revealed — some might say “confirmed” — that Ghost Rider was making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this fall. And the All-New version of Ghost Rider, Robbie Reyes, is the one coming to the small screen. Now we know what Gabriel Luna is going to look like on the show.

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Could Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Become TV’s Diversest Show?

Four of these people are gone-zo. Can you guess which?

Okay. Here be much spoilerage.

Now that season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and that’s the last time I type that out) is over, I gots some identity-politickin’, pot-stirrin’, white-people-genocidin’ things to say.

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N.O.C. One-Shot: Whitewashing in Black and Yellow

As reported by The Hollywood ReporterFresh Off the Boat star recently caused controversy after likening studio attempts to make Scarlett Johansson seem “more Asian” to the practice of blackface. In this One-Shot, the author of that article, Rebecca Sun, and #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign join Keith to discuss the problematic nature of that analogy and why it’s important for non-black people of color communities to reach out rather than co-opt.

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Which AAPI Actor Deserves the Nerd Grand Slam?

This week’s reveals from Doctor Strange and Ghost in the Shell are further proof that it’s hard out there for an Asian actor who wants to be in a genre film. Fortunately, there are a few AAPI actors who have claim to the coveted “Nerd Grand Slam;” that is, they’ve starred in a superhero franchise, a Star (Trek or Wars) vehicle, and an epic fantasy. But who is the nerdiest? Dominic Mah, from YOMYOMF.com, joins Keith to decide which actor is the One Nerd to rule them all.

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What’s the Deal with the POC Characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

In a week where the Deadline Hollywood website shot itself in the foot for asking us to consider the poor white actors being denied work due to the current spate of “ethnic casting” for TV pilots and series, the ever-ongoing fight of POC actors to get more than table scraps is never far from mind. Despite the Bat Signal thrown up by Deadline to save whiteness in Hollywood, the fact remains that productions still routinely limit or shut out entirely actors of color from starring roles.

On Twitter this weekend the thread #whedonandrace critiqued Joss Whedon’s problematic depictions of black and other POC characters in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. This discussion has been ongoing among fans of color since Buffy and Whedon became a name; it just happened that this time it spawned a hashtag. Soon the thread became a general critique of his handling of race, encompassing Whedon’s other TV series as well as his films, including the series he co-created with Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon for Marvel Studios,  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., at first glance, is diverse in its casting (at least of its secondary recurring cast members and guest stars; its regulars are largely white), the series reveals an unsettling pattern of how these characters of color are depicted.

Simply put, what’s the deal with POC (mainly black) characters being killed, maimed, or evil on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

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Eight Reasons Why Melinda May is an Avenger

Originally posted at ComicBook.com

To say Agent Melinda May is a beloved fan favorite of ABC’s hit series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be a massive understatement. There’s a reason why some have nicknamed the superhero spy series The Coulson/May Power Hour.

There are also those who have dubbed Agent May an unsung Avenger. The fact that she is portrayed by the extraordinary Ming-Na Wen should be reason enough. After all this is the same gifted actress who brought Chun-Li and Mulan to the big screen.

The following are eight reasons that explain why Melinda May is an Avenger.

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S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Two: Agents of C.H.A.N.G.E.

I don’t live-tweet very often. I usually leave that job to the professionals here. But last night, I found myself watching the second season premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC, and I happened to have my phone with me at the time.

It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of the series. From the jump last season, the show reminded me of everything that I usually hate from a Joss Whedon production. That said, I continued to watch it out of some sort of nerd obligation. And while the post-Winter Soldier episodes did get relatively better, the second season premiere wasn’t really on my radar all summer.

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