Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Heimdall Effect

Good Evening
Good Morning.
Amen, Hallelujah, and Peanut Butter.

The exceptional IRON MAN 3 is currently blazing a trail through the box office this weekend, proving to other films in release that the House of Stark is definitely one to be feared and that winter is no longer coming, it's here. Of course, this post is NOT about that obvious footnote. Rather, PLANET GRIFFIN has been following the behind-the-scenes of Marvel and Hollywood in regards to race and 'cast flipping' that has now become known as 'The Heimdall Effect'.
Race in the world of comics is still a touchy subject among the hardcore geekset. When THOR was released back in May of 2011, the major controversy centered around the role of Idris Elba in the role of Heimdall, the guardian of the rainbow bridge. The very idea of a Norse protector being a black man in golden armor sent a tidal wave of criticism to Marvel's doorstep and brought the race card back into play in the most unexpected of ways.

Almost 2 years since this event, Hollywood and Marvel has made it a point to push the envelope further... The internet traffic has been abuzz with word from Marvel of their (rumored) cast listings for their Phase 2 initiative of movies slated:

ANTHONY MACKIE (Gangster Squad) has been cast in the role of the FALCON for the upcoming Captain America sequel, THE WINTER SOLDIER.
CHADWICK BOSEMAN (42) is Marvel's draft pick for BLACK PANTHER; despite the fact that there's no upcoming production for the character; rumored to possibly a cameo in the upcoming AVENGERS 2, alongside announced entries Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver.
OMAR SY has been announced by Director Bryan Singer to portray the role of BISHOP in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.

The biggest news has been the announcement of MICHAEL B. JORDAN (Chronicle) as JOHNNY STORM, THE HUMAN TORCH in Josh Trank's reboot of THE FANTASTIC FOUR. With the announcement of ALLISON WILLIAMS as SUE STORM, you can imagine the fan response when the question was asked about a black brother/white sister--- no different from how many fans were outraged at the ideas brought forth on Marvel's Royal Family...

The one thing that no one noticed through all of this is that these casting suggestions, though some have been gestating for months, have been announced almost ALL AT ONCE. It's almost as if Marvel's trying to qwell the negative stereotypes that have quietly plagued the back offices of Marvel for years... And though PLANET GRIFFIN is by no means calling the House of Ideas racist, the timing and reasonings behind why the House has made no efforts in better addressing such concerns remains suspect at best. (Hey, WAKANDA may be the driving force behind much of human advancements in the AVENGERS subplot, said force is still only an unseen, background player)

Hopefully, people will learn to get over certain gripes and complaints involving color and character. Comics are, after all, escapist entertainment. Sadly, there are some things we won't allow ourselves to escape from--- and when we do finally make a break from such sad and mediocre things; rushing headlong to the front door of exciting new experiences and enlightenment--- make sure you respect the man at the door as you pass through... Heimdall is a baaaaad man who demands respect!

Something to think about.

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